Easter is coming soon, and it commemorates one of the two most important events in the history of the world. It is interesting that Christmas receives all the attention, but if Easter Sunday had never taken place, Christmas morning would not have had any type of eternal significance.
Jesus came to earth with a specific mission. Even before He was born, it was prophesied to Joseph in a dream that Jesus was going to be the one who, “will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, NIV). Of course, past sins are already committed, and the only way to be saved from them is to have them forgiven. You can’t remove what has been done, but you can put it away and cover it over.
The only way that He could fulfill that mission was by dying on the cross and ultimately rising again to break the power of death. Death was defeated, and forgiveness became freely available to all who request it.
That was Jesus’ mission, and coming to earth was clearly not enough. He had to come, but He also had to die and rise again in order to actually save His people from their sins.
Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is of utmost importance to those of us who call ourselves Christians. If it never took place, then Jesus is ultimately nothing special. He might’ve been born, but if He remained dead in the grave, then the mission that He came for was not successful.
Paul recognized this clearly in his first letter to the Corinthians. “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14, NIV). He doesn’t really mince any words here. Christianity is useless if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. How could Jesus fulfill His mission of saving people from their sins if He never went to Calvary?
We know from Paul in his letter to the Romans, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:8-10, NIV).
We are justified by the blood of Jesus Christ, and that is the faith that Paul was talking about when he wrote to the Corinthians as well. If Jesus Christ is not raised from the dead, then the whole idea of reconciliation through His death and salvation through His life goes out the window. If there is no resurrection from the dead, that issue of salvation suddenly falls apart, and we are left with an incomplete formula. If Jesus Christ could not defeat death, then how could He provide the salvation from it? That’s why the resurrection is so important theologically.
Ultimately though, the resurrection is also an historical question. The claim is that Jesus Christ physically and literally rose from the dead, and a lot of people have a hard time swallowing that. As a result, from now until Easter, I am going to write about this issue. If the resurrection of Jesus Christ really happened, then it is without a doubt the most important event in human history. If it really happened, then the rest of the story is true as well that only those who believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (paraphrase John 3:16).