So, another Easter is upon us.
Several television programs make that abundantly clear. CNN is currently airing a series on Sunday nights called “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery.” On Palm Sunday, National Geographic premiered “Killing Jesus,” an adaptation of one of Bill O’Reilly’s books. On Easter Sunday, NBC will debut a 12-week miniseries “A.D.: The Bible Continues.”
CBS’ two-night mini-series “The Dovekeepers” premieres Tuesday. It’s based on the Alice Hoffman novel and retells the story of Masada, the siege in which more than 900 Jewish rebels and their families are said to have committed suicide rather than be taken by the Roman army. and was produced by the husband and wife team of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, who are also behind “The Bible,” “A.D.” and “Son of God.”
It’s good to see all this interest in Jesus Christ. Perhaps, some will come to believe in Him as Lord and Savior as a result of watching these shows (plus, hearing the gospel). That means they will have to accept the reality of the resurrection.
For without the resurrection, there would not have been any need for Christmas. Without the resurrection, there would be no Christianity. Without the resurrection, we would be doomed to an eternity separated from God.
Yes, the resurrection is that important.
Some time ago, I was doing some research for a series of lessons I was teaching about “Christology” and came across the work of Dr. E.C. Bragg (1912-1995), who was professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity College of Florida. He taught there for 55 years.
In discussing “The Importance or Necessity of the Resurrection of Christ,” Dr. Bragg mentioned this quote from a modernist: “As far as my faith is concerned, it makes no difference whether Christ ever arose from the dead or not. It would make no difference in my faith to find out that Jesus never really arose from the dead, but that His body still smolders in the tomb of Joseph.”
Of course, Dr. Bragg took exception and then proceeded to list a number of reasons why the resurrection is vital to our faith.
Here are some of his observations:
- If Christ were not raised then there is no resurrection and the loved ones fallen asleep in Jesus have perished. (1 Corinthians 15:18)
- Our preaching is in vain, empty, hollow, a lie, without meaning. (1 Corinthians 15:14)
- Our faith would be vain. (1 Corinthians 15:14)
- We would still be in our sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)
- All the disciples who testified to His resurrection are liars (1 Corinthians 15:15), for they gave the testimony that He did arise.
- We who have believed are of all men most miserable, or pitiful. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
There were some others, but I think you get the idea. Without the resurrection, we might as well have never been born.
I will leave you with this quote from a book entitled The First Easter by Peter Marshall, a 20th century preacher, pastor and chaplain of the United States Senate.
“No tabloid will ever print the startling news that the mummified body of Jesus of Nazareth has been discovered in old Jerusalem. Christians have no carefully embalmed body enclosed in a glass case to worship. Thank God, we have an empty tomb. The glorious fact that the empty tomb proclaims to us is that life for us does not stop when death comes. Death is not a wall, but a door.”