In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul made a sobering observation: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (I Corinthians 15:13-14).
What if? What if Jesus had been crucified but never rose from the dead? What if His tomb were still occupied today? How would life be different?
There would be no power to mitigate the gloom and despair of utter hopelessness…no heaven to live for…no comfort in times of sorrow, and no rest in seasons of weariness. There would be no healer to turn to when we are sick, and no one to help us break free from chains of addiction. We would be on our own – and, sadly, history has proven over and over again that our own is just not enough.
Thankfully, though, we’ll never have to find out what life would be like if Jesus were still in the grave. Not long ago, I visited Israel and stood inside what is believed to be the tomb where Jesus was laid. Someone wrote this triumphant message on the door leading out of the grave: “He is not here – for He is risen.”
The biggest “if” turns out to be no “if” at all. The angel declared in no uncertain terms, “Go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.”
Our preaching is not vain. Our faith is not vain. Jesus is alive and well, and, to quote the old song, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”
He is risen!