The resurrection of Jesus is viewed skeptically outside the church and, sadly, even within it in some corners. The resurrection of Jesus matters today because it means everything about who we are and where we are going. From the Easter message delivered this past Sunday by John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church:
(I)t was God’s intentional design not for the risen Christ to be seen by everyone—not even in the day when it happened. And not today, as much as we might wish we could! His intentional design is: He appeared repeatedly and with many proofs (Acts 1:3) to a limited group of people whose job it was to bear witness in what they said and what they wrote so that everyone who hears or reads this witness will be able know the assurance that God provides for the world about the resurrection of his Son. That’s the way God designed for us to know.
If you think this does not matter to you, remember, those who are in Christ—that is, who believe on him, and belong to him, and receive forgiveness and reconciliation from him—will be raised with him. And Paul says in Philippians 3:21 that Jesus “will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” This is not a UFO, or irrelevant life on another galaxy. This is what will happen when God judges the world by a man, Jesus Christ.
If you belong to him by faith in him, you will receive a body like his, which will be suited to see him and enjoy him and enter finally into the new heavens and the new earth where you will spend eternity admiring God in all that he has made. And this world that we love so much, compared to that one, will be like a candle compared to the sun.
Here’s the issue: Do you see? In verse 8 it says, “Then the other disciple [John], who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8). What did he see? What did he believe? Jesus wasn’t there—just some cloths that he left behind.
Compare this to Mary in verse 18: She has met Jesus in the garden and spoken to him. She returns to the disciples and says, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). We don’t have Mary’s direct evidence. We are more like John in the tomb—there is evidence, and either we see through it or we don’t. The issue is: Do you see?