The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead really is the cornerstone of the Christian faith and what truly sets Jesus apart as unique. Christianity stands or falls on the reality of the resurrection. Once again, I’m compelled to say that it’s hard to believe there are so-called theologians who deny the resurrection but still hold to some semblance of the Christian faith.
Paul was not that stupid. He said that if Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is worthless (See 1 Corinthians 15:12–19). In other words, Paul was saying if Christ did not rise, he wouldn’t be a Christian. It’s funny. These guys say, “It doesn’t matter whether there is a resurrection or not. In fact, there wasn’t one. Christianity doesn’t need the resurrection.” I’ll stand with Paul over the modern theologians any day! I think his reasoning was much more logical.
It Is Historical
Christianity is the only religion founded upon the literal, historical resurrection of its founder. The resurrection is historical in that it happened at a verifiable time and date in history. It’s literal in that Jesus actually arose bodily. Whenever the Bible talks about resurrection, it always means the physical body. So Jesus is unique in terms of the resurrection. Buddha is dead; the Hindu deities never really existed, much less died and rose again; and Muhammad, of course, remains dead to this day!
Put yourself in God’s shoes for a moment. If you were God and you wanted the entire world to know how to recognize the One you sent to save them, what would you do? Well, you might ask yourself this question: What is the one thing that all people have in common regardless of race, creed, culture, economic status, etc.? The answer would have to be something that is universally experienced by all people. What is that one thing? Death! All people die. Here’s God’s plan, “I’ll distinguish My Christ by raising Him from the dead.” Brilliant! Only God could have devised that kind of plan.
Back From the Dead
The reality is: when you die, you stay dead. The statistics don’t lie: one out of every one person dies, and everyone who dies stays dead. That’s a fact! But if one would come back from the dead, that person would stand above all others as the undisputed champion and victor over man’s greatest enemy.
Jesus is unique. He is the only one who has ever come back from the dead by His own will and power. He boldly proclaimed, “I lay My life down, and I have power to take it up again” (John 10:18). I think that sometimes we can get so familiar with certain truths that we lose sight of their magnitude. We hear so often about Jesus rising from the dead that it kind of goes in one ear and out the other, and we don’t realize the utter profundity of the matter. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most astounding event in human history!
Think of all the great men and women who lived in the past. We read about them, but they are all dead. They all came and went, never to return. As great as they might have been in life, they breathed their last breath and were gone. Nothing can be done to bring them back to life. It’s when we realize the finality of death, and how it cannot be undone, that we stand in awe of the one who said, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18).