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Which is More Important: Jesus’ Death or Resurrection?

By Dan Colwin April 9, 2014

My adult small group started typically enough. We gathered together, enjoyed dinner, and dove into our study. After discussing the radical claims Jesus made about himself, our leader asked a straightforward question: “Why did Jesus have to rise again?”

Silence. Heads drooped in thought as we wrestled with the question.

The week prior, everyone could answer with confidence why Jesus had to die. But when it came to the resurrection, we were apprehensive. We understood our need for Jesus’ sacrifice, but his resurrection? We were fuzzy at best.

After what seemed like forever, we tossed out a few tentative answers:

“To fulfill Scripture.”

“To inspire his followers.”

“To conquer death.”

Thankfully, the discussion moved forward. As we dove into 1 Corinthians 15, we were confronted by the amazing power and gift of Jesus’ resurrection. All around the room, mental light bulbs clicked on as we read Paul’s declaration that death was defeated when Christ rose again.

Many in the American church are in the same boat as our group. Ask your youth group students why Jesus had to die, and most will have an answer. But have we sufficiently examined the meaning behind Christ’s resurrection? Do our students understand its significance in the progression of God’s kingdom?

My small group leader told us about a night in college. He and his friend were engaged in frenzied debate. Their topic: which is more important, Jesus’ death or his resurrection? They dueled for three hours, lobbing intellectual grenades that failed to sway each other. Why was their discussion so futile? Because both pieces of Jesus’ work are necessary. One can’t be more important than the other when they’re both essential. But do our churches treat Jesus’ death and resurrection equally?

Although our small group waded through confusion and uncertainty at first, we left with a deeper understanding of Christ’s life and a greater appreciation for who we are in light of his resurrection. We left knowing not only why Jesus had to die, but also why he had to rise again. It was the kind of conversation that sticks with you long after the group parts ways—a good night.

If you’d like to take your own group through this discussion, you can download the “Why Did Jesus Have to Rise Again?” lesson totally FREE at LeaderTreks.org.

About the Author

Dan Colwin

Dan Colwin is director of trips at LeaderTreks. He and his wife, Clare, live in West Chicago with their sons, Everett and Oliver, and little puggle, Roxy. They love their church family at Life Church in Wheaton, where they volunteer together in the youth group. He enjoys spending time outdoors, taking walks, having fires, reading, building Legos, working in the garden, and…  Read More