Our celebration of Resurrection Sunday deepens our Christian faith. Indeed, Resurrection Sunday is what made the Christian faith to be the Christian faith. That's why Paul, who personally encountered the risen Christ, could tell us candidly, "[I]f Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:14). Without the resurrection of Christ, the Christian faith would be a meaningless, dead religion. Without the resurrection of Christ, the faith of 2.5 billion people around the world would be without hope. But we have great reason to hope.
Through His resurrection, Jesus assures us of a place in heaven with Him.
THE POWER OF THE CROSS AND THE EMPTY TOMB
The coming of Jesus from heaven, His crucifixion, and His resurrection were prophesied hundreds of years before His birth. And from cover to cover, the Bible tells us that the cross and the empty tomb are inseparable from God's way of salvation. It is only through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross that we who repent are justified before God. It is only through Christ's resurrection that we have victory over sin, guilt, and death.
Through His crucifixion, Christ took the punishment of our sin—the punishment we deserve—on His body. But through His resurrection, He assures us of a place in heaven with Him. Through His crucifixion, God the Son reconciled us to God the Father. But through His resurrection, Jesus drew us near to Him to become His family, children, and brothers. Through His crucifixion, Christ forgave us. But through His resurrection, Christ appoints believers to be judges of the entire world. Through His crucifixion, Jesus washed and cleansed us from all our sin and guilt. But through His resurrection, He qualified us to reign with Him forever.
Why is this vitally important for us to understand? The crucifixion and the resurrection are absolutely inseparable. They are like one coin—if you split the sides, the coin is no longer effective. The historical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the core of the Christian faith. It is the only hope we have to escape the just judgment of God upon our lives because the resurrected-from-the-dead Christ is the only one who can give assurance of eternal life to everyone who believes. It is Christ's empty tomb that gives us hope to live today. Without the empty tomb, Christianity and Christians are helpless and powerless.
DEATH IS DEFEATED IN CHRIST ALONE
Throughout history, man has tried to deal with death. It is a stubborn, tough, and vicious enemy for all humanity. So civilizations have tried to cope with it in various ways. The ancient Egyptians tried to preserve bodies and prepare them with treasures for an afterlife, but the only beneficiaries of these treasures were the thieves who broke into the tombs to steal them. Some in Asia came up with the notion of reincarnation and the promise of a new life as a higher being if one lived well in this life. Some in the West today resort to cryonic preservation (freezing the body) in the hope that science will one day discover the secret to eternal life and bring them back from the dead. All these efforts to deal with death are useless, but they do reveal how hungry man is to live forever. Praise God, He has made a way!God the Father raised up Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day as the only power capable of defeating the hopeless tyranny of death, just as our Savior said, "Because I live, you also will live" (John 14:19). Jesus is the only one who has defeated death. He is the only one who has the power to destroy it, to banish the fear of it. Because He lives, Christ's words give us a sure hope; He promised, "I am the resurrection and the life," and, "I am going there to prepare a place for you" (John 11:25 and 14:2, respectively). Christ has opened the doors of eternity to everyone who trusts Him as the only, personal Savior of their life.
THE BEST NEWS IN A WORLD OF BAD NEWS
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most beautiful news you could hear in your life. It outweighs all the bad news you hear in the world. It gives you peace here and for eternity. It fills you with the assurance of eternal life so that you can know that at the moment you close your eyes in death, you will be in the presence of Christ in heaven. This gives us an irrepressible joy here and now and into eternity, for we can have absolute certainty that we will be with our Lord forever.
If you die today, are you confident that you will be with Jesus Christ in eternity? Heaven and eternity belong to Jesus, and without a relationship with Him, there will be no way for you to enter His heavenly Kingdom. If your answer is "Yes, I will be with Christ; I will be in heaven," then I ask you, "On what basis?" Will you say, "I have done some good deeds," or, "I hope my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds"? Neither will let you in. God's Word says that not one of us is worthy of entering heaven. Our only hope is faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ, who alone can grant you a place in His Kingdom. Only leaning on and believing in the righteousness of Jesus, who died for you, will grant you entry into heaven. After all, He is the only one—fully God and fully man—who lived on this earth with no sin. Only a sinless Savior can stand and mediate between us and God the Father.
It is my prayer that you say today, "O Lord, come and forgive my sin!" For, only through the cross and the resurrection of Christ can you be saved. When you invite Jesus into your heart, He will come and dwell in you by the Holy Spirit. Today, you can experience the joy of the forgiveness of all your sins—past, present, and future. Today, you can experience the peace of God that surpasses understanding. Today, you can be assured that you have eternal life in Christ. Don't miss this opportunity today to come and meet with Jesus the Savior.