Q. What does the resurrection mean to Christians?
A.. The Resurrection is central to the Christian's faith! It was indeed a "New Creation," immeasurable by time, because it was not a "coming back" from the dead. It was a going beyond death. It was not a coming back to mortal existence (as was true for Lazarus). It was nothing less than Jesus' entrance into the life of God. The Risen One can never die. He is totally in God who is all life. Jesus entered into an entirely new kind of existence: an immortal existence that robbed the grave of its victim, not temporarily, but forever.
Those four words spoken at a grave by the angels—"he has been raised"—are words that sent a shock through humanity, indeed, a shock through the entire universe. The impossible had happened: Life had been born out of the grave. A new message was given to humanity. The human story is no longer birth, life, death, corruption. It has become birth, life, death and eternal life. The message of the Resurrection is that the body matters. These beat-up old bodies of ours—with our bad hearts, our poor eyesight and hearing, our arthritic joints and all the other maladies we carry around—these beat-up bodies are going to be transformed. They're going to be glorified. For CHRIST HAS RISEN! CHRIST HAS RISEN!
Easter is not just a happy ending to Jesus' story. It is a radical new beginning for him and for the human race. The grave was no terminal event for him. And because of him, it will never be such for us either. Easter means that what is mortal becomes what is eternal. Eternal life for Jesus and for all of humanity was born in the grave. Easter is the gateway into the new paradise. Jesus risen from the dead is the new Adam. He is also, in Paul's words, "the first-born of many brothers and sisters" (Rom. 8:29). We are those brothers and sisters. For us, therefore, Easter speaks of the process, already begun in our Baptism, of our entering into eternal life. Easter is indeed the story that lives forever.