WHY THE RESURRECTION STILL MATTERS

 

1 Corinthians 15:13-23

What does Christ’s resurrection mean to you? Is it simply an event in the distant past with little relevance for 2016, or does it affect how you think and act each day?
Many people look at Easter as an occasion for purchasing new clothes and going to church. But it’s not just a day to celebrate the empty tomb and then move on as if nothing has changed.

Since we didn’t personally witness the risen Christ after His burial, imagining that first Easter morning is difficult. Not only that, but our traditional celebrations and familiarity with the story make it easy to overlook the stunning magnitude of what transpired. Then we run the risk of taking the resurrection for granted and missing the impact it still has today.

In 1 Corinthians 15:13-17, the apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of the resurrection’s importance by describing what would have happened if Jesus had not been raised. Our Easter celebrations would be a big lie, and our faith would be worthless. Worst of all, we’d still bear the guilt for every sin we’ve ever committed—with no hope of forgiveness, salvation, or eternal life in heaven. If Jesus hadn’t been raised, His death would have accomplished nothing.

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Without the resurrection, our faith would be worthless, and Jesus’ death would have accomplished nothing.

That’s why Easter is an awesome reason for celebration. Jesus died in our place to satisfy the requirement for our atonement—a price far too high for us to pay. His resurrection proves that the Father was satisfied with His sacrifice (Rom. 3:25) and counted it sufficient for the forgiveness of all our sins (1 Cor. 15:20-23). And because of Christ’s victory over death, we too will be resurrected and receive an imperishable inheritance reserved for us in heaven. This hope enables us to rejoice every day, even in the midst of trials and suffering (1 Pet. 1:3-9).

So if we attend an Easter service but remain unchanged for the rest of the year, we’ve missed the purpose of the resurrection. Each day is an opportunity to let the living Christ impact our character, conduct, and conversation as we “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the one who created him” (Col. 3:10). In essence, we are displaying God’s nature with a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love (Col. 3:12-14).

Jesus’ resurrection should also direct and motivate our mission. Christ told His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Having seen the risen Lord and being filled with His Spirit, those first Christians spread the message of salvation throughout the Roman world. The impact of their witness was so great that they were described as “men who have upset the world” (Acts 17:6).

In essence, we display God’s nature with a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love.

Throughout the ages, the gospel of Christ has continued to be proclaimed, and people all over the world have been saved. Today, it’s our turn to share the same message, which offers forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life to all who believe. No other major religion has a leader who overcame death. How can we keep silent about the most important event that ever happened?

This month you will celebrate Easter by gathering with fellow believers, joyously singing of Christ’s resurrection, and listening once again to the story of the empty tomb. But don’t let the familiarity and holiday customs steal your wonder and appreciation. As you continue rejoicing at Jesus’ victory over death, look forward to that day when He will return and resurrect all those who have trusted Him as Savior. And keep living in the newness of life that He’s provided for us through His resurrection power.

 

by Charles F. Stanley

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