Does it really matter whether or not Jesus rose from the dead? I mean, really. Rising from the dead sounds like it probably happened right after the princess kissed the frog and turned him into a prince. Just a bit too fairy tale for this enlightened 21st century sophisticate, right?
The apostle Paul gives us a jaw-dropping answer to that very question:
“[I]f Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ…. [I]f Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 15, 17-19).
In short, if Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead on Easter Sunday, Christianity is a sham and you shouldn’t have anything to do with it. Preaching the message of Jesus (and therefore listening to it preached) is “in vain.” Your faith doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. You’re still stuck in your sins. All those Christians who have gone before you wasted their entire lives believing in Jesus, and then, to add insult to injury, when they died they perished anyway. We Christians are a very pitiful people if this whole resurrection thing didn’t really happen.
I guess you could say that whether or not Christ really rose from the dead is rather important. In fact, on it hinges the entire Christian faith. If it didn’t happen, find some other religion. Christianity isn’t worth your time. If it did happen, however, then the opposite is true. The message of Jesus is your only hope. It is the only true faith. It is a true testimony about real events. Your faith in Jesus is worthy of your life. Freedom from your sins is found here. Those Christians who have gone before you found eternal life the moment they closed their eyes in death. And we, today, are of all people most to be envied.
I can only speak for myself when I say that I believe this Jesus of Nazareth really did rise from the dead just like the four Gospels say. I believe he’s ruling and reining in heaven at the right hand of the Father right now in this very moment. Whatever you choose to believe, you cannot sit on the fence on this one. As a Christian you must nail this one down because if not, you’re wasting your time.
And if you do believe it—believe it as in bank your life on it and rest in it and cling to it with all your might—then what a hope is yours. Happy Easter.