Read Matthew 28:1-10
Three days after He died on the cross, Jesus rose from the grave. This is a beautiful source of joy and happiness, but it can be hard to remember the significance of the resurrection after knowing about it for so long. It’s easy to see the sacrifice and love of our Lord Jesus at the cross, where He gave up His life for our forgiveness, but the incredible power and hope of the empty tomb is more quickly forgotten.
When this happens people most often tell us to think of what the story would be like if Jesus hadn’t risen again. But there were people in the early church that actually believed there was no resurrection at all, and Paul had to try to explain its significance to them.
Now read 1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Our hope is in the fact Jesus rose from the dead and will someday raise us also. If Christ hadn’t risen from the dead, we would have more than a sad ending. We would have no hope of eternal life with God. The Old Testament prophesies that the Messiah would rise, and Jesus Himself said He would. If Christ hadn’t risen from the dead, everything we believe in would be a lie and Jesus would be a liar. If Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, we would not be forgiven or saved, and in fact, we would be the most pitied people on earth, whose religion was so obviously wrong. If He had stayed dead, the disciples would have remained hidden in fear. If He had stayed in the tomb, His followers would have no leader and no hope. Without the resurrection Christianity would be a lost religion, and death would be victorious. But He did rise from the dead.
Because He is alive, we know the power of God. The grave could not contain Him, and death could not control Him. Our King is a King of life. Our God is a God of miracles. Our Lord is truly almighty. Nothing can stop our God. Because He is alive, we have nothing to fear, not even death. Nothing can stop, hinder, destroy, mess up, or change the power of God. We can give God our all since we know He holds our lives. Because He is alive, we have a living hope. Death is not our end, so what can people do to us? We have a life-giving confidence in our salvation. We have an uncrushable joy in our eternity and an unshakable home in heaven. Because He is alive, we are too. We know that we are forgiven and His grace is enough. Because He is alive, we know Who He is. He is the Son of God. He is the One the prophets spoke of; He is the Savior of the world. He is the Messiah.
It is because of the empty tomb we can stand in good times and bad times, with a smile on our face and a smile in our hearts, and say, “How sweet it is to trust in Jesus.”