Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.1 Corinthians 15:1-8 NIV
The apostle Paul believed that the Resurrection of Jesus is the pillar, the foundation of Christianity.
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. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.1 Corinthians 15:12-20 NIV
If Jesus did not rise from the dead then our faith in Christ is a lie and we will not rise from the dead.
I recommend that everyone who has not read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, do so. Strobel was an atheist who set out to disprove Christianity when his wife became a Christian. He used his legal training to speak to New Testament scholars around the world. When Strobel realized that the evidence for the truth of claims of Christ far exceeded the arguments for atheism, he became a Christian.
What are Strobel’s accomplishments and qualifications? The former award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of more than 40 books and curricula that have sold 14 million copies in total.
Strobel states, “I think fundamentally, the question of whether or not Christianity makes sense – whether it withstands scrutiny, whether the evidence supports it or hurts it – always comes down to the Resurrection.”The Case for Christ
In other words, Strobel concluded that the Resurrection best explains the historical and textural evidence that we have. In fact, the New Testament is by far the ancient document with the most surviving copies. The over 5000 Greek manuscripts give us far more texts than those written by any other ancient authors. For example, we only have the words of Socrates preserved because of the texts of his students.
Strobel contends, “The Resurrection is the supreme vindication of Jesus’ divine identity and his inspired teaching. It’s the proof of his triumph over sin and death. It’s the foreshadowing of the resurrection of his followers. It’s the basis of Christian hope. It’s the miracle of all miracles.”The Case for Christ
Strobel argued that the Resurrection is the best explanation for the evidence that we have regarding Jesus’ death and appearances.
He noted: “I went to a psychologist friend and said if 500 people claimed to see Jesus after he died, it was just a hallucination. He said hallucinations are an individual event. If 500 people have the same hallucination, that’s a bigger miracle than the resurrection.”The Case for Christ
I agree with the Apostle Paul and Lee Strobel that the Resurrection demonstrates that Jesus is Lord and Savior, his teachings are true, and we will rise from the dead. Rejoice!
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
- The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (Available for checkout from the church.)
- The Case for Easter by Lee Strobel
- Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh & Sean McDowell