The Resurrection of Jesus
In the last week I have been studying passages in the NT (minus the gospels) that deal with the theological significance of Jesus' death and resurrection.
One of the first things that became obvious is that there are significantly more passages that deal with Christ's resurrection than his death. A number of passages also assert that the resurrection is absolutely central to Christianity and without it Christianity is nothing (there are no corresponding statements made about the death of Christ). In short it is safe to say that the New Testament Christians saw the resurrection as more important than the death of Christ. Interesting how times have changed...
The resurrection seems to be so important to the Christians because it proves that death is not the end - that there will be an afterlife, that there will be postmortem judgment and restitution, and in the act of resurrecting Christ God affirms Christ's teachings and publicly indicates the type of behavior God chooses to reward. As a result, the resurrection inspires Christians to live self-controlled lives, imitate Christ, and suffer martyrdom gladly.