“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” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15).
What’s the big deal about the resurrection? Why does the bodily resurrection of Jesus matter so much? Why can’t we just go with all the great truths in the teachings of Jesus? Why must we insist on the resurrection of Jesus?
Why must we insist on the resurrection? Because Jesus said he would rise again.
Not metaphorically. Not symbolically. But in actual reality. He would physically die, be buried, descend into hell, to rise again on the third day.
Every gospel records Jesus telling his disciples multiple times that he is going to Jerusalem to die. “He (Jesus) then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this” (Mark 8:31-32).
Tim Keller writes, “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”
If Jesus rose from the dead, he is the Messiah, the Christ, the anointed One prophesied in the Old Testament. He is the one who dies for the sins of the world. He is the one who defeats death and conquers sin. He is the Son of God. He is God.
But if he doesn’t…well…he’s none of that. And if he’s not who he says he is, we don’t need to pay attention to anything he said.
But if he is the risen one, then we’re not just dealing with good teachings and truths, but the very words of God when we read the scriptures.
So, if Christ is not risen from the dead, our faith is futile and useless.
All of Christianity hangs on the reality of the resurrection.