If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain… And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
— 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17
This very reality is the reason why Easter should be one of the most celebrated times for us as believers. Easter should be a time where we call to mind all we’ve been forgiven of, and we worship a risen Savior with thankful hearts. Jesus coming to earth and then dying on the cross for our sin is very important, but his victory over death by resurrecting from the grave is also essential for our faith. If Jesus had not risen from the grave, “we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
Let us consider the life of Jesus’ followers, leading up to and immediately following the crucifixion. Right in the garden of Gethsemane, after one disciple betrayed Jesus and quite possibly before Jesus was seized, all of the disciples left him and fled. One disciple hangs around for a bit to “see the end”, and even after being warned by Jesus himself, this disciple denies even knowing Jesus — not once, but three times!
We don’t hear much about what the disciples did until Jesus reappeared to them, like they were in hiding, like their faith was in vain (v. 14), or pitying even themselves because their faith was two days in the grave. The crazy thing is that even after Jesus reappeared to them, some still doubted!
In the beginning, Jesus’ disciples left their old lives, to follow him. They chose him over the world. Which is what we’re called to do- repent from our lives, our sin, and turn to follow him. Many professing Christians fall into the “two days in the grave” lifestyle that Jesus’ disciples fell into. They know they believe in Jesus, and they like being around him and the things of him (like church). But when he doesn’t seem to be around, or when it seems like the vibrant seasons of our faith fade, they seem to go into hiding; their faith becomes dead.
Then, after Jesus reappeared to the disciples, and gave them the Great Commission, everything began to change. The Bible reports that “[the disciples] went out and preached everywhere while the Lord worked with them…” and “…they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” Not only that, they testified to the faith amongst rulers and the lowly. They prayed constantly and healed many! God performed miraculous signs through them to confirm the message of the Gospel, and many souls were saved because of their boldness. They also started the church, and never ceased to preach the truth- even till death.
What change caused these mild-mannered followers of Jesus to become bold-preaching, till-death, miracle-performing disciples? JESUS CONQUERED DEATH! He rose from the grave, proving all he was and said he’d do! He proved that there would be a resurrection of the dead (for you and I, and of course, the disciples) because he himself resurrected! This should be great news for us, Church! We too can have a resurrected life- a new, glorious, bold, gospel-preaching life in Jesus! Jesus didn’t just come so that we can believe in him, but that we too could be raised to walk in a newness of life- for freedom!
Is your faith still stuck in the grave and you’re living your life as if Jesus didn’t give you a new one? Or maybe you have yet to actually receive this new life that Jesus offers. Maybe you are like the bystanders in the Bible, watching everyone around you being transformed, living and dying for a faith in Jesus and his resurrection, yet you have not taken that step in obedience. Maybe today is the day God is calling you out of your grave, out of your sin, to give you a new life- a life in him. If that is you, just know that it is by faith, through grace that we are saved. So just call unto him, now! Pray to him, admitting you need him and want to receive a new life! Tell him you believe he died and was raised and you want to be raised up out of the pit of sin, to walk in the newness of life with him.
If you made some sort of a spiritual decision today, we’d love to connect with you! We’d love to pray with you and help guide you down this faith journey, so please see below for how to connect with us!
Let us continue this journey with a boldness that resembles one who has been empowered by the Holy Spirit of God through the death and life we’ve received from Jesus.