Easter Joy.

” And if 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, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” 1 Cor 15: 14-17

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he addresses an issue that some Corinthians are stumbling over. Some of the Corinthians did not believe that Jesus indeed rose from the dead. However, they believed generally that his followers would eventually be raised at the second coming. Paul states that they cannot believe one without the other, and ” that those who deny the physical and bodily resurrection of believers also deny the bodily resurrection of Christ, even if they claim the latter is true.” (ESV study Bible notes)

If indeed Christ had not raised from the dead, then our faith, as Paul writes, is “futile” and as verse 19 states, “…we are of all people most to be pitied.”

“The proof that Christ’s death was an effective substitutionary sacrifice for sins (v: 3, 11:24-25) lies in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (see also Rom. 4:25) If in fact Christ has not been raised, then his dead did not pay for sin, and there is no hope for life with God in heaven (see 1 Cor. 15:18-19)” (ESV study notes)

So, basically, without Christ’s resurrection (AKA Easter celebration), Christianity is a load of crap. We are to be pitied above all men because, basically, we’re crazy. We believe that a really great guy who died a terrible death to save our sins is God. But, if he didn’t raise from the dead, he would just be a man. He would just be a man just like every other “religious leader” out there that people bow down to and worship. He was just some guy.

But, Jesus was raised from the dead.

You ask, “Well, how do you know?”, ” How can you be so sure?”

It’s truth to me. I could rebuttal accusations all day long (well, at least try to) and it may always be falsity to you. Just like I don’t have a formula that I can show you where X + Y= God’s existence, if your heart is hardened to the truth, then no matter what I say, it’ll always be lies to you.  All I can do is speak truth into your life and pray that the Lord will reveal to you his beauty and his power and his salvation for mankind through his death and, most importantly, his resurrection.

But, instead of rebuttals, I’m going to ask you some questions. (Courtesy of Mark Driscoll). I also highly recommend going onto itunes and downloading Mark Driscoll’s sermons from his Doctrine series “God dies” and “God saves”.

If Jesus is dead, how can we account for his own mother & brothers worshiping him as God?

I don’t know about you, but, if my brother told me he was God, I wouldn’t be too apt to believing him. James, his brother, author of the book of James, didn’t believe him…until the resurrection.

If Jesus is dead, how can we explain the disciples suffering & dying brutal deaths for Jesus without ONE recanting of his resurrection?

These guys were not the bravest macho men. If you read the gospels, this fact becomes more evident. There was nothing special about them. The night of Jesus’ arrest, they fled and HID. When asked if he knew Jesus/was one of his followers, Peter denied it THREE times.

So, why was Peter willing to spend his entire life preaching the Gospel, being persecuted, and eventually being murdered upside down on a cross?

John was boiled alive, but, didn’t die.

Would you be willing to go lose everything and go through that when you KNEW that Jesus was just dead in the ground? I wouldn’t.

If Jesus is dead, how do we explain the conversion of his most bitter enemies like Saul who became Paul?

Saul hated Christians. He murdered countless numbers of them. Then, he became one of the most, if not the most, influential evangelists, church starters, Gospel preaching, men in Christianity’s history. He was  persecuted, beaten, put in prison on countless occasions, and was eventually martyred. All for a lie, right?

If Jesus is dead, how can we account for the fact that his followers remained loyal to him even after his death? http://bit.ly/a9pEi7

Usually when you lie about something, it’s for your own personal gain or to protect yourself from something. Why would these people lie SO THAT they could be thrown to lions and gladiators, rejected by friends and family and culture, and murdered ruthlessly? I mean, that’s just stupid. They gained nothing from this world in doing this. Nothing. So, why?

If Jesus is dead, how can we explain why early Christians stopped worshiping on the Sat Sabbath & instead changed to Sun because Jesus rose?

Most early Christians would have been die-hard Jews. Jews who had been living by the Law their entire lives. So, why would they suddenly go against that Law and change their Sabbath?

If Jesus is dead, how can we explain why the first Christians starting practicing baptism to show death, burial, & resurrection?

If Jesus is dead, why do we not know where he is buried as dozens of “holy men” had enshrined tombs in that day?

Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15: 6), and a lot of them were still alive during Paul’s time and for some time after. Paul was like, “Hey, if you don’t believe me, ask them. They SAW him.”

Jesus rose from the grave. He conquered sin and death and is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. He is Lord and Savior of all. He loves you more than you’ll ever know. He died so you didn’t have to. He bore the wrath of God against sin so you didn’t have to. He destroyed all the obstacles that kept us from God so, that we can savor and worship God forever and live for eternity with him!

If Jesus did not raise, then our faith is futile and we are still dead in our sins. Praise God that this is not so!

Happy Easter, everyone.

Rejoice and be glad in what the Lord has done for us. While we were STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us.  We did nothing to make him do this. He just loves us that much.

~Shara

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One thought on “Easter Joy.

  1. shara,

    i wanted to let you know how thankful i am for your blog. i never really got a chance to know you while we were in school together, so i’m sorry if this sounds creepy. but i wanted to let you know that i have been very encouraged by your words. thank you.

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