In a world in which “religious” people, atheists, agnostics, and postmodernists have denied the reality of moral values and the very existence of God, the news of Christ and His resurrection instills peace and comfort and draws notes of hope and optimism from the depths of our hearts: “He has risen!” (Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6).
“He has risen” may be the three most powerful words ever uttered. Heavenly beings proclaimed an empty tomb, a risen Lord, and God’s victory in the universal controversy between good and evil. Without the Resurrection, there is no gospel, and the gospel is “that Christ died for our sins . . . , that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). Paul emphasizes that true Christianity depends on the authenticity of Christ’s resurrection: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . . And if Christ has not been raised, . . . you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).
The empty tomb
A Muslim and a Christian were chatting during a trip. After a while, the conversation turned to their respective religious beliefs. The Muslim man argued in favor of the superiority of Muhammad and his religion. To prove his point, he said to the Christian, “You can find the tomb of your Jesus in Jerusalem, but it is empty. Christ is not there. But if you go to Mecca, you will find the tomb of Muhammad, and you can be sure that the Prophet is there in the tomb. That supports the reality and solidity of the Muslim faith. This is why it is superior.”
The Christian replied, “It is true that the tomb of Jesus is empty.” And then, gazing at the Muslim man with a joyful smile, he said, “That is precisely the most wonderful thing about the Christian faith. He is not there because He rose from the dead, for He said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ [John 11:25]!”
Christ’s death was the reparation for the damages of sin, and His resurrection inaugurated the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ’s death is the passport, so to speak, and His resurrection is the entry visa into heaven. And Christ longs to take His children to His kingdom of glory.
Christ’s resurrection is the heart of the plan of redemption. Only in Christ’s resurrection do our hopeless hearts—filled with weeping, sadness, and loneliness—find security and relief. Without that security, life would be miserable and endless. But Christ’s life did not end in a tomb, and the great promise is that our lives will not end that way either! He promised, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). “Jesus lives, and because He lives, we shall live also. From grateful hearts, from lips touched with holy fire, let the glad song ring out, Christ is risen!”*
The world was shocked by the news that Jesus of Nazareth had risen (Acts 17:1–6). But Jesus’ resurrection was not a lie invented by His followers. The eyewitness accounts, such as the Gospel writers, were not mere wishes and imaginings made into stories. He is risen! “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
* Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, 794.
The author holds a master’s degree in personal ministry from Andrews University and writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina.