Featured Article from the March/April 2021 emphas!s Newsletter
Senior Pastor Aaron Rayburn
The resurrection is so intrinsic to the Christian faith, the Apostle Paul wrote that if the resurrection did not take place – our faith is in vain and we are pitiful people (1 Corinthians 13 – 19):
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
These are staggering statements. The reliability of the New Testament, the viability of Jesus’ claims, and the subsistence of the church relies on the historical trustworthiness of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. Just let that sink in.
Because of the resurrection’s inherent significance, it has been the most disparaged and attacked claim of the New Testament (yea, the whole Bible). If you disprove the resurrection – you destroy the religion. Therefore, there has been numerous attempts to discredit the resurrection historically, textually, and scientifically. In short, all challenges have fallen short.
No critical theory or natural explanation has been able to explain the transformation the disciples (from cowardice to courageousness), the textual dependability, the eyewitness testimony, and etc. The Apostle Paul was one of the transformed witnesses of the resurrected Christ; therefore, in 1 Corinthians 15 he concluded,
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born… Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.
Because we have been risen to a new life in Christ (Colossians 3.1), we, along with Paul, can proclaim and sing, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Is there a greater hope? Is there a greater peace? Is there a greater joy? Nope! Listen to what our brother Peter proclaimed…
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (1 Peter 1.3)
In times like these, we need to take fresh hope and courage in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Amen and amen! I know that this is a daily reality, but I am so looking forward to Resurrection Sunday 2021! I am praying that we will all be together on April 4. Either way, we are already united through our Lord’s resurrection! Hallelujah!