When considering the life of Jesus, it is curious to many why he would make statements to his disciples after the manner found in Matthew 16:20, telling them not to proclaim that he is the Christ. Why would Jesus not want others to know that he is the Messiah? Certainly this is not a matter of Jesus not wanting people to know who he is; instead it is the recognition that the greatest evidence that Jesus is the Son of God is not yet available. Until it is, any statements made in the affirmative are nothing more than unproven assertions. It is accepted at this time that he is a prophet (John 3:2; 9:17), but the ultimate declaration of who he is has not been made available.
However, that great declaration will be given. Paul records, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:3-4). Paul shows that the ultimate declaration of our Lord as the Son of God was made at his resurrection.
If Jesus had not been raised from the dead he would have been as any other man, and all the declarations of Jesus would have been meaningless. Men have recognized for centuries the overwhelming evidence of Jesus’ life on this earth; therefore, to impugn his teachings and claims they, instead of attacking his life, attack his resurrection. Their understanding is the same as Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 when he writes that if Christ is not raised from the dead our faith is vain and we are of all men most miserable.
But our Savior was risen, and not only was he raised from the dead, Paul says he was raised with power (Rom. 1:4). The word power comes from the Greek word dunamis from which we get our word “dynamite.” It means “strength, power, or ability.” Jesus was raised from the dead with power. Matthew records that there was a great earthquake and an angel of the Lord came and rolled back the stone from the door causing the keepers who saw it to become as dead men (Mat. 28:2-4). There was great power exhibited in the resurrection of Christ: the power of resurrection, the power of declaration, and the power of salvation.
The greatest comfort of all to the Christian is what that declaration brings to mankind. Paul summed it up in 2 Corinthians 13:4 when he wrote, “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.”