What If It Really Happened?
MARCH 25, 2019
It all hinges on Christ’s death and resurrection. Our lives. Our forgiveness. Our restoration.
The apostle Paul put it this way: “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen….And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!…If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
Paul’s question and our own: What if Christ’s resurrection didn’t happen?
The only place where I know God reveals himself absolutely, definitely, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, is in the resurrection. The God of the universe put his hand into human history and said, “I’m here.”
The nature of God is love. That is the central fact of our faith. If the death and resurrection didn’t happen, it is entirely possible that God doesn’t exist or if he does exist, then he is far different than we supposed–some kind of monster in the sky. After all, you may say, “What about the beauty of the sunset, the laughter of a child, or the power of the ocean?” I could say back to you, “What about cancer, war, violence, and suffering?”
If there is a God and he is a God of love, he has to show it. And he has in Christ. If that’s not true, you have nobody to thank and nobody to blame.
If Jesus Christ is just some misguided prophet who died as all men die and stayed dead, then….
We are guilty.
Guilt is the reality that controls much of how we live and die. The Christian faith claims to take actual sin that produces actual guilt, puts it up on a cross, and takes care of it vicariously. It claims to take a person’s guilt and forgives it, offering freedom and cleansing in its place. How can the Christian faith make such claims? It is the cross and the empty tomb.
If the death and resurrection of Christ didn’t happen, there is no resource. You just better get used to feeling so guilty you can barely live with yourself. There is no other alternative.
We are turnips.
If there is nothing beyond this life, you will die and that is the end.
I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who–having denied the only view we’ve ever had of death, that of Jesus Christ from the other side–still hang onto a belief in immortality. When you face death, if Christ has not risen from the dead, you face the ultimate end of everything. Like a turnip, you will grow up, live your life, and then go back to the dust. There is no more. So you better eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.
Life is meaningless.
If Christ has not risen from the dead, there is no good or bad. There is no evil and no love. There is no difference. “Men must work and women must weep…and the sooner it’s over, the sooner to sleep.”
If Christ has not risen from the dead, these are the facts. Like it or not, you walk down a long, lonely road between two hospitals, between a birth and a death. If you dare to stop and ask, “Who am I? What am I doing here” you’ll be answered by only the cold, dead, hollow, empty silence.
But what if…
What if it really happened? What if Jesus Christ was really God’s Son? What if he died on the cross, was dead and buried, and then got up out of the grave?
Then everything Jesus ever said about our lives and us is true because it comes from God himself.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). That is not surmise.
Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). That is true.
Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). He has promised.
Jesus said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). That is a fact.
Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled…I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2). The God of the universe has promised.
Jesus Christ came back from the grave and he is here now. That makes all the difference in the world.
Time to Draw Away
Read the complete accounts of Christ’s death and resurrection – Matthew 26-28. Mark 14-16. Luke 22-24. John 18-20.
Take the time to question and think through… What if Christ’s death and resurrection really happened? How does that impact my life? The answers are no less than astounding. A relationship with the God of the universe. Salvation. Meaning. Forgiveness. Freedom. And that makes all the difference in the world, both today and forever.