Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
— 1 Corinthians 15:20
Why do we say that Jesus rose “on the third day”? Some people might argue that the number of days he lay in the grave would confirm that he had died. Others point out that this fulfills a prophecy about Jesus’ death (Matthew 16:21; 1 Corinthians 15:4). But the mention of “the third day” isn’t the main point of the creed’s declaration saying, “The third day he rose again from the dead.”
The main point is that at a specific moment in time Jesus rose again from the dead!
Jesus’ resurrection not only stands at the center of the Apostles’ Creed; it stands firmly at the center of the Bible’s teaching. Indeed, Christ’s resurrection is the foundation on which our Christian faith rests. For, as the apostle Paul emphasizes, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, all who hope in him should be the most pitied of all people. For if Jesus didn’t rise, we are all still shackled by the chains of sin and doomed to death forever.
But by his resurrection, Jesus has conquered death, washed away our sins, and covered us with his own righteousness. By his resurrection, Jesus has made us his own and raised us to a new life of walking with him. By his resurrection, Jesus also assures us that one day we too will be raised from the dead.
Alleluia! He is risen indeed!
Jesus, you rose from the grave in triumph over sin and death! We thank you and praise you! Now help us to live for you. In your name we pray. Amen.