Resurrection . . . ? or !
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important doctrine of Christianity.
The 15th chapter of the 1 Corinthians is a wonderful affirmation of the resurrection and its importance to us. The apostle Paul clearly states an objective truth: “. . . what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Paul goes on, “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” And, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
Over the past 2000 years, many people have opposed Christianity. Some have argued against Christianity on theological or philosophical grounds. Some have used force in attempts to destroy the faith. Others have sought to marginalize the church and her adherents.
If Christianity’s opponents want to completely destroy this religion, there is one foolproof way to do so. They only have to disprove the resurrection.
From the day of the resurrection in April of A.D. 33 until now, no one has been able to disprove the resurrection. The evidence of an empty tomb is historically accurate. Religious and secular historical sources attest to the resurrection. Jesus’ dead body was never discovered. Quite the contrary, a living Jesus showed himself to his closest friends and over 500 other people in the days following his death, burial, and resurrection.
A little over a week from today, Christians around the world will celebrate Easter, the day Jesus the Christ was raised to life.
If the resurrection did not happen, this celebration is meaningless. Christianity, then, is meaningless. It doesn’t matter how nice Christians are or how much good they are doing. If Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is based on a lie and is meaningless.
On the other hand . . .
If Christ did rise from the dead, Christianity is true.
Jesus is the God he claimed to be (John 1:1, 10:30).
Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6).
Salvation only comes through personal faith in Jesus (John 3:36).
Coming back to 1 Corinthians 15, Paul moved from the reality of Christ’s resurrection to the effect on those who put their trust in him. “For as in Adam [the natural human] all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (v. 22).
Then he looks forward to the culmination of our faith with the awe-inspiring words:
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable,
and the mortal with immortality,
then the saying that is written will come true:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is Easter, my friends. Celebrate!