“And if Christ has not been raised then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless….and if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins……BUT in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead!”
1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 20a
The question of today’s devotional title may seem quite odd. We know Jesus did rise from the dead so why even ask ‘what if’ questions? Yet by asking the ‘what if’ questions, we further cement our belief at just how important the resurrection was.
If Jesus didn’t rise again, as Paul writes, then are faith is completely useless. We will just have put our hope in another random religious teacher, who died and that was the end of their religion. By believing in His resurrection, we put our hope and faith, not in a dead god but in a risen King. His resurrection proved that He was who He said He was. Not just another religious fanatic. Moreover, His resurrection proved that sin and death had and have no power over Him. He showed that He conquered sin and death and it is for this reason we are forgiven, and know that even in our death, we can live on eternally with Him.
If Jesus did not rise again and all the above was not true, what would be the point of our lives? Where would our hope come from? Yet it is true. Jesus did rise from the dead and that is our glorious hope and that is why we can trust Him with our own death and sins. He is the resurrected King. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead!
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
In most countries across the world, Easter, the event to remember Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and His victory over sin, was celebrated yesterday. There are many perhaps, who just enjoyed the day off from work, some enjoyed receiving chocolates or even families gathering together. Yet Easter always leaves us with one big question… Why did Jesus die? Many would answer this question with the statement that ‘Jesus died to forgive our sins’, and if so, would correctly answer this question. Jesus did die to forgive our sins. However, Jesus’ death on the cross represented more than just a spiritual exchange of our sins and His purity and forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross, as said by Jesus Himself in John’s gospel narrative, because ‘God loved the world’.
If we look at the cross merely as a symbol of our forgiveness, we can sometimes just get caught up in a cycle of ME, feeling guilty because of our sin, repenting, sinning, repenting and so on, repeating the cycle until we go up to glory. However, if we look at the cross as a symbol of love, knowing that whatever we do, we are still radically and unconditionally loved by the God who created this world, who saw it fit to allow His own Son to die in our place, it changes everything. We begin to stop focusing on our own sinful nature and start focusing on God’s love. The more we open our hearts to receive it, the more we naturally become bearers and sharers of it. God’s love for us is foundational to our faith. Knowing we are loved so much changes our perception of the kind of God we serve and our own self image. As we celebrate His resurrection, celebrate too, how much you are loved by the King of all ages.