This week Christians everywhere acknowledge a pivotal point in history that literally affects EVERYONE! That event is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"He is not here, but He is risen" (verse 6) are words that matter eternally. If they are a lie, humanity has no hope after this life. If they are the truth, rejecting the Risen Lord Jesus Christ has eternal consequences. "He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life" (I John 5:12).
Paul said (I Corinthians 15:14) "and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain."
Many things we believe and do daily matter little. But the Resurrection is eternally important.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the Apostles, no matter how great or marvelous, is secondary to the Resurrection in importance. If the Resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.
Death is man’s greatest enemy, and it has conquered all men but Christ. No matter how brilliant or rich or strong he may be, no man is wise enough to outwit death or wealthy enough to purchase freedom from death or strong enough to vanquish death. The grave always wins the victory, and man sooner or later returns to the dust.
In fact, the inexorable triumph of death applies not only to man, but to all things. Animals die and plants die, and even whole species atrophy and become extinct. Cities and nations, like people, are born and grow for a season, and then fade away. Homes and automobiles and clothes wear out and must eventually go back to the dust, just as do their owners. Even the universe itself is running down and heading toward an ultimate “heat death.”
This universal reign of decay and death is called in the Bible the “bondage to decay” (Romans 8:21). In science it has come to be recognized as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Also known as the Law of Increasing Entropy, this Second Law is now recognized as a universal law in science, with no known exception ever observed. It says, quite simply, that every system tends to become disordered, to run down and eventually die. Its entropy, which is a measure of disorder, always tends to increase.
The universality of the reign of decay and death is the measure of the absolute uniqueness of the resurrection of Christ. All other men, even the greatest men and the holiest men, have died. Buddha, Mohammed, Zoroaster, Confucius, Caesar, Marx—men who made a profound impact on the world in one way or another—are all dead.
But Jesus Christ is alive!
It is true that He died and was buried, in common with all other men, but unlike other men He returned from Hades, resurrected His own dead body, made it henceforth immortal, and emerged from the tomb, alive forevermore! This was the greatest of all miracles, and could have been accomplished only if Jesus indeed is God, as He had claimed to be.
If all this is somehow a delusion and if Jesus of Nazareth did not really rise from the dead, then He is no different from other great men who are also dead. He is worse than they, in fact, because He is thereby branded as either a charlatan or a madman, since He staked all His claims to absolute deity on His promise to return from the dead.
On the other hand, if the Resurrection is really a demonstrable fact of history, then not only are His claims vindicated, but so are His promises. Death is not, after all, the great victor but is a defeated foe. He has “caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, … so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22), as the “firstborn of the dead . . . and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:5, 18).*
Dead in our sins, we have only one hope for new life: by trusting in Jesus Christ and relying on His death and resurrection for our salvation. No other spiritual leader has ever conquered death; Jesus is the unique Son of God. He is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and “whoever believes in [Him], though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
What difference does the Resurrection make in your life today?