The Hope of the Resurrection

“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Those, then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.” 1 Corinthians 15:16-19

The Christian faith hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.  The above quote is from the Apostle Paul, who was a Jewish Pharisee by background and had been persecuting the early Christians. Jesus was a historical figure who was crucified by death on a Roman cross. There were over 500 witnesses of His resurrection and thousands of followers of Jesus early on and now millions who believe and follow Him to this day.

Jesus is unique because He predicted He would die in such a specific way and that He would rise on the third day.

There are no other religions on the face of the earth that believe a perfect, crucified Savior would die for the sins of the people and be resurrected to life forever. Oh, there are some that have the idea of rebirth over and over in different forms or perhaps reaching a certain state of being after many rebirths. But there is no one like Jesus who claimed to die on behalf of sinful humanity, once for all time, to rise from the dead and conquer sin and death. He also claimed that He would come back again as final judge and ruler of all people and creation. He is the only one to claim His death was a sacrificial substitute. He came to die in our place because of wrongs we have done against God which separate us from Him as a holy, righteous God. He saves us not on the basis of any “righteous deeds” we have done but because of His mercy and grace. The salvation Jesus offers is by faith alone in what He alone has done on the cross to take the penalty for our sin and give us His righteousness. We believe that He also rose again on the third day and conquered sin and death and He promises eternal life with Him. Again, not because of what we have done, good or bad, but because of His perfect righteousness.

This is why the resurrection of Jesus is so important. If Jesus did not rise from the dead like He said He would, we would remain in our sin and we would be without hope. And, like Paul said, if we are living for just this life only, we are people to be most pitied. We are then without purpose or hope.

I thank God for Easter, for the Resurrection Day! He has conquered death and sin and offers eternal life to us. When we turn from our sin and put our faith and trust in what Jesus has already done, both on the cross and through His resurrection, we have the hope of resurrection as well. This is where we underscore that Christianity is a “done” religion, not a “do” religion. It is not based on what we do since we have all sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23). It is by the grace of God alone through our faith alone in His finished work on the cross and His resurrection that we have life and hope in Him.

I hope you will rejoice this Easter and remember that it is about more than Easter eggs and bunnies and candy. It is about eternal hope in the resurrection of Jesus, who not only came to save us from sin, but to give us the hope of eternal life and resurrection when He comes again. Amen!
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Mark Anderson

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