The Importance of the Resurrection1
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain. ~Romans 15:14
It hasn’t happened recently, but there have been occasions in my life when I have asked myself, “How do I really know that Christianity is true? How do I know that when I die, I won’t wake up to some very different reality than the one described in the Bible?”
When I have these kinds of doubts, I end up quickly coming back to the person of Jesus Christ and especially the resurrection. The fact that there are Christians spread throughout the world tells me that something significant happened shortly following the death of Christ. What accounts for the radical transformation in the lives of the disciples from frightened, hopeless men into bold, confident world evangelists unafraid of kings, persecution or death?
In the end, the best and most plausible explanation rests in the historical reality of the resurrection. Jesus truly died and Jesus truly rose bodily from the dead.
The logic is simple. Last I checked dead people don’t come back to life. The only way people can be resurrected from the dead is by the supernatural power of God. If Christ is able to rise from the dead, then this is nothing less than a work of God. It is strong evidence that Jesus is who He claimed to be, the unique Son of God and Messiah come to save His people from their sins.
The response the Jews offered is telling. They did not opt to go to the tomb and drag out the body to squash the budding upstart religion. They tacitly admitted that the body was missing. Their only explanation for the empty tomb was the lie that the ever brave disciples banded together, managed to heave the large stone away from the tomb’s entrance, unwrap the body, and haul it away so quietly as not to disturb any of the Roman soldiers getting their beauty rest. These are the same men who scattered on the night of Christ’s arrest. This is a laughable response on the part of the Jewish leaders, but it is the best they could do.
Unlike most religions around the world, Christianity is founded on an historical event that can be examined and held up to the light of scrutiny. If you are interested in exploring in greater detail the overwhelming evidence supporting the resurrection, I recommend Lee Strobel’s, The Case for Christ. In this book, the former journalist peppers some of the world’s leading scholars with hard questions concerning the person of Jesus and the historical evidence surrounding the resurrection.
Almost every other religion either developed around an idea or a person who testified to being a recipient of special knowledge with little means to verify the source of that knowledge. Followers just have to take their word for it. On the other hand, the truth of Christianity has been verified by the supernatural stamp of Almighty God who raised Jesus from the dead presenting Him to the apostles and over five hundred witnesses.
Our faith is not a made-up fairy tale. As hard as it may be to believe, the resurrection is a well-attested historical event and continues to provide great comfort to Christians around the world. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we too will one day be raised and so our faith is not in vain.