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Dooley Noted: A world without Easter

This weekend, Christians all over the world will observe Easter festivities to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for these celebrations even as I am reminded that apart from the physical, bodily resurrection of our Lord Christianity would be nothing more than a nostalgic myth. Dr. Billy Graham once told TIME magazine, “If I were an enemy of Christianity, I would aim right at the resurrection, because that is the heart of Christianity.” Indeed. Can you even imagine a world without Easter?

What would our existence be like if the biblical story is a lie? What if, as some say, the resurrection of Jesus only means that the spirit of our Savior lives on? Or that His teachings are still with us? What if Jesus’ body was still in a grave somewhere outside of Jerusalem? Can Christianity still be viable if its most celebrated event is not a historical fact?

The simple answer is—NO! If Easter is a fabricated tale all Christian preaching and teaching is a myth. The Apostle Paul explained, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain (1 Cor. 15:14).” Faith is futile apart from the fact of the resurrection. If Christ is still dead, He is not the Son of God because He believed and taught a lie. According to Romans 1:4, “[Jesus] was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” Every sermon is pointless; every hymn is meaningless; church attendance is a waste of time; and prayer is futile if Jesus Christ has not risen.

Worse still, apart from Easter, the message of the church is deceptive and misleading. The Bible warns, “Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised (1 Cor. 15:15).” Believers are not only fools, but also liars if Jesus remains in a tomb.

Without Easter, our sins are fatal. Every person born into the world is a sinner by birth and by choice. Scripture declares that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). The penalty for our transgressions is death that is both physical and spiritual (Rom. 6:23). Every funeral service is a vivid reminder of these inconvenient truths. Every second, 3 people die; every minute, 180 people die; every hour, 11,000 people die; every day, 260,000 people die; and every year, 95 million people die. And if Jesus Christ did not overcome death, we will all remain lost in our sins, victims of the grave’s snare. None can be forgiven, and all will perish in hell if the resurrection is not true. The Bible plainly states, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins (1 Cor. 15:17).”

All this means that our future is hopeless without the intervention of Christ. Because the future resurrection of believers is inextricably linked to the resurrection of Jesus, a dead Savior means there is no life beyond the grave. Using sleep as a euphemism for death, Scripture warns that without Easter, “Those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:18-19).” Think about the tragic implications here.

If Jesus is not raised from the dead, we have nothing to look forward to beyond the grave. We will never see our loved ones again. We will simply cease to exist or, even worse, we will spend eternity in a place of torment where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12).” I simply do not want to imagine a world, or the world to come for that matter, apart from the reality that Jesus Christ is alive, having swallowed up death in victory and having absorbed its sting (1 Cor. 15:54-55)! None of us really want to live in a world without Easter.

Thankfully, Jesus did rise from the dead! All that the Bible reports is true. Christian preaching and teaching is relevant and powerful. Our faith does not contradict reality. Our sins can be forgiven. Our future is full of hope for eternal life through our living Savior. That is what is Easter is all about. Jesus Christ is risen. Yes, He is risen indeed! I’d love for you to be my guest at Englewood Baptist Church as we celebrate this weekend. Join us on Saturday at 6:00 pm; or on Sunday at 8:00 am; 9:30 am; or 11:00 am.

Dr Adam B. Dooley is pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, TN, and author of Hope When Life Unravels. Contact him at adooley@ebcjackson.org. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBDooley.

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