"If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith is also in vain" (1 Cor. 15:14). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. If Jesus rose from the dead, everything He taught is validated; every promise He gave is proven true; and anyone who believes in the resurrected and living Lord will be saved. Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved."
Four hundred years before Christ was born, the philosopher, Socrates, asked, "Shall we live again? I hope so, but no man can know." One of the liberal architects of the Jesus Seminar, John Dominic Crossan, said, "I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time brings dead people back to life."
In John 11, Lazarus had died. His sisters, Mary and Martha, were in mourning. Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again. She had faith in Jesus and believed her brother would rise in the resurrection on the last day. Jesus then plainly said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25-26). The resurrection (Jesus) commanded that Lazarus come forth from the grave. He did! That was a miraculous demonstration of who He is and what He can do.
On the first Easter Sunday, He rose from dead. Today He lives, not just in heaven, but also in the lives of everyone who believes in Him.
Skeptics throughout the years have tried to discredit or deny the resurrection. Why do they spend so much time trying to debunk something they do not even believe is real? In fact, if Jesus was not raised from the dead, Christianity is nothing.
Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus said in Luke 9:22, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and raised up on the third day."
The time of Easter varies from year to year from around March 22 to April 25. This year it falls on April 20. While the time of Resurrection Sunday varies, the fact of the resurrection does not. He was dead but he is alive forever. Those who believe in Him have something to celebrate every day, particularly on Sunday but especially on Easter Sunday.
The words of the angel to the women at His empty tomb are especially powerful, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here but He has risen" (Luke 24:5-6).
A born again person does not simply have forever life, we have resurrection life-the very life of Jesus in us. That is worth celebrating every day and telling as many people as we can how they too can have this life.
Have a Christ-conscious, Spirit-filled Resurrection Day!
James Rudy Gray is certified as a professional counselor by the National Board for Certified Counselors, and is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He serves as the editor of The Baptist Courier, the official newspaper of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.