“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. … For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
1 Corinthians 15:13, 17
Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, is the Son of God, was crucified as a substitutionary atonement for our sins and was raised from the dead on the third day. Today we celebrate specifically Jesus’ resurrection. As Christians, however, every day is (or ought to be) a celebration of Christ’s resurrection. As the Apostle Paul wrote, if Christ has not been raised, then we are just wasting our time (or worse, committing daily blasphemy if the Jewish or Islamic faiths are instead true).
All of Christianity is hinged on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I believe that Jesus died rise from the dead. It is simply unbelievable to me that his closest followers would have allowed themselves to be persecuted and brutally executed for a lie (i.e. if they stole the body and hid it). Despite the seemingly rapid growth of Christianity in the 1st century A.D., Christ’s closest followers (and later church leaders) did not enjoy great wealth nor power over any significant population. To claim they did it for power is absurd. Since I began by quoting from Paul, let us consider him.
What would possibly induce a rising star in the Orthodox Jewish community to change sides, as it were, at the height of the early church’s persecution by the Jewish leaders? It certainly wasn’t power, wealth and prestige. If those were his aim, then he ought to have remained loyal to the religious leaders he served. It would take a dramatic event to shake the confidence and faith of such man, cause him to give up his rising power and spend the rest of his days suffering in many ways. I accept the Biblical account that it was nothing less that the appearance of Christ Himself to convince Paul of Jesus’ divinity and resurrection (and why I accept the Biblical account for this and other things has been discussed in the past and will be discussed again in the future I am sure). Paul also challenged his readers to go speak with those who were still alive and witnessed Christ post-resurrection.
I am convinced of Christ’s resurrection. If I were not, I would not waste my time preaching and teaching the Bible. If Christ did not rise again, why have I endured the past five years of anguish and suffering. If Jesus was not raised, what’s the point?