Many people today, even professing Christians, wake up Easter morning and think, "Well, if Jesus did rise from the dead, so what?"
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-22. People who have this kind of response have not understood the power of Jesus' resurrection and what it means for our lives here and eternally. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, His crucifixion is nothing but martyrdom. Without the resurrection, the death of Jesus leaves us helpless, hopeless, and trapped in despair. But that is not the true Christian faith.
Good Friday is only good because of Easter Sunday, and Easter is only a celebration because of the price paid on Good Friday.
Our God is full of grace, mercy, and love. He sent His Son to die to pay the price for our sin—to make an offering once for all to secure our salvation by the shedding of His blood (see Hebrews 9:12-15). At the same time, the apostle Paul wrote, "[I]f Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . . you are still in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).
We can come near to the throne of God because Jesus opened His eyes on Easter morning and walked out of the grave, His heart beating, His lungs breathing. He defeated the power of sin and death, finally and forever. And through Him, we have the victory: "in Christ all will be made alive" (v. 22).
The cross and the empty tomb go together. They cannot be separated. For it was by His crucifixion that Jesus paid for the sin of every person who would come to Him, believe in Him, surrender to Him, live under His lordship, and receive Him as Savior. But it is by His resurrection that He gives us power to defeat sin, guilt, and the grave.
The crucifixion and the resurrection are two sides of a coin. If you split that coin, it is no longer legal tender. It doesn't work. If you try to take the resurrection away from the cross, it doesn't work either. Good Friday is only good because of Easter Sunday, and Easter is only a celebration because of the price paid on Good Friday. For, through Christ's atoning sacrifice and resurrection power, we will be changed: "When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory'" (1 Corinthians 15:54).
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the power of the resurrection to give me true and everlasting life. I praise You for Your mercy and love displayed on that first Easter. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:19-20).