Why the Resurrection Claim Matters
"But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay."-Matthew 28:5-7
"And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain."-1 Corinthians 15:14
"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important."-C.S. Lewis
As we approach Easter, we take time to think carefully about the remarkable claim made that Sunday morning over 2,000 years ago: 'He has risen!' The claim that Jesus rose from the dead is central to the Christian faith. That claim is either true or it is not true. It cannot be true for one person and not true for another. It is either a real, historical event, or it is a lie.
There is no middle ground.
Just as there is no middle ground when it comes to Jesus Himself. He made spectacular claims about Himself. Among the many claims He made about Himself that are astounding would be:
That He is the only way to have a right relationship with God the Father (John 14:6)
That He is able to forgive sin (Matthew 9:6)
That He is one with the Father (John 10:22)
That He is God (John 8:58)
That He is God's Son (John 3:16)
These are just a few of the remarkable statements Jesus makes about Himself. They are either true, or not true. They cannot be true for some people and not true for others.
Just as the resurrection claim is either true or it is not true.
If Jesus rose from the dead, and the evidence for that is remarkable, then He is absolutely who He claimed to be. And, if Jesus is who He claimed to be, then He is worthy of all praise, glory and honor.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then all He said about Himself is not true. He was either a lunatic or a liar. He is of no importance.
Again, there is no middle ground here. This is problematic for our culture. Our culture wants to believe there is a third way to relate to Jesus: however one would prefer to interpet Him. This is not an option, however, as Jesus was a real, historical figure who made really incredible claims about Himself, and, the gospel writers make this amazing claim that Jesus rose from the grave!
This is where cultural Christianity runs into great trouble. Cultural Christians believe that as long as a person 'believes in Jesus,' (meaning intellectual ascent to basic theological propositions),everything is just fine. In this view, one can 'believe in Jesus,' and go about life as one pleases. Christianity is reduced to 'praying the prayer' and 'going to church when you can,' and 'trying to be a nice person until Jesus takes you to heaven.'
This is not the gospel. This is not Jesus. This is not the response to the claims of a Risen King!
Christ and the resurrection force us to make a decision: we either go all in or we do not trust Him at all. We either take up our cross and follow Him or we reject Him. We either go to Him on that narrow path that leads to salvation, or we walk away from Him on the broad road that leads to destruction.
Simply put, if Jesus is who He said He is and did what He said He would do (rise from the dead), then He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and the only fitting response is to surrender our lives to Him. He is both Savior and Lord. He is our King. If Jesus is who He said He is and did what He said He would do, responding to Him halfheartedly or in some casual manner is an incomprehensible thing to do.
Responding to Jesus is either the most important thing you will do in this life, or it is of no consequence at all.
As a Christian who believes in the Risen King, I encourage you to consider His claims, and the claim of His resurrection, and to surrender your life to Him. He offers salvation as a free gift. He offers a meaningful life now and eternal life with Him. His grace is indeed, amazing. It is not, however, cheap...He does demand that we take up our crosses and follow Him. As King, He is worthy of that. As God the Son, He can demand that.
I hope you will worship with us this weekend as we consider who Jesus is, what He did and the claims of Christianity. Our Good Friday service begins at 6:00 p.m.. Our Easter Celebration Service begins Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m.. You can worship with us in person or via live-stream.
Grace to You,
More in Pastor's Blog
December 27, 20222023: Growing and Standing Strong in a Brave New World
November 29, 2022Good News for a Broken World
September 13, 2022God's Goodness to Stonebridge Baptist Church