Summary: Belief in the resurrection carries with it implicastions for the way we live out our lives.
The Call to Worship had just been pronounced starting Easter Sunday Morning service in an East Texas church. The choir started its processional, singing "Up from the Grave He Arose" as they marched in perfect step down the center aisle to the front of the church. The last lady was wearing shoes with very slender heels. Without a thought for her fancy heels, she marched toward the grating that covered that hot air register in the middle of the aisle. Suddenly the heel of one shoe sank into the hole in the register grate. In a flash she realized her predicament. Not wishing to hold up the whole processional, without missing a step, she slipped her foot out of her shoe and continued marching down the aisle. There wasn’t a hitch. The processional moved with clock-like precision. The first man after her spotted the situation and without losing a step, reached down and pulled up her shoe, but the entire grate came with it! Surprised, but still singing, the man kept on going down the aisle, holding in his hand the grate with the shoe attached. Everything still moved like clockwork. Still in tune and still in step, the next man in line stepped into the open register and disappeared from sight. The service took on a special meaning that Sunday, for just as the choir ended with "Allelujah! Christ arose!" a voice was heard under the church shouting..."I hope all of you are out of the way ’cause I’m coming out now!" The little girl closest to the aisle shouted, "Come on, Jesus! We’ll stay out of the way."
In every survey I have seen on the subject, the vast Americans say they believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The figure averages around 80% of all Americans. But I have a suspicion. If I were to ask each of you this morning “to explain how the resurrection of Christ impacts your life”, many would find it difficult to make a connection. How does the fact that a jewish man 2000 years ago died and rose from the dead speak to contemporary man. Is Jesus resurrection just a fact in history to be acknowledged or is it the matrix that unlocks the meaning of life? I’ve titled this sermon the “so what” of the resurrection.
Paul lays it on the line when he says in verse 14, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”. He goes on to say in verses 17-19, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. For Paul and the early church, the resurrection was the foundation of the churches life and message. Without the resurrection there is no Christianity, might be one way to paraphrase Paul.
Heres what Cambridge scholar N.T Wright has to say about the subject, Why did christianity arise, and why did it take the shape it did? The early Christians themselves reply: We exist because of Jesus’ resurrection…. There is no evidence for a form of early Christianity in which the resurrection was not a central belief. Nor was this belief, as it were, bolted on to Christianity at the edge. It was the central driving force, informing the whole movement. In the fifteenth chapter of Corinthians, Pauls makes the strategic connection between Jesus rising from the dead our search for meaning in life.