Summary: Why should we believe the amazing story of the resurrection of Jesus? And if it is true, then how should it affect our lives?
Resurrection Power 3-27-05
1 Corinthians 15:12-23 (NIV)
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
End scene from The Passion by Mel Gibson
He is alive!
It is upon this belief that Jesus was victorious over death, that the entire Christian faith depends. It is because of this pivotal importance that the reality of that is questioned, attacked, and belittled, especially in the last 100 years. If it is not true, our passage for today tells us our faith is futile. We may as well close the doors and say good-bye to one another. There is no reason for us to meet. Every Bible believing preacher is a liar, if Jesus was not raised. If that is the case, they are not only preaching a lie, but also encouraging you to base your life on a lie. If there is no resurrection, there is no solution to sin. There is no way to remove the inevitable guilt that weighs down the human heart. And because the way of Christ calls us to death of self, because it forfeits worldly pleasure now for eternal pleasure with God, if there is no resurrection, then we are to be pitied.
The arguments against resurrection change over the years. As each opposing theory is debunked, new ones are created. They all begin with the same premise, miracles do not happen. The same researchers and scientists will tell us that in every other field of research and experimentation, we must be very careful not to approach our field with foregone conclusions. Yet, those very same doctors of science will begin examining the resurrection with the foregone conclusion that there is no God and therefore miracles do not happen. Then they proceed to search for alternate explanations. Rather than accept the account of eyewitnesses and the proof of amazingly transformed lives, they would rather try to search for a convenient alternative explanation 2000 years after the fact.
I do not think that makes a lot of sense. If I read an account of Plato’s death written by his followers, I do not sit down and try to figure out why they lied and what really happened. Granted, his death was not so amazing and challenging to my way of life. And isn’t that really the crux of the matter? The account of the disciples challenges us to examine what we live for and base our life upon. If I want to live for worldly pleasure, just please myself and be my own master, then I do not want the resurrection to be real. I would rather it was made up by some weak-minded people who needed a crutch. I would rather believe they made the whole thing up. Then I am under no compulsion to change my behavior. I can keep doing what I want, be my own master, and not worry about the consequences.
However, I believe those disciples told us the truth. It is not because I need a crutch or that I fear death. It is because the Holy Spirit of God convicted me of my need to be right with God. It is a conviction that is contrary to my natural desires. Jesus claimed that it is only through Him that we can be right with God. (John 14:6)
“Ha!” you say. “Exclusivity! How intolerant!” Well, examine every other major religion and you will find that they each claim to be the only way to God. The difference is that their founders are in the grave. They never claimed resurrection. And if the founders of those religions are in the grave, what hope do I have that their message is God’s message?