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. 1 Corinthians 15:13-17 (NIV)
The Greek Orthodox Church has a wonderful Easter ceremony. At a midnight service the priests march around the church three times in search of the body of Christ. Then they re-enter the church and cry out, “Christ is risen,” and the people exclaim with fervour and adoration, “He is risen indeed!”
That’s the good news of Easter. Jesus isn’t dead, He’s alive. “He is risen indeed!”
The resurrection of Christ and the Christian faith, stand or fall together. The one can’t be true without the other. Either Christianity is false and misleading, or it is true, relevant, and worthy of our allegiance. There can be no middle ground. If Christ wasn’t raised from the dead, Christianity is worthless! But if Christ was raised from the dead then Christianity is irrevocable, irrefutable and indispensable (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:13-17).
Many people are hard pressed to understand this emphasis. Most religions are based upon a theological dictum or ideology. But not Christianity. For Christians everything stands or falls on the historical veracity of Christ’s resurrection. It gets down to whether or not Christ conquered death. Christians risk everything on this one thing.
And there’s the rub. Christianity is either a leap in the dark, an irrational credulity and an ignorant faith, or it’s a belief consistent with historical facts and the testimony of reliable witnesses.
That’s something you can’t ignore. It demands a verdict. Did Christ rise from the dead or is it all a hoax? Is Christianity based on facts or fable? Is the resurrection a reality or a fantasy? In short, did Christ really show himself to people and give “many convincing proofs that he was alive?” Acts 1:3.
Now be careful how you answer. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t reject Christ because of your philosophical, anti-supernatural, or scientific outlook. Truth will only be revealed if you examine the historical evidence for the resurrection. After all, the Christian faith isn’t founded on a philosophy or a scientific premise, it claims to be founded on experiences in the factual realm.
So carefully check out the witnesses, go over the burial procedures, confirm or disprove the reports of Jesus being alive and the tomb empty, consider every possible explanation, peruse other corroborative evidence, and then draw an appropriate conclusion. For as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:16, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”