From the Word
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man also has come the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
The world scoffs at the first sentence of this text. How can Paul claim that the resurrection of Jesus is a fact? Facts are supposed to be verifiable. How dare Christians claim that articles of faith are facts?
For Paul the answer is simple; he saw the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus. What is an article of faith for us was an observed fact for Paul. The same is true for the other apostles as well. What we believe by faith, they saw.
Many in Christianity tell us that it isn’t important that we believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus, as long as there is some sort of spiritual renewal in us. Paul slams the door on such a notion in this text. The resurrection of Jesus was the sign Jesus gave over and over again to confirm that He is who He said He is and to validate His promises. If He didn’t rise, then He is not who He said He is and His promises are not true. This is the reason for Paul’s discussion of the futility of the Christian message apart from the resurrection of Jesus.
What has His resurrection confirmed? Our sins are forgiven and we are children of God by grace through faith. As such we are heirs of the grace He gives us each day to confront the challenges of that day. We are also heirs of eternal life in heaven with Him. He has promised to be with us all the days, even to the end of this world’s age, and has confirmed it by rising from the dead. He has promised that no challenge will be too great, and has confirmed it by his resurrection. The list could go on and on and his resurrection confirms it all.
What does it mean to be an Easter Christian? It means that the promises in which we live are confirmed facts. They are confirmed by His resurrection, which is a fact witnessed by the Holy Spirit through those who saw Him, heard Him, and touched Him. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!