Summary: Why is an event that took place over 2,000 years ago so important in our fast paced technically advanced age?
Why Is the Resurrection Important?
I want to welcome you here on this beautiful Easter morning. We sometimes call this Sunday, “Resurrection Sunday” because it is about cele-brating the resurrection of Jesus. But unfortunately on Easter Sunday the story of the resurrection some-times seems to take a back seat to the Easter bunny, and Easter egg hunts. Yet the resurrection is the foundation of our faith as Christians. But instead of focusing on the story of the resurrection today, I want to look at the importance of the resurrection. Why is an event that took place over 2,000 years ago so important in our fast paced technically advanced age?
The question, “What becomes of a person after death?” is the oldest question pondered by the mind of man. Thousands of years ago a man named Job, asked the question very clearly when he said, “If a man dies will he live again?” (Job 14:14)
There have always been many erroneous ideas about death. Some groups (Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventist’s) teach “soul sleep” that at death the body dies and disintegrates, while the soul or the spirit rests. Some religions teach “reincarnation” that is that the spirit is continually recycled form one form to another, even human to animal. “According to data released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2009 survey), not only do a quarter of Americans believe in reincarnation, but 24 percent of American Christians expressed a belief in reincarn-ation. … Many people in the Christian tradition who more or less accept reincarnation may never have really thought through its implications for other aspects of their faith. What should be recognized, however, is that one cannot claim to believe in reincarnation without compromising key tenets of Christian faith, most notably the atoning role of Jesus’ life and death, the critical role of grace and forgiveness, and the prospect of eternity with our present embodied spirits resurrected, trans-formed and glorified.” [www.americamagazine.org/issue/christians-and-reincarnation]
Others such as the New Age (Bahia and Hinduism) believe, in “absorption” that at death the spirit is absorbed back into the ultimate divine force. The one thing that all of this false views has is at that at death, human individuality is forever lost. What-ever, if anything, survives is no longer the person, he or she once was.
What the Bible teaches is that there is life beyond the grave, and that we can be assured of that life because Jesus conquered death. But there have always been people who didn’t believe in the resur-rection – in his letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul addresses such a group.
The fact of the resurrection forms the basis of Paul’s argument found in the letter to the church at Corinth, that because Christ was raised, life beyond the grave for us is possible. The two ideas stand or fall together. It seems that some were saying that Christ had not risen from the grave without realizing what that meant about their own future. If Christ did not conquer death then you and I will surely not. The Apostle Paul put the importance of the resurrection in perspective when he said, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is in futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Cor. 15:7)
When Paul wrote about the importance of the resurrection, he framed it in a conditional sentence. He said, “If Christ is not risen.” (1 Cor. 15:17) Paul is not expressing doubt or uncertainty about the resur-rection. In the Greek language there are a variety of ways of expressing conditional though. In this instan-ce, it is a second class condition which assumes the falsehood of what is being said. Paul is just con-templating the awful alternative that if Christ is not risen (but He is)! He does this because he wants us to understand just how important the resurrection is to our faith.
What Difference Would It Make If Jesus Did Not Rise From The Grave? “A British agnostic once said, “Let’s not discuss the other miracles; let’s dis-cuss the resurrection. Because if the resurrection is true, then the other miracles are easily explained; and if the resurrection is not true, the other miracles do not matter.” [As quoted in Dr. Dan Hayden. “What If?” 1 Corinthians 15:17. Zion’s Fire. March-April 2000, p.9]
In 1 Corinthians 15:13-19 Paul demonstrates that the resurrection of Christ is essential to our faith. In these verses Paul deals with the world’s greatest “What If?” question. What would the world be like if Jesus had not been raised from the Dead? What if the women who went to the tomb early on Sunday morning (John 20) found nothing had happened, found the guards pacing back and forth and Jesus was still in His tomb?
In verse thirteen Paul says, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.”