Is the resurrection of Christ important to missions or tangential. beyond what was covered in part I, I would suggest it is important because it was central to the early church. And that centrality also adds credence to the historicity of the resurrection. How do we know the early church focused on the resurrection?
A. The first Sermon given after the creation of the Church emphasized the Resurrection. Less than 2 months after Jesus died.. (Acts 2:29-38)
“My friends, it is right for me to speak to you about our ancestor David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is still here. But David was a prophet, and he knew that God had made a promise he would not break. He had told David that someone from his own family would someday be king. David knew this would happen, and so he told us that Christ would be raised to life. He said that God would not leave him in the grave or let his body decay. All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life! Jesus was taken up to sit at the right side of God, and he was given the Holy Spirit, just as the Father had promised. Jesus is also the one who has given the Spirit to us, and that is what you are now seeing and hearing. David didn’t go up to heaven. So he wasn’t talking about himself when he said, “The Lord told my Lord to sit at his right side, until he made my Lord’s enemies into a footstool for him.” Everyone in Israel should then know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, even though you put him to death on a cross.”
B. The first known confession of faith used in the church, I Corinthians 15:3-7(and then 8), says:
I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is: Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. He was buried, and three days later he was raised to life, as the Scriptures say. Christ appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After this, he appeared to more than five hundred other followers. Most of them are still alive, but some have died. He also appeared to James, and then to all of the apostles. Finally, he appeared to me, even though I am like someone who was born at the wrong time
C. The earliest sacraments of the church (communion and baptism) focused on the resurrection.
1. The communion (Lord’s Supper or Eucharist) does not focus on the good teachings of Jesus, or what a good person he was, or what a good example he was for us. Rather, it focuses on his death, and his return. It was the death and return of Jesus that the early church saw as most important. While we often do the Lord’s Supper in a rather solemn or sad way, the early church did the Lord’s Supper as a joyous event… almost a party.
2. Baptism also focused on Resurrection. In Romans 6:2-4
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The resurrection is central to our mission as Christians… and for Christian missions.