“If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith… If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:14, 17)
“Why is Jesus’ resurrection such a big deal?”
Maybe, some of us have wondered about this. After all, it is the death of Jesus that paid the price for our sins. What does it really matter if He came back from the dead? Does it really make any difference at all?
According to the apostle Paul, the resurrection is not just a big deal… it is a huge deal.
In 1 Corinthians 15, he defends the resurrection with some very strong observations. If there was no resurrection, preaching the gospel is worthless… and so is our faith in God. What is more, if there was no resurrection, the apostle flatly declares that we are STILL in our sins. In other words, if there was no resurrection, the death of Jesus was just the passing of another messianic pretender.
If there was no resurrection, His death certainly doesn’t provide what we are called to proclaim… forgiveness, deliverance, freedom, healing, wholeness – all through the provision of Jesus, and the cross.
And if Jesus’ death didn’t really provide any of those things, then to tell others that it DOES, is just an outright lie… We are not proclaiming the truth of God – we are propogating lies, we are deceiving people into believing something that isn’t true.
According to the apostle, the only thing that verifies the message of the gospel is… the resurrection of Jesus.
There are a lot of technical (theological) reasons for this fact, but it really boils down to something incredibly obvious. Our claim to truth is based upon Someone Who was dead… and is NOW alive.
The greatest and most impassable barrier, in this life, is death – and Jesus crossed that barrier… and returned (and He did this… all for us!).
Think about other religions, and their devoted followers…
Buddhists follow the Buddha… But he is dead. You can go visit his grave.
Muslims follow Mohammed… But he is also dead. You can go visit his grave.
Joseph Smith (the Mormons)… dead. Charles T. Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses)… dead.
You can go and see where all these religious leaders are buried – but not so with Jesus. You can go see where He was buried… but He only stayed there for three days!
He appeared to about 500 people, after He was placed in that burial tomb. His disciples all lived, and died, voraciously defending the fact that He did not stay in the grave. They proclaimed the powerful message of a Living Christ – Who walked with them, talked with them, and changed them – every day of their lives.
A living Jesus, still alive today, makes all the difference in the validity of everything that Christians claim. The message is backed up by the fact, and the power, of a living Savior Who absolutely specializes in bringing dead things to life…
Prayer focus: God, help me to see, and walk in, the power of the resurrection!