Pastor Steve Ellison
In 1933, A.H. Ackley wrote, “I serve a risen Savior; He’s in the world today. I know that He is living, whatever men may say. I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him, He’s always near. He lives, He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!… You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.” Our experience is a wonderful proof that the tomb is empty and Christ is alive and well today. His presence in our lives affirms that truth. The fact that we were radically and permanently changed when we were converted is very good evidence that Christ is risen. In addition to our personal experience with the risen Christ, the Bible also provides evidence through eyewitness accounts.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 summarizes the resurrection appearances of Christ and indicates the significance of His resurrection, “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (NASU) If each of these eyewitnesses were given 15 minutes to testify it would take more than five whole days around the clock to finish the testimony. Many of these eye-witnesses were still alive when First Corinthians was written. The fact that these eye-witnesses did not dispute Paul’s account is great evidence that Christ lives.
Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 declares that the testimony of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was of “first importance”. 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 further emphasizes the significance of Christ’s resurrection, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 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. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then 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.” (NASU) Those are strong words. If Christ is not resurrected, we are false witnesses and our faith in Christ is useless and we are not forgiven of our sins. If Christ is not resurrected, we should be pitied more than anyone else.
Aren’t you glad for the twin proofs: the one in your heart and conduct as well as the solid testimony of so many eye-witnesses? If you do not have personal experience to verify Christ’s resurrection, will you take the word of these eye-witnesses and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation? Your sins can be forgiven and your place assured in heaven only by God’s grace and your faith in Jesus Christ alone. Romans 10:9 states it very plainly, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NASU) Will you cast yourself on His mercy and trust Him today? Happy Easter.