Acton Institute Powerblog

What the Resurrection Means to Me

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – 1 Peter 1:3

John Wesley said of the new birth, “It is the change wrought in the whole soul by the almighty Spirit of God when it is created anew in Christ Jesus.” A message he often preached was “Since we were born in sin we must be born again.” The resurrection of Christ affirms the everlasting power of Christ to save and deliver humanity from sin and death.

This Easter, Christians all over the world celebrate an event that points to our present and future hope and glory. In American slave and Appalachia culture, the afterlife was always celebrated and stressed through their words and music, because of difficult trials on earth. The resurrection is the real theology of liberation, as Samuel Medley wrote in his great hymn “I Know that My Redeemer Lives:”

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

The resurrection was foundational everyday preaching for the Apostles in the early Church. As witnesses, their focus on the resurrection was also the cause of their persecution by the ruling authorities (Acts 4:3,4). Today some who claim to be ministers of the Gospel deny the miracle of the resurrection or dismiss it as “merely symbolic.” Sadly, they deny Scripture and Church teaching.

The Apostles knew that when they saw the risen Christ they were looking at the beginning and the end of history. The complete purpose and promise of Christ and humanity was made known and it’s an incomparable comfort. Humanity has a purpose and a place to call home. One of the most perplexing and haunting aspects of life is death. Life on earth is all we know and death for so many is very troubling and a topic to be avoided. Many churches and houses of worship avoid it. This is sad and it shows a wide displacement from the early Church and Church Fathers. For the believer, they will share in the resurrection of Christ and “death will be swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:42-54).

Often in the burdens that afflict our inner most being we can only find meaning in the resurrection. The trials, despair, and pain of this life crushes us too much. But when we spend our time dwelling on the risen Lord, our despair turns to hope. We know that he will not abandon us or forsake those who love and worship him, especially beyond the grave. The resurrection is a cause for endless celebration. It is the seal that we will fully dwell in the everlasting with the Triune God who created us for relationship with him for his glory.

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor of the the North State Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, he was managing editor of Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. In 2005 Ray graduated with a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Mississippi in Oxford.


  • thx for this post.

  • Allison Haack

    Excellent words, Ray…..

    The hope found in Jesus Christ sustains me….thanks for writing out what we, as Christians, experience in our hearts. Praise be to God!

  • While all the talk is of ‘Resurrection’ as Easter Sunday approaches, is it possible that this idea has been misunderstood by history? That the Resurrection of Christ was the event that demonstrated the potential for God’s direct and unambiguous intervention into the natural world, offering his power necessarily to do His will? That is the argument being made by the first new interpretation of the Gospel of Christ for two thousand years.

    Using a synthesis of scriptural material drawn from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha , The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Nag Hammadi Library, and some of the world’s great poetry, it describes and teaches a single moral LAW, a single moral principle, and offers the promise of its own proof; one in which the reality of God responds directly to an act of perfect faith with a individual intervention into the natural world; ‘raising’ up the man,  correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries. Intended to be understood metaphorically, where ‘death’ is ignorance and ‘Life’ is knowledge,  this personal  experience of  transcendent power and moral purpose is the ‘Resurrection’, and justification for faith. Here, on a perfectly objective foundation of moral principle and virtue, true morality, salvation and ‘Life’ begins.

    Here is the first ever viable religious conception capable of leading and ‘raising’reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged. This new teaching delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition, that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable and ‘extraordinary’ evidence  based truth embodied in action. For the first time in history, however unexpected, the world must now measure for itself, the reality of a new claim to revealed truth, a moral tenet not of human intellectual origin, offering access by faith, to absolute proof, an objective basis for moral principle and a fully rational and justifiable belief! 

    This is not just iconoclastic but revolutionary stuff for those prepared to investigate it! It’s spreading on the web. Check it out at

  • Werner Speer

    Dear Ray
    Your words are so appropriate, for this day and every day.
    The resurrection of JESUS gives us the reason for living. It is why we are able to look forward to an eternal home as JESUS promised when our life on earth is ended. What a SAVIOR!!!

  • Jeff Carlson

    Great word Ray!!!

    I really appreciate your passion for the resurrection and its power. I also appreciate you challenging those in the ministry that diminish its centrality and greatness to others.

  • Suresh Bhaskaran

    Excellent, uplifting words!

    I had to (unavoidably) go in to work today (Easter Sunday) — (our family mass was Midnight Mass).

    Thought I would check in on Acton, since it is at the “intersection” of (for me at least)of Catholic Social Teaching (i.e. Jesus Christ), and “commercial society” (i.e. what I’m having to engage in today).

    What wonderful, uplifting words!

    Thank you.


  • Mr. Landbeck: There is nothing new about your ideas. They are as old as the oldest Gnostic heresy. If the Resurrection (sorry, I don’t find a need for the scare quotes) was a mere metaphor, we are all lost.

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

    “ I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

    Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

    1 Corinthians 1:18-20

  • John

    This was a great read!

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Robert Landbeck – that’s all very nice sounding stuff, except for the fact that you are the one misunderstanding the meaning of the resurrection. I agree completely with John’s comment, and I’d encourage you to take a look at NT Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God if you’re interested in finding out what the gospel writers were actually talking about when they wrote about the resurrection of Christ.