Summary: Why is the resurrection important and how do we know it is true?
A Christians, we make much of the cross, as well we should. For apart from the cross, and the sacrifice of Christ for our sakes, we would be eternally condemned to pay the penalty for our sin, and would have no hope of salvation whatsoever. However, apart from the resurrection of Jesus, the cross would be meaningless, because the provision for our salvation would be incomplete without it.
In their book, “Growing As A Christian 101,” Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz identify four things that would not exist if Jesus were not raised from the dead. Without the resurrection, there would be . . .
A. No Messiah.
The true Messiah must fulfill every single prophecy, including the prophecies that He would die for the sins of the world AND that God would raise Him from the dead.
“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” - Psalm 16:9-10 (NIV)
If Jesus did not come back to life, then He wasn’t the Messiah. And if Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, then we are still waiting for salvation.
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” - 1 Corinthians 15:17 (NIV)
B. No eternal life.
Jesus didn’t just say that He would be resurrected. He also said that He would provide a resurrection for us.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’” - John 11:25-26 (NIV)
If Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, then He was a liar, and we have no hope for eternal life.
C. No heaven.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” - John 14:1-3 (KJV)
Jesus made it clear that He is our connection to heaven. Not only is He designing and building a place in heaven for all who believe in Him, He has promised to personally take us there to be with Him, eternally.
But as wonderful and amazing as heaven sounds, it doesn’t mean a thing if Jesus is still dead. Besides, if we can’t trust Jesus’ word about His resurrection, how can we trust His word about heaven?
D. No hope.
Without Christ’s resurrection, we have a worthless faith. We can
appreciate the teachings of Jesus and follow His example; but what’s the point if we don’t have hope of life with Jesus beyond this one?
If we are putting our faith in a dead guy, we are exactly what Ted Turner once called Christians, “a bunch of losers,” or as Paul put it:
“If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.” - 1 Corinthians 15:19 (NLT)
“If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.” - 1 Corinthians 15:19-20 (The Message)
(Show Video—”The tomb”)
Today be are beginning a series of messages on the subject of the
resurrection of Jesus, in which we will consider why and how the
resurrection of Christ should matter to each of us. As we have already seen, whether or not the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact is eternally important. So today, I want us to focus on the proof of the resurrection.
I want you to be able to leave here today without having a shadow of a doubt that the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened just as the Bible said. With that in mind, let’s look to our passage for today.
The Apostle Paul mentions three proofs of the resurrection of Christ:
1. The proof of the empty tomb – vs. 3-5
Paul asserts the fact that the resurrection is proven simply by tomb which Peter and the rest of the disciples saw to be empty.
Now, ever since the resurrection, people who oppose Christianity have disputed the fact of the empty tomb by trying to explain it away.
Their reasoning is that if they can come up with another explanation for the empty tomb other than the Christ’s resurrection, then they can discredit Christianity. Well, folks have had around 2,000 years now to come up with alternative explanations for the empty tomb. Let’s consider the three most popular alternate explanations.