Author’s Note: This post is adapted from a sermon, Resurrection Matters, given by Mary Heathman on April 16th, 2006 – at Little Chapel of the Hills in Buffalo Creek, CO.
A broken man sat in the ruins of his home. His earthly possessions had been destroyed, the lives of his children had been snuffed out by tragedy, and his body was covered with painful boils. As he viewed the remains of his once happy life, he pondered the question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14 NKJV). The man was Job, [but you could just as easily put in his place a woman or a man whose life has been destroyed by wildfire, hurricane, tornado.] –the question has been asked by people throughout time, ‘If a man dies, shall he live again?’”
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the bedrock message of the gospel, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corin. 15:3-4)
“Pollster George Gallup said even 84 percent of people who never go to church believe Jesus rose from the dead. It is historical fact; it wasn’t done in secret. The whole city of Jerusalem and the whole Roman Empire knew about it. It was news. If CNN had been there, they would have had it live.” (as quoted by Rick Warren in Leadership Journal)
For Christians, the Resurrection is first and foremost the object of our faith. In fact, without the Resurrection, faith is meaningless. Paul says “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:13&14)
I am always glad to remember the Resurrection’s centrality to the faith in Jesus to Whom I sold myself out almost 50 years ago. But today, I am also particularly encouraged to remember that the Resurrection is also our source of hope.
Germany’s Count Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, in 1871, is said to have remarked, “Without the hope of eternal life, this life is not worth the effort of getting dressed in the morning.” The Lord’s brother, James, supports that statement. “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)
For what can we hope specifically? We all know the basics of the gospel message: Rick Warren in the Leadership Journal describes them this way:
“Our past can be forgiven: That’s good news. Have you ever been halfway through a project and wished you could start over? Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross, so I can quit nailing myself to the cross.
“Our present problems can be managed: What we need is something bigger than ourselves. We were never meant to live this life on our own power: Ephesians 1:19-20 says: “How incredibly great is his power to help those who believe him, the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.” The same power that enabled Jesus to rise from death will help you rise above your problems.
“Our future can be secure: One of the universal problems we’ve all got is death. Let’s face it—everybody dies.”
Jesus’ resurrection is the believer’s assurance that he, too, will one day live in a resurrection body. It is a source of comfort to know that those who have died in Christ will one day be raised in Him. It is the basis of our confidence that the last enemy — death — will be destroyed. There is no hope without the fact of the Resurrection. Yet, there is hope. Jesus’ resurrection is the source of hope.
The famous poem, The Road Less Traveled tells of the man who comes to a fork in the road, one clear and looking easy, the other narrow and challenging. The poet says, “I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference.”
The resurrection matters – it makes all the difference, it grasps onto the essence of a life which is eternal – not a body that lives beyond the grave, but a spirit which will never die, and a Savior who has always been. It is our privilege to walk the road less traveled, the narrow road, the joyous life-in-Christ road!
I want to be the first this year to lift my eyes, and look ahead to Easter 2022, the celebration of His Resurrection, the Reason we Hope!
Christ is risen – He is risen, indeed!
Mary is one of the founders of Where Grace Abounds and served as Executive Director from its inception on July, 1986 through March 31st, 2007. She speaks and teaches at churches and conferences across the country. She has also served on several boards of non-profit organizations, is a conference speaker on a variety of topics that include: Intimacy with God, Healthy Sexuality, and leadership development. Currently serving in leadership in her denomination, Mary’s favorite ministry roles are discipleship counseling, group facilitation, and leadership development.
Mary often characterizes herself as “a seeker of Truth” and has a long-standing fascination with human behavior and motivation. Her education consists of lay and discipleship counseling, independent study about the integration of psychology and theology, counseling and human sexuality. She also holds a BS in Human Services and an MA in Psychology from Regis University.
Mary attends a Friends (Quaker) Church.
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