IF CHRIST IS NOT ALIVE CHRISTIANS HAVE NO HOPE
If Christ has not been raised from the dead our faith is useless and false. The doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus is essential to our going to heaven. In one of Paul’s most forceful statements he declared, “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) If Jesus Christ is not alive today Christianity is all a fraud. The resurrection of Jesus proves that He is no mere man. It declares Him to be the Son of God with power. (Romans 1:4) The resurrection from the dead proves Jesus to be worthy of our honor, our respect and of our worship. Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." (John 11:25-27) Our salvation is dependent upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! (1 Corinthians 15:1-9) What is your reaction when you hear about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Christians love and serve a living Savior!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the most undeniable fact of human history. There were many that saw Jesus after His resurrection. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome were the first to learn of the resurrection. (Mark 16:1-6) Paul wrote, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." (1 Corinthians 15:3-9) Two disciples walked, talked and ate with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35) Jesus appeared to the apostles without Thomas being present. (John 20:19-24) Jesus appeared a second time to the apostles. This time they were all present. (John 20:26-29) Jesus appeared to seven disciples by the Lake of Tiberias. (John 21:1-23) Many others also saw Him, including Paul who said, "And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." (1 Corinthians 15:8-9)
When the gospel is preached, the resurrection is preached. We are saved by Jesus' death and also by His life. Paul wrote that Jesus “Was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) We are reconciled to God both by the life and death of Jesus. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10) When it was time to select an apostle to take the place of Judas it had to be a person that had been a witness of the resurrection. (Acts 1:21-22) When Peter preached the first gospel sermon as the church began on Pentecost He preached the resurrection. (Acts 2:31) A little later we read, "And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." (Acts 4:1-2) In Acts 4:33 we read, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all." Our hope is connected to the resurrection of Jesus. (1 Peter 1:3)
What convinced the disciples that Jesus had risen? The empty tomb helped convince the disciples that Jesus arose from the dead. When the women came to the tomb early on Sunday morning there was, (1) an earthquake, (2) an angel rolled the stone from the tomb, (3) the angel’s countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow, (4) the men guarding Jesus’ grave fainted with fear, (5) the angel told the women that Jesus had arisen from the dead, (6) he invited them to look into the empty tomb, and (7) he told the women to go tell the disciples that Jesus was risen and that he would meet them in Galilee. (Matthew 28:1-8) The resurrection was not a hoax. It was not a trick. Jesus was dead and now He is alive. Even though Jesus had predicted His death and resurrection, the disciples did not, at first, believe Jesus was alive. Jesus appeared to the apostles, but Thomas was not present with them when Jesus, “stood in their midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19-25) The disciples received the Holy Spirit and they came to believe in the resurrection. A week later Thomas had the opportunity to touch the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and side. Thomas then said of Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus appeared to them with his flesh and bone body. They saw Him and touched Him. They saw Him at different times, different places and under different circumstances. The resurrection of Jesus is an undeniable reality. Jesus Christ continues to lead and guide the church He built. (Matthew 28:18) He remains actively involved with His people, helping them to become more like Him, growing in Him until we are fully conformed to His image. (Romans 8:29) The church of Christ depends on our risen Lord. Our salvation depends on the risen Christ. (Acts 17:3) All our faith depends on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “The Lord is risen indeed.” (Luke 24:34) Saul of Tarsus came face to face with the resurrected Lord on the Damascus road and his life was changed forever. "He, who knew all of the arguments that the high priest and the others gave for not believing in Jesus, came to be the foremost proclaimer of the risen Christ."
The resurrection of Jesus provides faith, hope and joy. It is no surprise that Christians base their faith on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Will you accept God's wonderful good news that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and was raised on the third day? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) Those that become children of God have reason to rejoice. (Acts 8:39) Rejoicing follows man's response to God's good news of forgiveness by the death and life of Jesus.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037