How important is the resurrection?

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By Pastor Chuck McCullough


“Just how important is ‘the resurrection’? Isn’t the important thing just that people believe in Jesus and love others like He loved?”—Rob

Over the centuries, the importance of an historical, bodily resurrection has been downplayed by numerous schools of thought. Some have dismissed as myth or wishful thinking or outright fraud the early Christian declaration of a resurrection event. Others have expressed doubt concerning the veracity of the biblical record. Some critics, both within Christianity and without, have promoted the idea that indeed the historical event is not necessary; that is, one merely needs to possess the kind of hopeful faith that would exist had a resurrection actually occurred. 

We cannot point to an empty tomb today and say it is empirical proof of a resurrection. We can say, however, that “something” happened in time (2,000 years ago) and space (Jerusalem), which was witnessed and written down by those who saw it. “Something” happened which brought about dramatic, powerful change in the lives of those eyewitnesses. “Something” happened which birthed and shaped a worldwide movement. The Bible, written by the people who were there, declared to their death that “something” was the rising of Jesus from the dead. The crux of the gospel is that faith did not create the resurrection; the resurrection of Jesus created the faith (Acts 1:3).

How important is the resurrection? The whole of Christianity hangs on it (I Cor. 15:1-4, 12-19). If Jesus is dead, His entire message is negated and salvation is not possible (Rom. 10:9-10). If He is not alive, then the defeat of death and eternal life are empty promises (I Cor. 15:54; I Pet. 1:3-5, 18-21). Plainly put, the present activity of Christ is neither possible nor rational apart from His resurrection (Acts 17:30-32; Rom. 8:34; Col. 2:9-15; 3:4; Heb. 7:23-25; I Jn. 2:1).