Around the world billions of people celebrate Easter. In any given year it is the most celebrated event of the year. In fact, Easter is the most celebrated event in the history of mankind. We raise the question, "Why is Easter so important?" To do so is to ask in reality "Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ so important?" because that is what Easter is all about.

     This must have been what the apostle Paul was thinking about when he wrote,     

     "Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen, and if Christ is not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.  Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up---if in fact the dead do not rise.  For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.  And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!  Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable."  1st Corinthians 15:12-19.

     Paul is saying that if Christ didn’t rise from the dead then all preaching is worthless; all faith in God is worthless; gospel preachers are liars and all mankind is in the hopeless grip of sin. It follows that all the money spent on building church buildings and sending missionaries to other nations has been wasted and all those millions of martyrs who have been put to death because they were Christian have died in vain.

     However, Paul quickly adds, "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep." 1st Corinthians 15:20. Here, Paul is saying the resurrection of Christ has been so completely confirmed by the facts that it is beyond question. He had previously given a summation of those witnesses who had given a lifetime of public record that they had personally seen and heard Jesus after He had risen from the dead:

  • "Cephas" – who we know as Peter
  • "the twelve" – original apostles
  • "more than five hundred brethren at one time" – His disciples in Galilee
  • "James" – who many Bible scholars believe was a previous unbelieving step brother of Jesus (See John 7:3-5)
  • Last of all, "Paul" – on the road to Damascus.

     Paul is saying that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity and the evidence for it is irrefutable. A Gallup survey revealed that 89% of Americans accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a historical fact. When we consider all the savage attacks against Christ from many sources this testifies how powerful the evidence is that Christ rose from the dead. Carefully read 1st Corinthians 15 again and you will find that Paul’s argument is that the indisputable evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that all mankind shall rise again.

     So, let’s be more specific. Since Jesus Christ rose from the dead, why is that important to me?

Christ’s Resurrection Validates What He Taught Is True

Jesus taught that His works were the most important validation of what He taught.
"If I do not the works of
My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."   John 10:37, 38 (see also John 5:36).

Jesus taught that He would die, be buried, and rise again,
     During His first public ministry in the Jerusalem
Temple He announced, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." John 2:19 The Jewish leaders thought He meant the temple building, but John explains, "…He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered…" John 3:21, 22. On a later visit Jesus stated, "…no sign will be given to it (this generation) except the sign of the prophet Jonah; for as Jonah was three day s and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 10:39, 40. It was only after Peter expressed his belief that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the living God" that Jesus began to speak plainly. "From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day." Matthew 16:16, and  21. Jesus could not have said it more plainly in human language. He would repeat this statement often. (Matthew 17:9, 22, 23; 20:18, 19). When He rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples, they never again doubted that what He taught them was true. Neither should we.

Jesus taught that He came into the world to save the lost.
     To Nicodemus, the renowned teacher of Mosaic law, Jesus revealed, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17. When Jesus was criticized for going home with Zaccheus, a collector of taxes for Rome, He replied, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:9, 10. Those who think of Jesus only as a great teacher, example or martyr are short of the mark. He was all those things but by His own words He taught that His pre-eminent purpose for coming into the world was to save the lost. This should be wonderful news to anyone who realizes they have sinned in the eyes of God. No matter how great their sins they are the very ones Jesus came into the world to save.

Jesus taught that He would redeem the lost from the curse of the law by receiving the punishment for their sins upon a cross.
     To Nicodemus Jesus also said, "     And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him  should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:14, 15. That serpent Moses lifted up was a symbol of judgment. Jesus was saying that He must be lifted up and receive the judgment for the sins of mankind to make it possible for lost sinners to receive eternal life. In the next verse (John 3:16) Jesus said His sacrifice for our sins on the cross would demonstrate how great God's love is for the worst of sinners.

Jesus taught that He came to make it possible for the saved to have abundant life.
     Jesus said, "The thief  does not come except to steal, and to  kill, and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and that they may  have it more abundantly," John 10:10.

     Most people are not living; they are just existing. They get up in the morning; go to work, come home; watch TV; go to bed; get up in the morning; go to work…. To this world of people Jesus says, "I came that you might have life and have it abundantly."

     A lot of people think Jesus said, "I came that you might have religion and that it might make you miserable." They feel that if they really give their life to God He will make them into a religious kook. Jesus said that He came so that we could have abundant life…life to the fullest, life that is satisfying and meaningful.

HIS Resurrection Demonstrates The Power By Which His Purposes Are Accomplished
     "Christ Jesus…declared with power to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead." Romans 1:1, 4.

     We live in a day when there is a great emphasis on power. Many best selling books deal with power, --how to get it, keep it, use it. We learn to dress for power; eat a power lunch, power walk, and even take a power nap. Out in California they found it a catastrophe when there's not enough electric power.

     We need to stop and consider what incredibly great power was involved in raising Jesus from the dead. His body was brutalized. His blood was gone. He had not taken a breath of air in three days. Then suddenly, He was alive again. He could appear or disappear at will, --even passing through walls. He could make Himself recognizable or unrecognizable. He could be seen, touched, heard, and even eat food, --yet He could ascend from off the earth all the way back to His Father's throne in the highest heaven. Just before He left this earth He said, "All power (or authority) has been given to Me in heaven and earth." Matthew 28:19.

     How great is the power Jesus possesses. Consider this prayer of Paul for the Christians of Ephesus, "I I pray that…you may know…what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe....which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places."  Ephesians 1:18-20.

     Have you ever felt the need of power…to conquer a bad habit…to straighten out a relationship gone sour…to finish an enormous task… to keep your marriage happy and romantic…to successfully raise your children…to be a positive and productive Christian? Take courage that the incredible power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you. The Apostle Paul was talking about this power in his life when he said, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. The sense of the verse is that Paul was able to endure all difficulties; overcome all obstacles and accomplish all tasks by the power of Christ. That power is available to every believer to experience abundant life in Christ. It is continuously claimed by faith.

Christ's Resurrection Substantiates That His Promises May Still Be Claimed Today.

     Jesus made some truly amazing promises. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it," John 14:14. I have struggled with this verse and have come to the conclusion that 1) It does not mean that Jesus will give me anything I ask just because I tack on to the end of my prayer "I ask this in Jesus' name", and 2) It does mean that if what I am asking is what He would ask if He were in my shoes at this point in time He will do it. So how do I know what he would ask? I know that if I ask something He's already promised to answer, then He will do it.

If I'm lost I know He will answer my prayer asking Him to save me. He promised "…the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." John 6:37

If I am struggling with temptation I know He will hear my prayer for help. "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and may find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15, 16.

If I have physical, financial, or material needs I have the promise that "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

If I need guidance I have His promise that the Spirit of truth will guide me into all truth. John 16:13

If I need power to bear witness for Christ I have His promise that I shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon me. Acts 1:8

     In all there are 7000 promises in the Bible and I am promised "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes…" 2nd Corinthians 1:20

     And so I summarize: Christ's resurrection validates that what He taught is true; demonstrates the power by which He accomplishes His purposes and substantiates that His promises may still be claimed today.

Copyright © 2005 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted

    Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.