Summary: The Resurrection is not just an event. It is a transformation event that has consequences for a believers life.
He’s Alive! So What?
Consequences of the Resurrection
It was the first day of the week. Probably a little bit earlier than a sunrise service. Three women were making their way through the dimly lit streets of the community.
As I approach these women, I hear them talking. Their conversation catches my attention. I join them as they walk.
They are on their way to anoint the body of Jesus of Nazareth for burial. Everyone around here had heard of Jesus. The events of the past few days; his parade style arrival in town; the raucous he had raised in the temple; his in-your-face confrontation with the religious leaders; his trial; his crucifixion and his death; had captured the attention of the community. Even the event of his burial had caused some commotion.
But they remembered that a stone had been ordered placed in the doorway of the tomb, and it had been sealed closed. There was no way that the stone could be moved. The stone, in the shape of a 6 or 7 foot disk, nearly one and a half feet thick, had been set in its grooves. It would take no less than several horses to pull it out.
The conversation the rest of the way to the tomb centered on how the stone could be moved, so burial preparations could be made. Could you imagine our surprise then, when we arrived at the tomb and found the stone removed from the entrance?
We went inside. And there sat a young man. He was dressed in a pure white robe. It was strange that he would be sitting in the tomb. He had caught us off guard and we were more than a little uneasy about him being there.
But what he said is what I will never forget. "Don’t be afraid. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. Look at the place where they laid him. Go, go tell the disciples, he is alive as he said."
He’s alive! He’s alive! So what? What difference does that make?
Have you ever tried to imagine what it would have been like to have been a witness to the resurrection? Have you ever placed yourself back in time to experience the excitement of the resurrection appearances? If you have you probably asked the same question, "So what? What difference does the resurrection make?"
In chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians, Paul spends a great deal of space arguing for the validity of the resurrection. There were some in the church of Corinth who denied Jesus had been raised. But Paul stands solidly behind the resurrection as an essential element of faith.
Paul also points out for us several theological ways the resurrection made a difference. He displays several doctrinal accomplishments of the resurrection: The resurrection proved Jesus was unique. The resurrection broke the power of death. The resurrection fulfilled the Scriptures. The resurrection instituted the gospel. The resurrection insured Jesus’ return. The resurrection assured the believers of their involvement in the resurrection to come.
I think that we would all agree readily with each of these points. But I don’t want us to consider these "theoretical" achievements. Rather, I want us to draw back. I want us to consider the consequences of the resurrection. What practical difference does the resurrection make in a believer’s day to day life?
1 Corinthians 15:30-34 and verse 58:
As for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every day - I mean that, brothers - just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Don’t be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God - I say that to shame you.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
In these few verses, Paul expresses at least three answers to our question, "So what?" There are three consequences of the resurrection, which must be affected in each Christian’s life.
1. We must remain convinced of the resurrection
What had happened in Corinth is this: Paul had come to Corinth and had spoken to them the message of the gospel. He had from Scripture, told them of how Christ had died and was raised on the third day. He had told them of all the people to whom Jesus appeared, including himself. But after Paul had gone some in the church decided that in fact Jesus was not raised, that in fact there was no resurrection of the dead.