Guest Commentary from Spain: Don't forget: Christ is truly risen!


Christian Life

Jorge Ruiz Ortiz, CNE.news

The tomb in the garden of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Photo RD, Henk Visscher

Christians in Western Europe tend to focus on the crucifixion and death of Jesus far more than on His resurrection, whether it be through the influence of endless Easter processions, crucifixes or particular emphases in church sermons,

Of course, in a sense, we will never focus too much on the cross, for there Christ solved the problem of sin forever, "blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14). The believer who knows that the cross forgives his sins can only say, like Paul, "I am crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:19).

However, Scripture is equally emphatic in speaking of the importance of the resurrection in the forgiveness of sins. "For us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:24-25).

By the resurrection of Christ of course, we must understand a historical and real resurrection of a historical and real Christ. The apostle Paul taught it: "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins... But now is Christ risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19-20).


The old nineteenth-century modernism –in the churches– regarded the resurrection as little more than an old pious tale. The Western world, which had massively abandoned the countryside, developed at full speed in an industrial revolution that proudly bowed down before science as the oracle of all truth. Everything true had to be empirically demonstrable. Everything that could not be could not claim to be true in a way that would be believed as such by others.

The resurrection thus came to be presented by the churches to the world basically as a metaphor for human hope when all is lost or even simply as a symbol of the spiritual rebirth of believers but not as a real, historical event, which in turn assures the real resurrection of all men on the final day of history.


Yet, just as there is a way of preaching the cross which, in fact, renders it vain (1 Corinthians 1:17), there is also a way of preaching the resurrection with exactly the same results. The cross of Christ becomes vain when it is preached in a way that avoids the "scandal of the cross", that is, that tries to be compatible with every human attempt to justify oneself before God without the cross of Christ (Gal. 5:11). The resurrection of Christ becomes vain when it is presented in a way that skimps God's authoritative proclamation to the universe about His Son Jesus Christ.

Christ "was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). Of this resurrection, the Holy Scriptures, particularly the Gospel accounts and 1 Corinthians 15, give a detailed account. Beginning with the Apostles, the church has preached the resurrection of Christ as the pivotal event, with capital letters, in human history. But, of course, there is no empirical confirmation of this fact, even to this day. No proof or evidence beyond the testimony of the Scriptures and the preaching of the church.

The message of the resurrection is the proclamation that God has overcome all human opposition and rebellion in Christ. If the wages of sin is death, and indeed death entered the world through the sin of one person (Romans 6:23), then likewise resurrection and life entered the world through One, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:21).

Sensible response

The preaching of the resurrection, then, is a challenge to the world, to the entire world, and to principalities and powers, both heavenly and earthly principalities and powers: it is boldly declared to them that the total and final victory, in all orders of history, will be of Jesus Christ. The victory will be His since He has already conquered it by rising from the dead.

Therefore, the only sensible response today for all in our society, small and great, is to admit correction and to serve the Lord with fear, rejoicing with trembling (Psalm 2:10-11). For it is only in His death and resurrection that sins can be forgiven.

Christ is truly risen!



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