The resurrection of Jesus is the central issue on which Christianity rests. Without it our faith is “useless.”
Peter declared this when he vehemently affirmed, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
John, near the end of his life earnestly assures his hearers, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.”
The apostle Paul likewise made the historicity of the resurrection the defining issue for Christianity when he wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.”
If Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead then Christianity is useless.
This story was not easy to believe even for the disciples themselves. The gospels tell us that Jesus disciples were crippled with disillusionment after His death and burial. Piecing together the different perspectives of the four gospels we get a vivid picture of the confusion and disbelief that characterised the disciples response. As Jesus followers were laying low from the authorities, various reports filtered back from various people. Their skepticism was eventually dispelled only when Jesus himself appeared among them together in the upper room where they were hiding out.
There have been a number of books written by people who were skeptics and critics of Christianity, whose purpose was to debunk the myth of the resurrection. As the facts were researched and the various arguments were explored, the inescapable conclusion became more and more compelling. Each of these authors eventually came to same conclusion. They ended up writing books which outline the way overwhelming evidence supporting the resurrection led them to faith.
The reason the resurrection is so important is threefold.
  • It proves that Jesus death is sufficient for our salvation. The fact that the one who carried our guilt for us to the cross was raised from the dead shows that His work on our behalf is accepted by God.
  • It shows that Jesus is Lord of both life and death itself. He has eternal life and he has the authority to give it to us. At the same time he has the authority to judge us and our eternal destiny is in his hands.
  • It also assures us that he has the power to raise us from the spiritual death that sin has brought to our souls. The spiritual lifelessness that is the result of our sin can be cured. That we can be raised with Christ’s own resurrected life to live lives free not just from sin’s condemnation but from its day to day, moment by moment control.