For many people, the season known as Easter has become a celebration of Spring – a time for anticipating nicer weather, picnics, egg hunts, rabbits, candy, chocolate, jelly beans, Spring Break, etc., etc. The commercial establishment also capitalizes on this time by announcing a sale, encouraging all of us to show up for church in our Sunday best. While there may be nothing wrong with some of these things, is this really what this holy season is all about?
The Bible tells us that the real meaning of this season is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But what if the resurrection never happened? Would that make a difference in your life? Paul describes the depressing reality of what life would be like had Christ not risen from the dead (I Corinthians 15:12-20). Consider the following:
1. If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is useless.
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain…” (I Corinthians 15:14a).
If the resurrection of Christ never happened, then our preaching is a grand waste of time and Christianity is nothing more than a hoax.
2. If Christ is not risen, then our faith is vain.
“…and your faith is also vain” (I Corinthians 15:14b).
The Christian faith rises and falls on the resurrection of Christ. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then we have believed a lie.
3. If Christ is not risen, then Paul and the rest of the Apostles were liars.
“Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ…” (I Corinthians 15:15a).
Christ either rose from the dead, or all of the apostles were either deluded or, more likely, intentional deceivers.
4. If Christ is not risen, we have no forgiveness of sins.
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17).
If the resurrection of Christ never happened, our faith is worthless and we are still trapped in our sins.
5. If Christ is not risen, we’ll never see our deceased loved ones again, for the grave ends all. Simply put, without the resurrection,we have no future.
“Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (I Corinthians 15:18).
Without the resurrection, this life is all there is. There is no hope for the one who dies. There is no hope for us!
6. If Christ is not risen, then we are to be pitied above all men.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Corinthians 15:19).
If the resurrection of Christ never happened, then we have lived our entire life in vain and we are to be pitied as fools.
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (I Corinthians 15:20).
If Christ had not been raised, then everything we have said would be true. But the truth is that Christ rose from the dead on the third morning, and “…showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs…” (Acts 1:3a). He appeared to Peter and the rest of the apostles. He appeared to more than 500 at one time in broad daylight. His resurrection changed the disciples into bold witnesses, willing to give their lives for Jesus, which many of them did. It has been said that many have died for what they believed to be the truth, but nobody dies for what they know to be a lie. And many since that time have stared death in the face with confidence, because their lives were changed by a personal encounter with the living Christ. He still changes lives today!
Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our faith is not useless! Our sins are paid for! We have a future! Friends, the tomb is empty so we don’t have to be! Hallelujah, He lives! This is the gospel message – the most glorious message ever proclaimed! If you’ve never come to trust in the living Lord, why not now?