The biblical evidence that resurrection is essential to the Good News can be found in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter fifteen. There Paul lays out, for believers and unbelievers alike, information which he has received first hand from those who experienced the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Not only through information he received, but Paul himself is a witness, as one out of contemporary time, to an encounter with the risen Lord. His own experience is a testimonial that resurrection is essential to the Good News; because without it, he could never have become an adherent of Christianity and one of its chief proponents.
People of the modern era as well as in ancient times have viewed resurrection as a problem. Unable to wrap their minds around the power of God which exceeds human experience and understanding, unbelievers decry resurrection as fable or simple superstition.
Recall, if you will, how the Sadducees, who said there is no resurrection, attempted to discredit Jesus by posing the question of successive marriage in the case of brothers who died leaving a wife in Matthew 22:23f. Jesus’ concluding remarks shows that the patriarchs, long buried, were declared by God to be His living children, debunking their reasoning against resurrection.
Confusion and doubt may become an obstacle concerning the reality of resurrection and its importance for the Good News of Christ and Christian salvation. Those who would come to Christ and those who profess Him must be assured that resurrection is essential to the Good News.
Paul asserts that like himself, we are all saved by the message of the Good News. And resurrection is essential to the Good News. What, then, is its message which we must hear if we are to be saved?
- Christ Died For Our Sins: Romans 5:8, makes plain that “God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. Christ took on the penalty of our sins, ( Is. 53:5, “bruised for our iniquities” ), suffering in our place to satisfy the justice of God.
- Christ Was buried: After the soldiers assured that Jesus was dead upon the cross, and not simply unconscious, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body and laid it in a tomb and rolled a great stone over it. According to Matthew 27:61, there were at least two other witnesses to the burial. Jesus was dead and buried in the earth.
- Christ was raised on the third day: Overwhelming evidence supports Paul’s proclamation of the resurrection of Christ.
- Prophecy affirmed that the Messiah would be resurrected – The classic text Psalm 16:10, “For you will not leave me among the dead; you will not allow you beloved one to rot in the grave”, could be invoked. Others, such as Isaiah 53:10, and Hosea 6:2, indicate resurrection is essential to the Good News.
- Not only are the scriptures in support of resurrection, but, Paul lays out a long list of eye witnesses testifying to seeing Jesus after His death and burial.
A. Christ appeared to Peter and the twelve who sojourned with and knew Him intimately. There was no mistaking his identity by them. Take into account as well, the women who met Him at the grave and reported His resurrection.
B. Christ appeared to over five hundred brothers during His time before ascension.
C. He appeared to James and the rest of the apostles at the Jerusalem church, and finally, to Paul himself.
This is the message, resurrection is essential to the Good News; and we must hold to that message without allowing anyone or anything dissuade us. For our salvation hinges on keeping faith with that message.
It was essential that Christ should shed His blood and die for our sins. However, it was only through His resurrection we are justified and given hope for future life ourselves.
The writer of Hebrews 9:12, (Living Bible) informs, “and once for all took blood into that inner room, the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled it on the mercy seat; but it was not the blood of goats and calves. No, he took his own blood, and with it he, himself, made sure of our eternal salvation”.
Further, although this evidence is conclusive, Paul engages in some deductive reasoning. He proposes, if we cannot see resurrection is essential to the Good News, our faith is become of no effect.
If there is no resurrection, then Christ is dead and still in the grave. And all our faith is based on something that is not true. Not only that, but every eyewitness, preacher, apostle and prophet claiming resurrection is a liar.
In addition, if Christ is not resurrected, every Christian is still in sin because atonement has not been made. Furthermore, we have no hope for life beyond this life, therefore, we may as well eat, drink and be merry.
On the other hand, why would men and women suffer, undergo persecution and die for something they know is not true? Why would they continue to proclaim a Good News if it is only bad news? Simple, because they are sure Christ is now risen from the dead. And resurrection is essential to the Good News.
My friends, have you heard the joyful sound of resurrection life in your heart today? Do you know for yourself in human life we all died; but in the human life of God in Christ Jesus we are made alive, if we keep faith in Him?
Have you met the risen Savior? Is He in your heart today? Do you know that He is living whatever men may say? I don’t know about you today, but I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, and just the time I need Him, He’s always near.
Christ Jesus lives, He lives, He lives within my heart. His message of life remains in my heart; therefore, it is laid upon me a necessity to tell men, women, boys, and girls resurrection is essential to the Good News; for through that word, they lay hold on abundant and eternal life.