Grace Given, Hope Shared: The Resurrection Still Motivates Ministry
It was still dark when Marry Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus. (John 20:1) What she saw, or rather what she did not find, changed the course of human history. The stone was rolled away; the dead body of Jesus was nowhere to be found. What a shock it must have been – dead bodies do not disappear on their own. Thinking she saw the gardener, Mary said to the risen Jesus, “Tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” (John 20:15) In response, Jesus called out her name and realization dawned on her. (John 20:16) He is alive. Jesus arose from the grave, verifying His authority to free us from the penalty of death and giving His followers an eternal hope worth sharing.
An angel declared to Marry and the other women, “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.” (Matt. 28:6) The resurrection affirms that Jesus is who He declared Himself to be and assures to us, His followers, the joy of His promise: the gracious gift of salvation in His Name. A risen Savior means a way of redemption for humanity. As a witness of the risen Savior, Peter emphasizes the grace given to believers because of Christ’s resurrection, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy, has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) Through God’s mercy and grace, believers obtain the promise of resurrection. “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The resurrection is what distinguishes Christianity from every other worldview. “If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead,” shared Earl Korhonen, “we would just have another list of laws to try to follow. Jesus’ resurrection provides true meaning to life.” The power of the resurrection gives spiritual revival and the hope of a physical resurrection.
A risen Jesus also means we have an eternal hope worth sharing. After showing that He was truly alive to Mary, Jesus gives her a commission to share about what she has witnessed. (John 20:17) Jesus continues this emphasis of sharing the gospel in Matthew 28. “The reality of the resurrection was life-changing for the disciples when they went to the previously designated mountain to meet Jesus (v. 16),” writes World Missions Director Korhonen, “When they saw Jesus, they worshiped! And the message Jesus gave the disciples would forever change their lives.” When Christ appeared to His disciples, He gave the Great Commission to reach out to a broken world with the hope of the resurrection. Because they knew He has risen, they gave up everything. The resurrection is worth dying for. Not only inspiring Christian ministry, the resurrection also gives an eternal perspective to those who have never heard. The world’s version of success leads to death. The future hope of being raised with Christ gives eternal perspective. The promised presence of God in the believer is a message of greater value to share with the lost than that of merely temporal ease of suffering.
The truth of the empty grave still motivates Christian ministry thousands of years later. Throughout history, believers continue to share the message of a gospel seen in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Proclaiming the message of the resurrection in Athens, Paul had three responses: some laughed, some wanted to hear more, and some believed. (Acts 17:32-34) There will be those who reject the miraculous truth of the risen Jesus, yet just like Paul, we continue to proclaim it. The resurrection motivates both the mission and the message of global ministry. “When we are convinced that Jesus died and rose again for our sins, we will want others to know the same forgiveness in Jesus,” said Korhonen.  Even thousands of years later, Christians continue to be impacted by the grace of God shown to us in the hope of our future resurrection with Jesus Christ.
- Madison Greven, Communications Coordinator for AFLC World Missions
 Korhonen, Earl. Bulletin Back Article for April 9, 2023, Easter Sunday.