This Sunday, we gathered to celebrate the most important event in human history: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But what if He had not been raised? What would that mean for believers? What would that mean for the world?
Our world is full of "what ifs"
Each of our lives contains uncertainty, and many of us worry, asking "what if?" such and such happens in the future, or "what if?" such and such had not happened in the past. It's easy to get caught up in meaningless speculation. But one "what if" is worth asking: what if Jesus had not been raised from the dead?
Paul answers that big "what if" in 1 Corinthians 15, where he contends that without Christ's resurrection, the Christian faith is empty and useless. If Christ is not raised, we believers are just wasting our time. Sure, we'll gain some moral teachings from an interesting historical figure, but since Jesus said he would rise again, we'd have to believe Him to be a liar or a crazy person. And since Jesus said that our own eternal life was tied to His, we'd have to believe that He lied about that, too. Without Christ's resurrection, there's no hope for ours. The "good news" hinges on the resurrection. If Christ is not raised, there is no good news, just some good advice.
Stuck in sin
Both Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection are essential for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus's blood satisfied God's wrath and made us right with God. The resurrection validates the efficacy of Christ's work.
No hope beyond the grave
Christ's resurrection means that Jesus was who He said He was, that His death atoned for our sins, and that we have hope for eternal life with Him. Christ's resurrection ensures our resurrection, and if He hasn't been raised, we should just live as we please in the here and now, because there's nothing to look forward to after this life.
Christ has indeed been raised
But we do have something to look forward to after this life. Because Christ lives, we believe that we will live with Him. And all those what-ifs that plague us with uncertainty in this life find their answer in the hope of Christ's resurrection.
A new question
Now, we can ask not "what if," but "now that" -- Now that Christ is raised, how shall we live? Living in the reality of Christ's resurrection means experiencing new and abundant life. It means taking hold of the peace, joy, forgiveness, and unconditional love that Christ offers. It means trusting in Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life.
Questions to Consider:
How does Christ's resurrection help us understand what will happen to believers after they die?
How does Christ's resurrection help to assure us of our forgiveness in Christ?
Am I living my life in a way that proclaims the powerful reality of the risen Christ?
Am I plagued by "what ifs?" or am I trusting Christ with my future?