But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…

This fact of the resurrection is the absolute bedrock foundation of our faith.  Christ has risen.  If he had not risen, then there is really no such thing as Christianity.  Paul addresses this fact in 1 Corinthians 15 when there were people infiltrating the church with the teaching that there was really no such thing as the resurrection from the dead.  What a tactic of satan to get people to doubt in the resurrection of Christ.  And doesn’t this still happen today?  Paul lovingly, but firmly and logically, addresses the Corinthians to be on guard against such teaching.  I encourage you to read the whole chapter.  it is such an awesome picture of the resurrection and the hope that we have because of it.

Paul starts out by saying to the church, “Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel that I preached to you…by this gospel you are saved…if you hold firmly to the word that was preached.”  And what was  that word that was preached?  Paul states it in the simplest form, “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”  Then He gives them the proof of Jesus’ resurrection by stating all the different people who saw Him after He was raised.  Paul is showing here that the knowledge and belief of the resurrection is at the absolute foundation to the Christian faith.  Without the resurrection, there is no faith.

And Paul brings it to this logical point next.  He challenges the people who are starting to believe this lie.  He asks them, “…if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, then how can some of you say that there is no resurrection from the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised from the dead.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  He also goes on to say, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”  Then he says something that I think every single Christian should be living their lives by, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

In other words, the resurrection is everything!  Without it, anything that we preach is absolutely useless.  Without it, there is no faith, no forgiveness, no promise of eternal life, nothing.  And yet sadly there are many who still live like this is the only life that matters.  There are many who are still, what I like to call, hedging their bets.  They are kind of putting their hope in Christ, but they are also going to make sure that this life yields some good investment as well just in case.  This is not the way for us as Christians to live.  We must bet the whole house on the resurrection.  For the resurrection is truly our only hope.  Without it, nothing else matters.  This is the message that we should be sharing with the world around us who do not know Christ and are in fact still dead in their sins.

This is the message of hope.  This is the foundation to everything.  Let us live for it and die for it, just like the disciples did after witnessing it themselves.  Their entire world was turned upside down.  They went from cowering in a room for fear of the people to boldly standing in the face of death proclaiming one thing…Christ has risen!  Oh that we too would live our lives with that statement.

And after Paul challenges the Corinthians about the illogic of the lie that there is no resurrection, and the implications of what that would mean for their lives, he then shines forth the glorious truth to them, and to us, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.”  Oh, this is truly the hope of all hopes!  He is alive!  He has risen!  Our sins can be forgiven.  We who have trusted in Him will also rise at the appointed time.  Death has been defeated.  We shall see Him again!  What blessed hope is found in the resurrection!  What blessed hope is found in those simple words, “But Christ has indeed been raised.”

Let that be the hope which we are fixed upon.  It is indeed enough.  It is enough for me.  What about you?

My daughter Susana was taken from this earth due to a vicious cancer…But Christ!

Our lives were upended by thieves who broke into our home and shot at us with no regard for our lives…But Christ!

Because of this, we were forced to leave Haiti without having any idea of where we would go next…But Christ!

What about you?  No matter what has happened or is happening, our hope can be rooted in those sweet words, “But Christ…”

I lost my job and haven’t been able to find work for almost a year…But Christ!

My husband left after many years of marriage and I have to raise these kids on my own…But Christ!

I feel so alone ever since my spouse died…But Christ!

My child is sick in the hospital and I don’t know if he/she is going to make it…But Christ

See my friends, only because of the resurrection can we have such a strong hope.  The resurrection is everything.  Without it, our preaching is in vain.  Without it, our lives should be most pitied.  I want my life to resemble that truth.  I don’t want to hedge my bets.  I’m betting it all on the resurrection.  That is why, even after the things that we have suffered in our lives, we still move forward as missionaries with the desire to share the message of His resurrection with the world around us.  It is because of His resurrection that I find myself slaving over learning pluscuamperfect spanish verbs and conditional subjunctives.  I want to learn this language so that we can be sent to the Latin American countries with the message that Christ has risen!  And Latin America desperately needs to hear this message

This past week is the most festive week of the year for the people of Latin America.  It is the week called Semana Santa (Holy Week)  For many here, it is a time to just party, but the traditions around the week all have to do with the life and death of Jesus.  Notice I said life and death, but not resurrection.  So, all over these countries, in every single town and city, there are these processions that take place in the streets where the people usually leave from the Catholic church and march around the city carrying a lifeless dead Saviour, along with many other saints that are held high, with Mary often being held up the highest.  No wonder why Christ is not being truly exalted among these nations. In their eyes, He’s dead.  He’s helpless.  He needs the help of Mary and the other saints.  So, this takes place all week long, and you would think though that this would lead up to the grand finale on Sunday when we celebrate His resurrection, right?  Nope.  It ends on Friday or Saturday with Christ still being held in a lifeless state and the people singing these morbid songs.  And that is why Latin America has not been reached by far with the Gospel contrary to what some mission boards have stated.  And that is why we go.

We saw a small procession on Friday while we were in Monte Verde.  Jesus was being carried around in an open casket, while mother mary was being lifted high above Him.  And I told my daughter as she was asking why they were doing this, “That is why we are here…to tell them the truth that Christ is not dead.  He has risen.  And He is King over all.”  While we were there, we passed out some tracts that spoke about the truth of who Jesus is.  But I know that I could do more, even with my limited language ability.

That was my first ever experience of seeing something like that.  And even though what we saw was so small because we were in a tiny little town, it was heartbreaking to see how the people were viewing Christ.  And it was even more sad to know that it ended there.  There was no great procession on Sunday showing that Christ has risen and has triumphed over the grave.  So, it is no wonder why the people live their lives with the hope of only what is in the here and now.

But the Bible tells us the whole story.  He has risen!  He’s alive.  And He’s coming back to judge the living and the dead, to reward the righteous (those who have placed their complete trust in Him) and to punish the wicked (those who have rejected His Lordship over their lives and who are living for themselves)  Yes, Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.  And in Him alone our hope is found.

May we live like this each and every day.  This is what the world needs to see.  And on this day, especially, when it is the holiday that we celebrate this glorious fact, let us be bold in what we say and what we do.  For the Christian, this is not the day of the easter bunny and all that goes along with that.  This is the day that is the foundation of which our entire faith rests upon.  That Christ indeed has been raised from the dead!  Let’s proclaim this glorious truth with our very lives!