The most important week in the Christian calendar is here. Easter, Resurrection Sunday. Much more than any ordinary event in history, this is one holiday to celebrate, and it is worthy of any amount of pause to meditate upon its significance. The Cross of Jesus is not merely a symbol or an icon of our faith – it changed the world forever, particularly for those who belong to the Father as His dearly beloved children.
You see, Christianity wasn’t just helped by the resurrection. If Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, theologian J.I. Packer says that “the bottom would fall out” of our faith. He lists 4 things that would be true without the resurrection:
First, to quote Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:17: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
Second, there is then no hope for our rising either; we must expect to stay dead too.
Third, if Jesus Christ is not risen, then he is not reigning and will not return and every single item in the [Apostles’] Creed after “suffered and was buried” will have to be struck out.
Fourth, Christianity cannot be what the first Christians thought it was—fellowship with a living Lord who is identical with the Jesus of the Gospels. The Jesus of the Gospels can still be your hero, but he cannot be your Savior. . . .
You see, Dr. Packer is right. We needed more than a cosmic hero. We needed more than good moral teaching. What we needed, and still need, is a SAVIOR, One who can save us, and deliver us from the wrath of a Holy God that had to be poured out against sin – our sin, of which we are guilty.
It wasn’t enough for Jesus to teach good things. He had to die for us, to become a curse for us, and to take upon Himself the guilt of our sin. He was willing to do that, though He Himself was sinless. But God so loved the world…that He gave His son for us…
And then, by raising His dearly beloved son from the dead, the Father declared that the penalty of our sin, our great sin against His holiness…was paid for by an even greater Savior! The resurrection was the proof that we have been forgiven!
In the first century church, believers in Jesus would greet each other in a very special way…”He is risen!,” one would say. ‘He is risen indeed” would be the answer from the other. And if He hadn’t risen from the dead, well, the wrath of God toward sin would not be satisfied…and the bottom would have fallen out.
Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers. In Gainesville, Mike is heard on WTMN – 96.3 FM / 1430 AM. In Ocala, on WRZN – 103.5 FM / 720 AM. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader. As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.