Why Celebrate the Resurrection if it’s the Cross that Saves?

Think back to how you celebrated Easter this past Sunday. Your church probably had a beautiful service, you probably got all dressed up, and you maybe spent some time with family. At least those are the things I did. It’s a holiday! But Good Friday… Well, on Good Friday I did some homework. I think I maybe cleaned my apartment some… I did read my Bible, but there was no big to-do about it. Why not?

Photo from GetzJedi on Photobucket

The question of why we celebrate Easter with such a feeling of importance is something that I was very confused about for a very long time. Yes, it’s wonderful that Jesus rose from the dead, but doesn’t the cross have so much more significance for us?

Actually, Paul answers that question super directly in 1 Corinthians 15.

In verse 14, he said, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.”

Wow. Without Easter, all of that faith that we are putting into the crucifixion really is just useless and empty. No kidding that’s important!

But WHY does the resurrection make our faith full and alive?

I’ll let Paul keep going, since he’s on a roll.

In verse 15, he points out that if Christ hadn’t been raised from the dead, then we can’t really believe anything else Christians are saying because they would have done an awful lot of lying about that resurrection. Valid.

Then in verses 18 and 19, he really nails it down. He says, again talking about if Jesus hadn’t raised from the dead, “Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”

Christ’s death on the cross paid for our sins, but it was His resurrection that proved who He is, shows that He conquered death, and offers us an eternal hope. If Jesus hadn’t been raised from the dead, then His promises for our eternity would be empty, because He would have shown Himself powerless against this punishment of death. And since death is a punishment for sins, He might have even been showing Himself powerless against sin.

The cross is a tragically beautiful thing that should bring us to our knees in gratitude again and again. But it is the words of the angel, “He is not here, for He is risen as He said!” (Matthew 28:6) that will always rouse our hearts with the boundless joy of Heavenly hope.

We worship a God powerful enough to reverse death, to defeat death for all eternity, and to offer to sinners true life that they have never known before. Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, is the culmination of that awesome, unimaginable power. It offers us the chance to accept that abundant life forever because of Christ, our “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

That is definitely something worth celebrating — every day that we draw breath into all the days of eternity.

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