Rejoice: HE Has Risen!

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (1 Cor. 15:14).

 

If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then there is no need to write this article, no need to say another word. If Christ did not in fact raise from the dead then Christianity is a hopeless religion and Christians are to be pitied more than all men.

 

But the good news is that HE has risen from the grave!

 

The doctrine of the resurrection is essential to our faith. All of Christianity depends on the truth of this doctrine. But it is more than a doctrine—it is the “good news” that should fill us with joy, hope, confidence, excitement and celebration!

 

Jesus had predicted his death and resurrection to his disciples, but they did not understand. It was hard for them to imagine a Messiah who would die, and as a result they did not understand the need for a resurrection. Even after Jesus’ death, and after they saw the empty tomb, they did not believe.

But of course Jesus did appear to them with real flesh and bones. They saw him and they even touched him. This was not just wishful thinking and they had not gone crazy.

 

Hundreds were convinced that Jesus was alive—they were so convinced that they preached this good news even as they were threatened with death. People do not risk their lives for something they know to be false. Their boldness shows that they believed, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Jesus was really alive.

 

No other explanation makes sense. A badly beaten and left-for-dead victim of scourging and crucifixion could not have escaped the tomb by himself. Nor would it make sense for the Jews or Romans to steal the body. The Jews could have stopped the disciples’ “heresy” if they had simply produced the dead body—but there was no dead body to be found! The empty tomb may not have been enough to convince the disciples, but a full tomb would have been enough to stop everyone. It was not a hoax. It was not a mistake. Jesus was really alive, and hundreds testified to what they had seen and heard. Even Saul of Tarsus, an enemy of the message, became convinced when Jesus appeared to him. It was not a wishful thought, not a fraud, not a hallucination—it was an event that changed Saul’s life. And Jesus’ resurrection changes our lives, too.

 

Today we can pray with confidence, knowing that we have a high priest who understands our difficulties. He has not only begun the work in us, he will complete it—he is the author and the perfecter of our faith. And, Jesus Christ continues to lead and guide the church he built. He remains actively involved in his people through the Holy Spirit, which he left us as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come so that we might become more like him, growing in him until we are fully conformed to his image.

 

Our salvation depends on the risen Christ. Our faith depends on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The church depends on the risen Christ. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have victory over death and decay. We can have real joy and the hope of a better tomorrow. We can worship the King and Messiah who is supremely greater than all that he created. We can celebrate because the resurrection was Christ’s demonstration of the reason for the hope that all Christians have of conquering death, of becoming imperishable, of rising to glory. Therefore our worship today is the outward expression of our faith in a risen Christ, our hope in our promised resurrection and our joy in the inheritance that awaits us when His glory is revealed. It is no wonder that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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