‘If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and our faith is in vain….If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins’ (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).
The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is ‘the be-all and end-all of the Christian faith.’ According to Bishop Barron, ‘If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, all bishops, priests, and Christian ministers should go home and get honest jobs, and all the Christian faithful should leave their churches immediately.’ Paul’s word and advice to those who were denying Christ’s literal bodily resurrection, the Corinthians resonates with us even today. Paul states that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then there is no rescue and freedom from sin and no opportunity for a new and transformed life spiritually. His argument is that, anyone that deny the reality of the resurrection of Christ is denying the Christian faith and message altogether, including the validity of preaching, the truthfulness of the apostles, the experience of sins forgiven, and the assurance of eternal life (I Cor 15: 15, 17,18).
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead confirmed that ‘this world is not all there is.’ There is something greater than we can or had imagined. Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead calls for joy to believers because death or pandemic is not our master rather we are renewed to proclaim that this world is temporal, ‘a place of gestation toward something higher, more permanent, more splendid.’
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a red card to fake preacher and the tyrants like Caesar. Based on the Roman’s understanding of the cross as a ‘way of asserting its authority,’ the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was a time bomb for the reign of Caesar because the first Christians knew that his time is up and his days numbered. Today, the preaching of the Cross remains a real threat to Caesars in the church and government. The greatest obstacle to church growth and evangelism are preachers and Christians with unwashed feet who are not sharing the heart of the Gospel, the power of Jesus’ resurrection.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is meant to set church and its leadership on fire just as it did to the first Christians by opening the path of salvation to everyone. The world will continue to domesticate the Resurrection of Jesus, believers must rise as the first Christians did in spreading the Good News of salvation. Jesus’ resurrection calls us to seek the things that are above, where Christ is (Col 3:1-3). Beloved, the power of death and hell have been vanquished by the Victor on the cross. It is the Resurrection of Jesus that gives our liturgy, theology, preaching meaning and efficacy. Denial of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ produces empty preaching, empty leadership, empty followers and empty church. Christian hope and faith is not centred about the pleasure of this life. It is pitiable when peoples hope is only for this life and no anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Christianity is the real fullness of God’s revelation. Jesus’ resurrection warns against fraud and fake Christianity. Without Jesus’ resurrection, Christian preaching and even Christian “faith” are vain, empty, “fruitless and ineffective, ‘nothingness, absolute void.” Resurrection gives logical basis for living a good and moral life rather than seeking the pleasure of life that interest us or make us happy and cool because every single hope is found only in this life. Beloved, you have to acknowledge your belief in Jesus’ resurrection to become a Christian (Rom 10:9).
Jesus’ resurrection is about God is WITH and FOR us because He has given us His Son. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we know that God is WITH and FOR us because He has settled the question of our sin. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we know that God is WITH and FOR us because He has given us His Spirit. Through Jesus’ resurrection we know that God is WITH and FOR us because He has adopted us into His family and has made us joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we know that God is WITH and FOR us because He has promised that all things will work together for our good. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we know that God is WITH and FOR us because of the declared purpose of His grace. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we know that God is WITH and FOR us because He has guaranteed our eternal life, hence no more argument as we prayerfully sing the hymn:
My faith has found a resting place,
Not in a manmade creed;
I trust the ever living One,
That He for me shall plead.
I need no other evidence,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And rose again for me.
Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul, I come to Him,
He will not cast me out.
My soul is resting on the Word,
The living Word of God,
Salvation in my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood.
My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.