So today Christians from all over the world celebrate the "resurrection" of Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, for one to call themselves a Christian, a 'believer' or even a disciple of Jesus Christ intimates the belief in resurrection. Paul, the earliest theologian of the young church maintained that salvation began with the belief that Jesus was raised from the dead (Romans 10:9). Pretty audacious, isn't it? Nevertheless, it is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.
The resurrection tells the world that death does not have the last word.
The resurrection tells the world that human beings were created for eternity's sake.
The resurrection empowers those who believe it with the very presence of God...
The resurrection is at the heart of an audacious hope.
The resurrection tells us that each and every one of us has a second chance in Christ.
Paul tells us that we are "to be pitied among all men" if we profess to follow Christ, but do not believe in the resurrection. Indeed, our belief is futile and of no worth (1 Corinthians 15:12ff). Truth be told, modern science cannot explain the resurrection; but then again, who would want to worship a god that was not the master of life and death?
Quite often, Protestants focus on Calvary's cross and rightly so. But the atonement of Christ is only half of his work. Indeed, the atonement would not be the atonement were it not for the resurrection from the dead. This resurrection was not expected by the disciples. It was not part of an elaborate plot to confound the temple rulers; and, it was not a first century "parlor trick." To attempt to explain away the resurrection by using reason or the canons of science is to say simply that your god is at best your science and at worst your self. Either way, you die in your sin, separated from God.
Because of the resurrection, I believe in second chances. Because of the resurrection, I believe in forgiveness before it is even asked. Because of the resurrection I can face the unknown. The tomb of Joseph of Arimathea is empty this morning: not from human chicanery or error; but because He lives.
Celebrate the empty tomb this morning and our second chance!