Why the Resurrection is Important

Have you ever given any thought to what the world would be like if the Wright Brothers had never invented the airplane? While aerodynamics had been a problem that had been worked on stretching back to the 16th century, it was the Wright Brothers that brought us the plane and all that has been born out of their endeavors; the good and the bad; discovery and destruction. I would venture a guess that flight has brought us far more than anything Orville and Wilber ever imagined: from bi-planes and tri-planes to prop and jet engine aircraft, from rocketry and spacecraft, to landing on the moon, sending a rover to Mars, pictures of Pluto, satellite television, GPS technology, cellular phones, and so much more.

Now imagine life with none of that.

Have you ever given any thought to what Christianity would be like if the resurrection had never happened? First and foremost, according to the apostle Paul, there would not even be a Christian faith, much less an apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, and 19, Paul states that if the resurrection had never happened then our “preaching is vain,” our “faith is vain,” our “faith is worthless,” we are “still in our sins” (there is no such thing as forgiveness), and “we are of all men most to be pitied.”

Allow me to just list some of what is lost to Christianity if the resurrection did not occur (this is not an all-inclusive list):

  • Jesus could not be considered deity (Romans 1:1-4)
  • Jesus would be a false prophet (failed prophecy to rise again – Matthew 27:63, 64; 28:6; Mark 8:31; 9:9, 10, 31; 10:34; Luke 18:33; 24:6, 7)
  • No sending of the Helper, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit (John 15:26, 16:7, 13)
  • No Pentecost (Acts 2)
  • No conversion of James, the half-brother of Jesus (no other explanation has been given for James’ conversion other than an encounter with his resurrected sibling)
  • No Damascus Road conversion of Saul of Tarsus (thus, no Apostle Paul – Acts 9)
  • No gospel
  • No command to go into all the world and make disciples (Jesus made this statement after his resurrection and just before his ascension – Matthew 28:19-20)
  • No preaching in Acts (all the sermons and sermon summaries in Acts either explicitly or implicitly reference the death, burial, and resurrection)
  • No establishment of the church (see Acts)
  • No letters written by Paul (we would be missing a large portion of the New Testament)
  • No forgiveness of sins (1 Corinthians 15:17)
  • No intercessory prayer on our behalf (John 14:8-14)
  • No defeat of death (1 Corinthians 15:50-57)
  • No future resurrection to look forward to for us / no hope (1 Corinthians 15:18)
  • No second coming or coming on the clouds (Jesus would need to be alive in order to return – I think this point is fairly obvious)
  • No Judgment (Acts 17:31)
  • No baptism (Romans 6:1-11)
  • We do not receive grace (Romans 1:1-6)
  • No salvation (Romans 1:16)
  • No faith (Romans 1:16-17)
  • No justification by faith (Romans 5:1)
  • We are still slaves to sin, under the law (Romans 6:14)

I will stop the list here. Although there is more that could be added, the point is abundantly clear: if there was no resurrection of Jesus, then there is nothing remotely close to Christianity that would have even gotten off the ground. Remember – the first century church was founded upon the preaching of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The resurrection: it is more than just an historical event to defend.

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