I discovered Josh McDowell’s post about the resurrection of Jesus. I paraphrased much of what he wrote and added my own thoughts but keep Mr. McDowell’s same major thoughts.

Does the resurrection of Jesus really matter? The answer is yes, it matters! If Jesus didn’t rise from the tomb, we have no foundation for our Christian faith. If He did not rise from death, then we have fallen victim to a gigantic lie and sham. We have believed a fairy tale. We have followed the Christian “bread crumbs” down a path that leads to nowhere and offers us no hope. We have followed just another self-deluded religious fanatic who thought he was God’s son in human flesh. As Paul comments, if Jesus is not resurrected than, “…we are of all men most to be pitied” [1 Corinthians 15:19].

What is meant by a resurrection? Bible scholar N.T. Wright explains, “The ancient world used the word and understood its meaning, even, if they believed it was possible or not. Resurrection was the idea that death could be reversed, undone, could (as it were) work backwards. It was a way of describing something everyone knew did not happen. Not even in myth was it permitted. It was accepted…throughout the ancient world that once people have gone by the road of death, they do not return. … “

McDowell comments, “For Wright to point out that “not even in myth was it permitted” emphasizes the uniqueness of the resurrection of Christ in an ancient world that accepted so many startling supernatural events in its stories. Wright points out various ancient cultures all knew what the word meant, but there was no consensus regarding its reality. Pagans, Jews, and Christians, all understood the Greek word “anastasis“ meant resurrection. Some Jews affirmed it as a long-term future hope; virtually all Christians claimed it had happened to Jesus and would happen to them in the future,” adds Wright.

The Old Testament prophets Elijha and Elisha resurrected several dead. The New Testament records Jesus, Peter, and Paul raised people from the dead. Yet none of these resurrections were like Christ’s resurrection. They lived out the remainder of their lives in the same flesh, frail, and feeble bodies they had at birth. They still became decrepit, diseased, and died again. However, Jesus was resurrected  with a completely transformed body. Although He was completely recognizable by His followers in His raised body, it had amazing abilities and powers. His new and gloriously recomposed body would never die again. There was no second death for Him. He now would live everlasting. The amazing benefit to us of his everlasting life is stated in Hebrews 7:25, “…He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

Why is Jesus’ resurrection so important to Christianity? It is important for this reason, if Jesus was only a human, who was a good spiritual and moral teacher, who died and was not resurrected, then nothing about our faith really matters. Christ’s empty tomb was necessary for the apostles and early Christians to understood the crucifixion and the burial events. Had Jesus’ body remained in the tomb, the early Christians would not have considered Jesus resurrected. They would not have believed his words that he was the Son of God. They would not have given their life to evangelize people to a dead “Messiah.”

The philosopher Douglas Groothuis remarks, “Of all the world’s religions Christianity alone purports to be based on the resurrection of its divine founder. No other religion or worldview makes such an audacious and consequential claim. … The resurrection of Jesus is at the center of the Christian worldview and Christian devotion. The Gospels do not end with the death of Jesus but speak of an empty tomb, of His appearances, and of a commission by the risen Jesus.”

What other worldwide religion claims their founder has risen from the dead? The stone of the Lord’s tomb was not rolled away by angelic power to let Jesus out. No! He who passed through grave cloths and walls, could also easily pass through rock. The stone was rolled away to let people of that time and for all time, to look in and see it was empty! No body laid on the bed of rock! As angels proclaimed to the women, “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying,” [Matthew 28:6]. Confucius’ tomb is still occupied. Buddha’s tomb is still occupied. Muhammad’s tomb is still occupied. But Jesus’ tomb is still unoccupied!

McDowell gives Mr. Pinchas Lapide, an orthodox Jew and Israeli historian view on the resurrection of Jesus.

“Without the experience of the resurrection, the crucifixion of Jesus would most likely have remained without consequences and forgotten, just as were the innumerable crucifixions of pious Jews which the Romans carried out before Jesus, during the lifetime of Jesus, and up until the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70….Thus the Christian faith stands and falls not with Golgotha, the infamous “place of the skull,” where thousands of Jesus’ brothers were murdered cruelly by Roman mercenaries, but with the experience “on the third day” after the crucifixion, an experience which was able to defuse, to refute, and even to make meaningful this death on the cross for the community of disciples.”

Paul asserts in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, and I will reaffirm with today’s message, without the resurrection, we are still in our sins, there is no forgiveness and  redemption for us, we have no hope, our faith is worthless, and there is nothing beyond this life once we have breathed our last breath.

However, because of His resurrection let us live a life that reflects our belief in a His resurrection and in our resurrection. Our body is not temporal and does not dissolve into dust upon death. It has an everlasting purpose – there is a resurrection coming for us – conduct yourselves like you believe it!

Let us raise the roof with heartfelt worship, especially today as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, who promises us a raised and glorified body! To Him be glory and praise forever by the church! — Tom