Another Easter weekend has been neatly placed in the history books, the kids are back to school, the work force is in position to have a great 2nd quarter, and churches are tallying their attendance from the major holiday. This particular holiday seemed non-holidayish, another friend passed away. His loss was tragic, much too young to pass, and we miss him already. My friend is, and I stake my existence on this, in the presence of Christ, done with the physical and mental stress of living, now at peace. His family, however, a different story. His wife and children have much grief to deal with...God grant them strength.
If you attended services this weekend, you more than likely heard the story of Christ's resurrection from the dead. This is the foundational truth that all Christian theology is based. Without the risen Jesus....no Christianity, no church, no Christmas, Easter, carols, Santa, bunny, egg hunts, etc. This is what the majority of "Christians" can tell you about their faith. There are other things society enjoys today from resurrection. Elementary schools, hospitals, universities, free enterprise, science, invention, discovery, and freedom. This is the tangible we have benefitted from the resurrection of Christ. Mankind would be, (many would argue this-save it, I read secular and Christian history, they agree), 1500 years behind, without Christianity.
"For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 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 most pitiable." 1Cor.15: 16-19 (NKJV)
So here it is, no resurrection, no Christianity. Those men who followed Christ gave all, or lost all to spread this message. They faced constant peril and hardship for the Gospel. Eventually, all but one of the disciples of Jesus was martyred for their belief. Enemies of the cross today, place the disciples as profiteers and liars, making them out to be the original "TV evangelist" type, preaching for gain...please. Paul, who wrote the above passage, later said in that passage, "why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?...I die daily, if the dead do not rise, 'let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!" He later lost his head on Nero's chopping block. Once a persecutor of the church, he met Jesus on his way to Damascus, and turned the world upside down. Another resurrection result.
The opponents of Christianity point out, with regularity, all of the wars and bloodletting from the churches history, never giving thought to man's greed and evil practice. Jesus had nothing to do with that, the Gospel of grace was only used as a tool of evil church leaders, seeking to promote themselves in history and gather artifacts, and taking "holy" real estate, at the cost of pagans. That is truth. Jesus preached peace, reconciliation to God, mercy to the poor, loving God and your neighbors, and faith in him, and His disciples did and still do as well, another resurrection result.
Because of Christ's being raised from the dead, I'll see my friend again. I know that as Paul the apostle, and the disciples, that giving this lifetime, even through hardships, does not compare to the eons ahead with Christ. My friend sees that with clarity, now that the veil of living has been removed from his eyes. I certainly cannot give you all of the results of what the resurrection has done for mankind, but for me, total dependence on God through belief in Jesus. All of the pleasures experienced outside of this grace, do not compare to life in Christ. The results are in for me...I win, thank God!
Thanks for reading. God bless and keep you all! Keith