I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.
— Rudyard Kipling
One backstory behind the Kipling poem from which this quotation comes is that Kipling wrote it about his daughter, Elsie. She was such an inquisitive child that her family pinned her with the nickname “Elsie Why.” But it isn’t only children who ask the tough questions about life. Today, every rookie journalist wanting to write an effective news story learns to dig for answers to the six questions Kipling mentioned in his poem.
If we as believers are interested enough to dig into the Scriptures, we will find the truth about life’s biggest questions. Tough questions. Questions that get to the heart of why the gospel is good news for all who trust in Jesus Christ. When we dig into Mark 15:42-47; 16:1-8, we will discover that the resurrection of Jesus Christ answers three big questions.
Did Jesus Christ truly die? What makes this question tough for us is that Jesus was Immanuel, God with us, God in the flesh. There was and is no other person like Him. While He lived on earth as Jesus of Nazareth, He was both fully God and fully human. Did this unique God-Man truly experience physical death on the cross? The Scriptures say yes. In Mark 15:44-45, the Roman governor who condemned Jesus to be crucified asked for confirmation that Jesus had truly died. The centurion who oversaw the execution confirmed Jesus’ death to the governor. Yet, it is Jesus’ resurrection three days later that provided the strongest evidence that Christ truly died on the cross. Resuscitation can occur when someone is near death. A person whose heart stops beating might be physically revived if CPR is applied quickly enough. But resurrection? That only occurs if someone has truly died and the sovereign God miraculously brings them back to life. That is what happened with Jesus Christ—He died on the cross, was buried in a tomb, and three days later miraculously came back to life.
Is there really life after death? The short answer is yes, but the fuller answer is connected to the previous question. Only because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead can we proclaim the truth that there is life after death. The apostle Paul explained this big truth to the Christians in Corinth when he wrote, “If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:19-22).
What will life after death be like? We only get glimpses in Scripture, but it’s all good! “God himself will be with them [resurrected believers] and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away” (Rev. 21:3b-4).
What do I have to live for in the here and now? Jesus’ resurrection answers this big question in this way: We as believers now have everything to live for. It’s like knowing that your favorite team, although presently engaged in all-out battle, is guaranteed to win. Indeed, life in the here and now is a battle, a spiritual war “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil spiritual forces in the heavens” (Eph. 6:12). But our ultimate victory in the battle is certain. It has already been won! “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:57-58).
David Briscoe is a content editor at Lifeway for Explore the Bible resources.