If Jesus Was Not Raised
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. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. – 1 Corinthians 15:14-19
I got a little visit, last week. Two men dressed nicely who wanted to talk about happiness. They were Jehovah Witnesses. Often we have to go out to evangelize…sometimes God sends them to our door. 😉 So, I talked with them for a while.
They started talking about whether people are happy, today, and were pointing to various passages of the bible about happiness. Eventually, I brought up Jesus. (seems like something that should come up in a discussion about the Bible and happiness)
They said, “Well sure, Jesus is important. That’s why we just had a memorial for His death.
I asked, “What about His resurrection? Don’t you think that’s important, too?”
They said, “Jesus talked about how He would die and told the faithful 11 (disciples) about the importance of following His ways.”
I said, “Yes, Jesus death was important. His death was an atonement for our sins; however, His resurrection is every bit as important. It shows God accepted Jesus sacrifice. It was Christ’s victory over death and hell. It is our hope to be raised with Him. Without the resurrection, the rest is in vain.” Then I pointed them to the passage above from 1 Corinthians.
They handed me a pamphlet and left.
Jehovah Witnesses don’t celebrate Easter. They don’t believe Jesus was raised physically (only spiritually) or that Jesus and the Father are one (Trinity). They look solely to the cross and the Law of God, totally missing the resurrection and the Gospel.
Sometimes, however, Christians, too, can get a little too focused on the cross and forget about the importance of the resurrection. We say we are forgiven because Jesus died on the cross…(and?). We say Jesus’s death brings salvation to the world…(His death and?) The resurrection is key. In 1 Corinthians we are told that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then we are still in our sins, our faith is futile, and we are to be pitied above all people. That’s big! Put another way, because of Jesus resurrection we know our sins are forgiven, our faith is not in vain, and our hope is true.
He is Risen!
I think it would be good to remember and proclaim the resurrection more along with Christ’s death on the cross. We are forgiven because Jesus died for on the cross and rose from the dead. Jesus’ death and resurrection bring salvation to the world. That’s why we tend to have crosses that do not have Jesus on them. It reminds us not only that He died, but that He is no longer on that cross. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
In Christ (who died and rose from the dead),