This is an unprecedented Easter…no one anticipated celebrating THIS DAY in our pajamas at home. And while we couldn’t have predicted a pandemic: none of it caught God by surprise! We still get to celebrate that He Is Risen!
While we don’t desire to spend Easter sheltered in place…I can’t think of a better time for the HOPE found in the message of Easter. The Good News of the Gospel encompasses ALL of our concerns about life and life after death.
Let’s allow this global disruption of our traditions and normal Easter services to remind ourselves of the core of our faith! The foundation of our faith is not our ability to gather as the Church on Easter Sunday…the foundation of our faith is what we celebrate at Easter.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth to show them the reality of the Resurrection and to remind them of the good news of the Gospel.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures1 Corinthians 15:3-4
This IS the Gospel: that Christ DIED for our sins, that He was BURIED, and that He ROSE AGAIN on the third day! The Gospel does NOT tell us something we must do, it doesn’t give us rituals to follow. The Gospel tells us what Jesus has already done for us! He died for our sins, was buried, & rose again.
Then Paul points out that there is no Gospel apart from the Resurrection.
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.1 Corinthians 15:14, 17-19
In other words, you & I have no reason to go to church, no reason to listen to sermons, no reason for reading this post, no reason for ANY OF THIS…if Jesus DID NOT rise from the dead.
Paul saw a direct connection between the Resurrection of Jesus & the sufficiency of His death to atone for our sins. In fact, he wrote the church in Rome…“Jesus was delivered up [died] for our trespasses and raised for [resurrection] our justification.”
As followers of Jesus, we believe that Jesus was historically crucified on a cross. We believe that He died & was buried in a tomb from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning. And we believe on Sunday morning He physically resurrected from the grave!
Now, if this is true, then we have all the reason in the world to HOPE. We can rest assured that our sins are forgiven. We can know for certain that our eternity is secure. And we can trust in Jesus as our source inner peace & security. However, if it’s NOT true and Jesus did not rise from the grave then ALL of this is a complete waste of time.
Regardless of your religious background we all have to do something with Jesus Christ. Because if the Resurrection is TRUE…then it’s ALL true. But if the Resurrection is NOT TRUE…then NONE of it is true.
And as if Paul could anticipate our concerns that the Resurrection is just too far fetched…he continues…
And that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.1 Corinthians 15:5-8
Paul says the proof of Resurrection is the witnesses. You just can’t ignore the fact that Jesus appeared to all these witnesses. Any lawyer today would love to have as many witnesses for his case as Paul lists here as proof of the Resurrection.
So what does all this mean? It means that while you can reject Jesus…you can’t ignore Him. We either have to accept or reject that fact that God made a way to satisfy His justice and demonstrate His mercy through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. But you can’t ignore it.
To accept the Gospel and receive Christ is to BELIEVE that Jesus died on the cross for your sin and rose from the grave as your Savior. And the evidence of our believe is the SURRENDERING of our lives to Him as Lord.