“Now, brothers, 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 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” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
The fact of Christ’s resurrection is central to our faith. Indeed, if someone asks the reason for our faith, there are not many better responses than to point to our risen Lord. Yes! We are Christians because we believe that Christ rose from the dead! In fact, right from the beginning, the church is built on the good news of the resurrection (Acts 4:33).
The resurrection is true. That’s why we can have a relationship with the living God; if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then He is not Lord today, for He is dead. His recorded words might have some influence—but He himself has no power. If Christ is not risen, “we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Cor. 15:19). If the tomb of Christ is not empty, we have no assurance that God is God, for death has overpowered Him. Our faith will be futile because the object of our faith has not vindicated himself as the Lord of life.
But Christ has risen! “He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve… he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same… he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Cor. 15:5-8). Even today, we hear numerous credible accounts of encounters with Jesus from places where preaching the gospel and identifying oneself as a Christian is strictly forbidden.
My dear brothers and sisters, Christ has risen indeed! That’s why our faith stands upon a certain hope, and we experience the same power which raised Him from the dead. Romans 4:25 says, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Because of the fact of His death and resurrection, we can be certain we have been justified. Hallelujah!