This past weekend as I was participating in all the family rituals that go along with the Easter holiday, a question kept popping up in my head:
What if there had been no Resurrection?
I mean if Jesus had died on the cross, but never rose up again, it would change everything. As I continued to ponder this question, I started brainstorming some ideas of how things would be so different. Here are some of the ideas I came up with:
Jesus would have been considered just another dead prophet. He would have been a good man, lying in a cold tomb. He certainly would not have been considered the Son of God.
Funerals would be very different. People would say things like, “I hope the departed is with God, but sadly, we don’t know.” The reality is that every one of us sins so if Jesus had not paid the price for our sins, every one of us would go to hell upon our earthly death.
There would be no Easter. We’d still be celebrating Passover, heralding Moses’s deliverance of the Jews through the parted Red Sea would be the greatest miracle of all time.
There would be no Good Friday. Jesus would have just been another man who was crucified and we would not have a day devoted to His death. He would not be anyone special.
Forget Christmas. The birth of just another prophet would make no difference and would have no special meeting. We would not celebrate Jesus’ birth just like we do not celebrate the birth of Elijah or Isaiah.
We would go though life fearing death. Our lives would be like getting on a flight with no idea where it was taking you for the rest of eternity. Some place hot and miserable? Or maybe it’ll be pleasant. We’d have no assurance.
We would live in a world with almost no hope. We would not have eternal life or the sense that bad things would pass and get better if we knew we were not going to heaven. The world would be a pretty scary place.
The book of 1 Corinthians has a good chunk to say about this very thing. I thought it was pretty interesting the words that Paul wrote.
1 Corinthians 15:12-34 (NLT)
The Resurrection of the Dead
12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
21 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.
24 After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. 25 For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. 26 And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) 28 Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.
29 If the dead will not be raised, what point is there in people being baptized for those who are dead? Why do it unless the dead will someday rise again?
30 And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? 31 For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. 32 And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus—if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” 33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.
Fortunately, there was a resurrection and because their was, we can all have a sense of hope knowing that if we believe in Jesus, all our sins will be forgiven and we will get to spend eternity with God in heaven. The Resurrection changes the way we celebrate life and anticipate death without fear. Without it, we would all be lost souls just wandering around for just the blink of an eye and then we would be gone. The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes all the difference in the world.