“‘For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.’ When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, ‘We want to hear you again on this subject.’ At that, Paul left the Council.” (Acts 17:31-33)
Some of the Greek philosophers sneered at Paul when he mentioned that Jesus was raised from the dead, and I think we would get the same reaction if we spoke the same way in our society today. Do they sneer because the resurrection of the dead is so far-fetched? I used to think that, but not anymore. I think the idea of the resurrection is sneered at because it challenges the very basis of any philosophy that places people in the center. The resurrection causes many stumbling blocks to our current secular/atheistic worldview. First and foremost, it directly challenges the idea that we can at all be the lord of our own life. If there is a resurrection, then it will happen to me whether I will it to happen or not. It tells me that there is a force greater than me that has a will over my existence and my destiny. Second, the resurrection of the dead leads to the idea that there is going to be a judgment where we will all be held accountable for the way we lived our lives. This tells us all that how we live in this world does matter. We may dupe ourselves into believing that there is no accountability here on this earth, but the resurrection would tell us otherwise. We will all be face to face with One who is greater than we are. Last, the resurrection clearly pronounces that there is life after death. The life we live on this earth is not all there is. There is more! It is these very important ideas that cause our society to jeer. If these ideas are true, we have to admit that man is NOT the measure of all things, that what we believe and how we live in this world matters, and that life continues beyond the one we’re living.
The resurrection does not have to be a stumbling block. Properly understood, the resurrection provides answers to problems we face in this world. Working with the end in mind, the resurrection of the dead assures us that there is life after death. The resurrection of Jesus assures us that sin and death have been conquered, and if sin and death have been conquered, our faith in Jesus Christ makes a difference in how we live out our lives on a daily basis.