He is risen! This is the proclamation of the disciples and the early Church. Whilst this may seem like a peripheral issue to some, where they may argue that even if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead he still taught many good lessons when he was alive. Thus his life still held value even if he wasn’t resurrected. Yet the great Apostle emphatically claims that; “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Cor 15:17-19
Our faith is futile, according to Paul, if Jesus did not rise from the dead simply because if he did not rise, then his words and teachings could not be trusted as truth, since he prophesied and proclaimed his own resurrection. And if his words are not true, then we have no hope of life with Christ after death, thereby making life futile and meaningless.
The prevailing atheistic perspective seems to be that when our life is over, we simply cease to exist. What a miserable prospect indeed. That all we have to look forward to is non-existence. What’s the point of living if that were the case? It is little wonder that people are stricken with depression and hopelessness to the point where they take their own lives because they perceive a bleak future of nothingness.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not only offer hope of a glorious future for his faithful followers but he affirmed, and verified, this promise of eternal life by rising from the tomb of death after three days. “Did the resurrection really happen?” is the cynical question voiced by unbelievers. I don’t have time to unpack all of the evidences but for further research, explore these basic tenets of the veracity of the resurrection of Jesus: living eye witness accounts such as the New Testament writers who were never refuted, the empty tomb where Jesus was buried and lastly, the most logical explanation for the willingness of Jesus’ disciples to lay down their own lives in martyrdom and the spread of Christianity in the face of extreme persecution.
There are many more but those three tenets are sufficiently compelling to speak to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. We can find joy and hope knowing that what awaits us, when our life on earth is through, is the glory of his Holy presence forever! Hallelujah!
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Cor 15:20