Summary: If Jesus is not raised, it is all for nothing that we are Christians. But Jesus, the one who was crucified for your sins is alive!
There is one central alleged historic event upon which everything we believe and practice as Christians rests. That is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Unbelieving historians do not seriously question that a man named Jesus lived. Some would even grant that he did unexplainable things that were perceived as miracles. Most would marvel at the influence Jesus has had on world civilization and religion in the western hemisphere. Many would applaud his teachings as a model of the highest moral instruction in human history. But there is one thing the unbelieving historians will not grant, and that is that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. To accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as a historical reality, and to understand what that implies, is to accept the Christian faith as the only valid religion in the world. I grew up assuming that almost everyone believed the Bible is true and Jesus was raised. Now I know that even among members of the church, there are many who unknowingly resist the implications of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Many who say they believe Jesus is raised show by their lives that they actually do not believe.
Have you considered what life would be like today if Jesus had not been raised from the dead? What if on the third day when those women came to the tomb, the stone was still there and the body of Jesus was still lying in state. What if Jesus’ body had decayed in that grave? It is difficult to even imagine what the world would look like today and what your life would be like if Jesus had not been raised.
First of all, the gospel would never have been proclaimed to the gentile world. There would be no gospel to proclaim. The very fiber of western civilization would be totally different. We would all be either atheistic heathens or superstitious pagan idol or nature worshippers. The world as we know it would not exist. It was the missionary zeal of the early church that brought unity to nations and peoples and tribes and tongues throughout the world. This influence has shaped the world that we live in beyond what we could imagine. If Jesus was not raised, the message of God’s love and saving grace would not exist. There would be no New Testament, no church, and Jesus would have faded into the obscurity in which all the other people of his day disappeared.
It is difficult to appreciate the impact that the writings of men like Paul have had on the world that we live in today. They would never have been written if Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead.
Jesus was born. He lived and taught and did his wonderful works among us. He exposed the sins of the Jewish leaders of his day and in hatred and jealousy, they plotted his death and arrested him, falsely accused him, beat him, and mocked him, and turned him over to the Roman governor, Pilate, to have him crucified. Jesus was nailed hands and feet and suspended on a cross where he died in nakedness and shame. But Jesus death on the cross was no accident. It was a fulfillment of scriptures. It was a payment for your sins and mine by a perfect sacrifice who was willing to take the punishment you and I deserve for the sins we have committed. Jesus died on that cross for our sins, just as the prophets in the Old Testament foretold it. Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb. There his body lay for three days. But on the first day of the week, Jesus was raised from the dead, just as the Old Testament prophets said would happen. The stone was rolled away and our salvation was made available and sure. Jesus body was raised from the dead. He didn’t vaporize. He arose. Praise God! We serve the Lord, Jesus Christ, who is victor even over sin and death! We worship the Father who loved us so much that he gave us his only begotten Son so that we by faith might have everlasting life. The Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures and who adopts us into God’s family and who indwells our very bodies as his temple guides us. That same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is strengthening us to live according to God’s will and helping us to pray, sealing us for eternal life in glory some day.
Heavenly Father, we are here before you by your grace and love poured out upon us through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior and Lord. We are here in your presence, worshipping in the Holy Spirit by the truth you have laid out for us in your Word.