Mission Lab 2018

The Resurrection is Essential to the Gospel

March 28th, 2017 / By: Jim Richards | Executive Director / comments

The Resurrection is Essential to the Gospel

Easter is April 16 this year. Since Easter observance is based on the movement of the moon it fluctuates significantly. Historically, the earliest Easter has arrived is March 22, which happened in 1818, and latest is April 25, which occurred in 1943.

As we approach Easter I could not resist putting forth a thought for consideration. We know that our current Western calendar is four years off of historical accuracy. This would put Jesus being born in 4 B.C. and starting his ministry around 26 A.D., with the crucifixion and resurrection taking place in 30 A.D. Passover (Jesus’ crucifixion as the Pascal Lamb) would have been April 6 by our present calendar dating, which would mean that Jesus was crucified on Thursday. So much for Good Friday! But the resurrection was still on Sunday! Now that I’ve stirred that hornet’s nest, let’s move on to the more important topic, the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus, the foundation for hope on Easter.

As a student in a Baptist college I heard in a chapel service that it wasn’t important whether Jesus literally and bodily resurrected from the dead. I was told as long as the influence of Jesus lived on in me that was the important thing. Denying the miraculous was not uncommon in our Baptist institutions almost a half-century ago. For those who get weary of hearing about battles for the Bible, let me remind you that eternal vigilance is necessary to preserve the truth. The battle for the Bible will be over when Jesus returns. 

"The testimony of Jesus Christ is found in every book of the Bible. The Bible is our only reliable witness of the historicity of Jesus and his words. Five times Jesus was seen on the Resurrection Day: Mary Magdalene, the women, Peter, the eleven, and the two disciples traveling to the village of Emmaus. Easter is a good time to reintroduce others to the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus."

The testimony of Jesus Christ is found in every book of the Bible. The Bible is our only reliable witness of the historicity of Jesus and his words. Five times Jesus was seen on the Resurrection Day: Mary Magdalene, the women, Peter, the eleven, and the two disciples traveling to the village of Emmaus. Easter is a good time to reintroduce others to the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus.

The resurrection is the foundation of the gospel. Without the resurrection, the cross is a sad ending of a good man; with the resurrection, the cross is the sufficient sacrifice of the God-man. The Apostle Paul put it plainly that “if Christ is not risen, your faith is in vain; you are yet in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Without the resurrection, we have no hope; but with it, we have the assurance of eternal life. Preaching the gospel must include the resurrection because it is an integral part of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).

The resurrection promises us a glorious future. Believers will not live in eternity as disembodied spirits but will receive resurrected bodies like Jesus. “We know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). We have much to celebrate.  

Christians observe the resurrection every Sunday when we gather to worship. A life-changing experience is available with the risen Lord. This is what Christianity is all about—the living Lord Jesus. Is this extremism? Yes. So are Islam, Communism, and secularism. It is time to get extreme about the living Lord Jesus. He puts within us a desire to tell the Good News like the women on that first Easter morning. It is easy to find bad news; let’s be bearers of the Good News. He’s alive!