Last week, I entitled my blog: “No Cross? No Christianity.”
But let’s imagine that Jesus had died but not risen. Would Christianity even exist?
The Apostle Paul didn’t think so. Writing to the Corinthians, he insisted:
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (1 Cor. 15:14, NIV).
No resurrection? No Christianity.
Pondering the resurrection yields many truths. Here are a few:
1. Resurrection reminds us that “good” and “evil” are not to be confused.
People looked at the life of Jesus Christ and saw the loving goodness of God. Yet a handful of religious leaders refused to acknowledge that goodness. Instead, they called it evil and nailed it to a Cross.
God will not tolerate calling what is good, evil. That was the essential point of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost: “You will not let your holy one see decay” (Acts 2:27b). God had vindicated Jesus, the righteous one.
Good is good and evil is evil. The resurrection is God’s warning to not confuse the two.
2. Resurrection affirms that our bodies are to be joyfully celebrated.
Gnostics taught that only spirit is pure; matter – including our bodies – is corrupt and must merely be endured. Resurrection, on the other hand, reminds us that our bodies are good creations of a good God; they are to be celebrated! In fact, our bodies are so important that God will one day give them back to us in new-and-improved form. Jesus’ resurrection is the prototype of the resurrection of all (John 5:28-29). The joys of this life are bodily joys. They will be restored in the Kingdom of Heaven.
3. Resurrection is the promise that God will one day right all wrongs.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Theologians have sometimes solved the riddle by either claiming that God is not all good or that God is not all powerful. Both of these solutions fail to satisfy because they leave out Christ, more specifically the Cross, the Empty Tomb and the Second Coming.
There is no greater example of a “bad thing” happening to a “good person” than when the religious leaders had Jesus crucified. Sometimes we forget that the story doesn’t end with the resurrection. The end of the story is the return of Christ! It is only then that the dead are raised and final judgment takes place (2 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Cor. 5:10).
The resurrection of Jesus is a past event but one that points us forward. Because Jesus lives, we too shall live. Because God through a specific resurrection righted the terrible wrong done to his Son, so we believe that God will one day through a general resurrection right the wrongs suffered by many across human history.
Summing it all up
Resurrection Sunday is indispensable to the Christian faith. No resurrection? No Christianity. Good and evil are not to be confused. Further, we celebrate our bodies as God’s good creation here on earth and – one day – his new creation in the Kingdom of Heaven. And while we mourn that evil can triumph over good in this life, the resurrection teaches us that God will one day set things straight.
Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed.
Image credit: HDWYN.com