Easter egg hunts, the Easter Bunny, jelly beans, candy eggs, Easter baskets, and Peeps! All of these are fun and enjoyable parts of Easter, but what if that is all? What if the Easter dinner and the fun were the only things to celebrate? What if Jesus Christ didn’t rise from the dead? What if there were no resurrection from the grave?
In 1 Corinthians 15:12-13, the Bible actually proposes this question. Paul writes,
“…how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.” Paul then goes on to describe the negative consequences of an Easter that is only about eggs, bunnies, and candy. He describes what life would be like without the truth and reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let’s remember the following 3 realities of a universe and life without the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These can be found in 1 Corinthians 15.
1. Without the resurrection of Jesus, there is no forgiveness of sin.The purpose of Jesus’ sacrificial death was to provide a completely holy substitute for our sinful failures. God requires the punishment of death for the forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9). No mere human can provide a sufficient sacrifice before God for the sins of others, because each person must die for his or her own sin. However, Jesus, as God and man miraculously combined, could live a completely holy life and thus provide a perfect sacrifice for the sin of mankind through the shedding of His blood and His death on the cross. Romans 1:4 says that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” If Jesus didn’t rise, He was not the Son of God, and thus His death was simply the death of another good man. If He is still dead, then He died for only His own sin but not ours. If this is the case and there is no resurrection of Christ, then we are left surrounded by, captive to, and dominated by our sinful desires and deeds. We are left in our struggle to live with our own guilt and to die condemned by our sin.
2. Without the resurrection of Jesus, our faith is worthless. Our belief in hope, a brighter tomorrow, that God is somehow working all things for good, that death is not the end, and that all wrongs will be made right would all be in vain without the resurrection of Jesus. There would be no reason to hope. We might die in the next moments, and then what? There would be no belief in eternal life, including eternal reward or eternal punishment. If our faith is worthless, there is no hope, no joy, no peace. If our faith is worthless, we should, “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” (That advice may initially sound good to some until you combine it, for all humanity, with the next point that there is no real right and wrong without the resurrection.) If our faith is worthless and there are no moral absolutes, and if others’ merriment includes your detriment, then the world becomes a horrible place. If our faith is worthless, we are, as Paul describes, a most miserable humanity.
3. Without the resurrection of Jesus, the Bible is a lie and there is no ultimate truth for life, living, and death.Paul says that if the resurrection didn’t happen, then truths about God, the Bible, and good versus evil all fall apart. If the resurrection didn’t happen, those who believe the Bible and teach it to others are liars. God, if he exists at all, would be a liar. There would be no bedrock truth for humanity. If there is no bedrock truth, then there is no right and wrong and no true justice for the hurts done to us or those we love. Every person could do that which is right in his own mind. If there is no resurrection, we cannot provide answers for why bad things happen to good people. We cannot teach our children not to kill, steal, lie, etc., nor expect that others should not sin in those ways toward us. ISIS isn’t wrong in their efforts, serial killers aren’t really wrong, corporate greed is fine, and the list could go on to include every horrific crime or sin we could imagine. Without the resurrection, man is left alone in his quest to determine his own way, and there is no direction.
Certainly there will always be those who deny and mock the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do not have to look far or type too many letters into Google to find them and their arguments. However, we must consider the far-reaching implications of their beliefs and decide for ourselves.
If you are a believer, as you consider Easter this year, don’t underestimate the power of the resurrection or fail to celebrate it. Share the good news of the Gospel confidently, because Jesus did rise and conquer death! Our sins can be forgiven. We can have a relationship with God. We can believe that the Bible is true and an unfailing guide for life and the future.
If you are not a believer, please consider the far-reaching implications of your denial and consider once again the story of the Bible. Please consider the following resources that will at least give you some more information and help you to not make a careless decision.
More Resources on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Answers in Genesis – Did the Resurrection Really Happen?
The Case for the Resurrection – Lee Strobel. An investigative reporter studies the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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Articles are written or selected by our Pastor Keith Carnahan