Why the Resurrection Is so Important

With Easter only a few days away, it's only appropriate to sift around Easter eggs, bunnies, and other completely "un-Easterish" things to discuss what the message of Easter truly is. I was delighted to hear my kindergarten-age daughter tell me in great detail that Easter is all about the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus (although she still confessed to really liking all the candy that comes with the Easter season). But let me cut to the chase and say this about Easter: Christianity itself stands and falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There are countless theories abounding as to what really happened to the body of Jesus. James Cameron recently claimed that he found evidence of the bones of Jesus, and if that is the case then there is no resurrection. The "Gnostic Gospels" as they are called debunk the idea that Jesus really rose from the grave physically but claim that instead it was a spiritual resurrection. They believe that all matter, including the physical body, is evil. Darrell Bock's book The Missing Gospels is an excellent (and very readable) breakdown concerning much of the content of the Gnostic Gospels and why their reasoning is flawed.

There are other theories flying around regarding the resurrection of Jesus and how it can be explained away. Some believe Jesus passed out - He didn't die - and He revived in the tomb and pushed His out. Two other popular theories are that the either disciples stole the body of Jesus or perhaps that Mary and the disciples visited the wrong tomb that Easter morning (and thus Jesus' body is still in the tomb, they just haven't found it yet). Two of my favorite theories are the one where it was believed that the disciples mistook someone else who they believed looked like Jesus and this guy played along and the theory that says Jesus had an identical twin brother who played the part of the resurrected Jesus.

Whether or not you believe any of these theories, the conclusions that we draw from the resurrection are of the utmost important: Either the resurrection is false, fiction, or it's a fact. If you look at what the apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:12-20, you will see what he and the whole of Christianity believe about the necessity of the resurrection:
  1. If there is no resurrection, then Christ is not risen from the grave
  2. If there is no resurrection, then all preaching is empty and so is faith
  3. If there is no resurrection, then we are false witnesses of God because we testify that God raised Jesus from the grave
  4. If there is no resurrection, then your faith in Christ is futile and useless
  5. If there is no resurrection, then you are still in your sins
  6. If there is no resurrection, then those who have died having trusted Christ have died for nothing and are truly absolutely dead without eternal life (they are annihilated)
  7. If there is no resurrection, then Christians are the most pathetic, pitiful, and deluded people on the face of the earth
  8. But, Jesus Christ is risen from the grave!
    • Paul preached it
    • Paul believed it (as did Christians of his day)
    • Paul witnessed the risen Lord on the road to Damascus as did hundreds of others who are referenced in the New Testament
    • We live in that reality every day
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the gospel is incomplete. Men and women, scholars and historians, will debate its veracity for hundreds of more years and many will dismiss it simply as an incredible impossibility. But for those who believe what the Bible teaches and who have experienced the radical change in their lives that only Jesus can bring, the resurrection is more than just a reality - it's an expectation that all believers look forward to. So put down the chocolate bunny and the Easter candy and ponder on the wondrous and glorious resurrection of Jesus and how it, too, can change your life everyday.

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