Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
It’s a promise that we hold dear in our hearts, as Christians. Jesus’ resurrection is arguably history’s most significant event, and is the central tenet of Christian theology. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in according to the Scriptures.” Jesus’ promises rest on the Resurrection. But what If Christ hadn’t died? What would have been different?
The resurrection of Christ is important for a number of reasons. Believing in the resurrection means you believe in God’s promises, and also His great power. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 tells us “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” In this chapter, Paul is speaking of the importance of the resurrection, and the consequences of not believing in the resurrection to those in Corinth who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. One of the biggest consequences pulled from 1 Corinthians 15 can be found in verse 14, which tells us that faith in Christ would be useless, in verse 15 which tells us that all the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection would be liars, and in verse 17 which tells us no one would be redeemed from their sins. As Christians who believe that Christ was risen from the dead, the opposite would challenge everything we believe.
If the resurrection hadn’t happened, we’d still be dead in a world of sin, and the Enemy would not have been defeated. The Devil wanted to conquer the kingdom of God and triumph over Him by defeating Christ. When Jesus was tested by the Devil in the wilderness, he showed his face as tempter, attempting to put Christ to the test at one of his lowest physical points. In Matthew 4:8-9, we are told “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘If you will bow down and worship me.’” But Jesus said to him “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’. Then the Devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Matthew 4:10-11). Even during one of his weakest points, Jesus could not be broken. The Resurrection defeated Satan, and all His empty promises. Sin and death where conquered through Christ’s death, and His resurrection proves that we have nothing to fear, including sin or death.
Without Christ’s death, how can we believe in eternal life? When Jesus spoke to Martha, referenced in John 11:25-26, he said “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, evern though they die and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (NIV). Jesus then asks Martha if she believed this and she replied ‘Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is come into the world.” What would be the point of the Gospel, Jesus’ earthly ministry, and Jesus’ death without the promise of ascension? When we trust in His promises, we are raised to eternal life. Believing in this means we have the power to conquer all things.
When we believe in the resurrection, we believe that God has ultimate dominion over death and life. Romans 6:9 tells us “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (NIV). If Jesus hadn’t risen, God’s promise wouldn’t be fulfilled and it would compromise our faith. The empty tomb is not only provides powerful evidence, but is also a powerful reminder of the resurrection. We also know that if the tomb was empty, ours will be as well when Jesus’ returns again, and all will be raised. The resurrection secures our victory over death. If Christ hadn’t risen, we would not have been redeemed. Knowing that Jesus was resurrected shows us that Christ is who he promised to be.