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Good evening,

I have a simple question: why is the resurrection of Jesus so important for our faith, and why does it have to be real and not just a metaphor? I’m sorry for asking something as elemental as this, nonetheless a clear and detailed answer would be very useful.

Best regards.


The answer from father Angelo

My dear,

1.  Saint Paul says: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all” (1 Corinthians 15, 17-19).

The resurrection of Christ is essential to our faith for many reasons.

2. The first reason is this: Christ did a lot of miracles as a confirmation of His divinity, but faith is the strongest of them all.

3. With miracles, Christ manifested his absolute power upon nature (he commands the winds and the seas, and he’s obeyed), upon matter (he turns water into wine and multiplies the loaves and fishes), upon diseases (which are cured thanks to his will, or a touch of his hand), upon demons (he forces them to obey him and flee), upon death (because a single word from his mouth made a dead man resurrect from his tomb).

4. However, we can say without a single doubt that the more important action supporting this claim of divinity can be found in his resurrection.

All the miracles he made were a premise for men to welcome a far greater reality: “I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father” (John 10, 17-18).

Jesus came back to life thanks to his divine power.

Therefore, with such proof of his divinity, we are sure about whom we are following and we can affirm “scio cui credidi” (“I know him in whom I have believed” 2 Timothy 1, 12).

5.  The second reason is this: Jesus rose from death into glorious and incorruptible life, not to die ever again.

In other words, he didn’t turn back to mortal life as Lazarus did, but went forward. He entered with his humanity into the life of God.

This is how he defeated death, by opening a passage through it. Death ceased to be the last word upon man and his life.

This is why Saint Paul said: “We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him” (Romans 6,9).

And it is exactly because he defeated death and opened the doors of paradise to mankind that he gave us the aim to go where he is: “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me” (John 17, 24).

Without the resurrection of Christ, we would be aimless.

In fact, after death nobody has the right to enter in closeness with God and be His friend and confidant.

But Christ merited all this for us with his passion and death. And he opened the passage with his resurrection.

6. And there is a third reason: by dying and resurrecting Christ has realized the ancient prophecies of a Messiah.

In Isaiah: “Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed” (Isaiah 53, 4-5).

And he had to resurrect as predicted in the sign of Jonah: “no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matthew 12, 39-40).

7. In his Pentecost address, Saint Peter sees the resurrection of Our Lord as a promise already made through David. And he applies these words of the Psalm to Christ: “because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption” (Acts 2, 27).

Therefore according to the scriptures, in order to be the Messiah Jesus had to resurrect from the dead. If he didn’t, he wasn’t the Messiah.

And if he’s not the Messiah, he couldn’t have atoned for our sins. 

8. There’s one last reason: with his resurrection, Christ orients our conduct because in either case with death we wouldn’t get into Paradise. 

We must be enabled to enter it.

This only happens if we die to our sins and live a new life according to the sentiment of Christ.

Saint Paul says: “as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Romans 6, 4). And also: “our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin” (Romans 6,6).

9. As you can see, the stakes are so high that considering the Resurrection a metaphor would be like emptying the faith.

The apostles have traveled the world, faced many perils and shed their blood: all this wasn’t endured for a metaphor, but for a real event to which they bore witness. The evangelist Luke points out at the beginning of his gospel that he investigated “everything accurately anew” (Luke 1, 3) about “the events that have been fulfilled among us” (Luke 1, 1). He doesn’t talk about metaphors. To achieve this end he referred to “those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word” (Luke 1, 2).

Therefore eyewitnesses of events, not metaphors.

10. There is also something to say about the narrative style of the Gospels. If they express metaphors, they would be rich in imaginative elaborations, as the literary genre of the metaphor requires.

However, nobody can dispute what can be read in the introduction of the Synoptic Gospels of the Bible of Jerusalem: “in the drafting and harvesting of witnesses, the writers of the Gospels maintained a level of attention and care that respects the sources, as it is proven by the simplicity and antiquity of the composition, where no trace can be found of subsequent theological elaborations. They appear to have a rather sober style, especially when compared with some of the apocryphal gospels which are full of legendary and far-fetched creations”.

After all, we can agree with Saint Luke about his meticulous search about the historic nature of the facts that can be found in the Gospels.

Nothing indicates otherwise.

Only a biased mind could think about metaphors, invented by who knows why for some ill-defined interests, which should at least be proven and documented.

I thank you for your question, which was expressed in simple terms but also has fundamental importance.

I wish you every good, bless you and assure you of remembrance to the Lord.

Father Angelo.