1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 12-20 - For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me. ... Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
There are people who think that Jesus' resurrection doesn't matter. "What matters is Jesus' teaching," they say. "I can follow that without believing in the resurrection." For others, the resurrection looks like an embarrassment—an afterthought, a happy ending tacked on because otherwise things would be too tragic to deal with.
But this is not right. Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead, and we ought to think about it—and celebrate it! It's at the heart of everything God has done for us.
What does the resurrection mean, then? So many things! It means that Jesus really is who He says He is, and not simply a great teacher who got confused about His identity. God would not raise a liar from the dead—even a mistaken liar. The resurrection is God's stamp of approval on Jesus and everything He ever said or did. If Jesus has risen from the dead, that means that everything He ever told us is true, and we can put our full weight on it with complete trust. It will hold, it will not let us down—because Jesus has risen.
The resurrection also means that our sins are forgiven—really forgiven, gone forever. God has accepted Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. There is nothing left for us to do. And so that horrible guilt that troubles you at night, the one that keeps returning—is a fake, is a lie. There is nothing left to pay. You truly are forgiven—because Jesus has risen.
Jesus' resurrection means that we have a future to look forward to. Death is not the end. Pain, suffering, loss of strength and memory—these are not the end for God's people. Jesus has risen, the first of all mankind—and all those who belong to Him will also rise. It is as sure and certain as tomorrow's daylight. Jesus is the first, but He will not be the last. You will follow Him. You too will be raised—and enjoy that new life with all God's people forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for raising Jesus—and that You will raise us also. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari. Vo.
1. Do you know anybody who does not believe in the resurrection?
2. Do you tend to think more about the cross or the resurrection? Why?
3. What does the resurrection mean to you?
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