What Is More Important, the Death of Christ or His Resurrection?

Jesus’ disciples did not have Isaiah’s prophecy in mind the night of the crucifixion. But three days later, their hope and faith were restored, in a way no other event could have orchestrated, proving once again, that God’s Word never fails.

  • Amy Swanson Christianity.com Contributing Writer
  • 2020 8 Dec
Cross and tomb of Jesus

These events are the ones upon which all believers stand and are saved — that Jesus died, was buried, and raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). To determine one of these doctrines as more important than the other, however, may not be so easy.

For one, it was Christ’s sacrificial death, in combination with His victorious resurrection that fulfilled hundreds of prophetic references pointing to the coming redeemer.

Had Christ not died and risen again, Jesus could never have claimed these as the scriptures bearing witness about Him (John 5:39) and He certainly wouldn’t have been esteemed to be the Messiah — the Christ.

Instead, what we have is the increasingly indisputable fulfillment of God’s preordained plan, making Christ’s death and resurrection equally important, albeit for different reasons. Reasons that are vital to the Christian faith.

3 Reasons That Christ’s Death Is Important

1. Christ’s death is important because of who God is. God has many divine attributes, but it’s His righteous nature that makes Him free from guilt or sin (Psalm 145:17).

And as our creator, He sets the standard as the only lawmaker and judge (James 4:12).

As a result, a day has been fixed when the world will be judged (Acts 17:31) because the guilty cannot go unpunished (Exodus 34:7).

For this reason, our God of justice (Isaiah 30:18) will reveal His righteous judgment against all ungodly and unrighteous men (Romans 1:18).

At this time, the wicked will be sent to eternal punishment while only the saved are given eternal life (Matthew 25:46).

This gives Christ’s death the utmost importance because it was His blood upon the cross that appeased and satisfied the righteous wrath of God.

Not by the temporary atonement of blood by animals, as was required under the old covenant (Leviticus 17:11), but as the last sacrificial lamb, once and for all.

This one act is what became the “propitiation” for our sins — meaning Christ gave His life as the ransom for many (Mark 10:45), paying the price for guilt, on man’s behalf.

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22, ESV).

You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19, ESV).

In this is love… that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10, ESV).

2. Christ’s death is important because of who man is. God’s completely righteous and just nature explains why only the upright can see His face (Psalm 11:7).

This is a problem because all of mankind sins against God, falling short of His glory (Romans 3:23). And unfortunately, the unpardonable wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

This makes the death of Christ important because not a single human is innocent before God (Romans 3:10), none of us hold up to His standard for good (Mark 10:18).

This means we are all under the curse of breaking God’s law (Galatians 3:10), incapable of anything else because those who sin are slaves to sin (John 8:34).

Not only did Jesus take these fatal grievances to the cross on our behalf, but His shed blood is also what allows us to freely partake in the grace of undeserved forgiveness and imputed righteousness.

All because we’ve been cleansed by the blood — deemed innocent before God (1 John 1:7; Psalm 103:12). A high price to pay to set the captives free and break the chains of slavery to sin (Isaiah 61:1), that God’s only Son was sent to die for us (Romans 5:8).

But this is something we could never do for ourselves, yet, Christ willingly went to the cross, to become our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and take our curse (Galatians 3:13).

While we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son (Romans 5:10).

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness (1 Peter 2:24).

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).

3. Christ’s death is important because of who He is. In light of who God is, and who man is, Jesus’ death can really only prove to be important because of who He was — in the flesh, both God and man (John 1:1,14).

As God’s Son, Jesus was the fullness of Deity (Colossians 2:9), come to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17). This made Him an acceptable sacrifice, a lamb without blemish (Exodus 12:5).

As the Son of Man, He faced the same temptations and trials that any man would (Hebrews 4:15), but unlike man, never committing sin as a result (1 John 3:5).

This humanity gave Jesus’ blood more power than that of a lamb, fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law (Romans 8:4) and atoning for the sins of mankind, once and for all (Hebrews 7:27).

An act that was verified by the tearing of the veil in the temple upon His death (Matthew 27:51). This symbolized that no other sacrifice was needed, the old covenant had been fulfilled and the new covenant had come (Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 12:24).

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant… now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant (Hebrews 9:15).

Nor did [Jesus] enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own… but he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself (Hebrews 9:25-26).

In Christ’s death, the debt of sin had been paid in full, forever. Yet this is only half of the plan,

And though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied… (Isaiah 53:10-11).

The Importance of Christ’s Resurrection

Jesus’ disciples did not have Isaiah’s prophecy in mind the night of the crucifixion when everyone scattered, beating their chests (Luke 23:48). 

But three days later, their hope and faith were restored, in a way no other event could have orchestrated, proving once again, that God’s Word never fails (Isaiah 55:11).

Beyond the resurrection verifying the life and purpose of Jesus Christ, there are a few other reasons that this event is important. Here are a few to consider:

1. Christ’s resurrection was a victory over death, therefore we need not fear death either. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him (Romans 6:9).

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).

2. Christ’s resurrection was the catalyst for the great commission. “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms... This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:44).

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).

3. Christ’s resurrection means our faith is not in vain. He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living (1 Corinthians 15:4-6).

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us (1 John 1:3).

4. Christ’s resurrection provides hope for a future resurrection. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20).

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52).

5. Christ’s resurrection brought justification by faith. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25).

So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).

Beloved, for any number of the reasons above, it is the death and resurrection of Christ that make the gospel, such good news. Now, go, tell a friend!

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/RomoloTavani


C.com authorAmy Swanson resides in Connecticut where she has recently discovered a passion for Bible study and writing. By God's continued grace, she now enjoys helping others better understand their Bibles, while also being an advocate for biblical church integrity. As a mother of three and a wife of 13 years, she blogs less than she'd like to but shares Scriptural insights, encouraging truth, resources, and musings more regularly at Beloved Warrior.