Not surprisingly, being Easter, both morning and evening sermons were on the resurrection, so I’ll summarise in one chunk.
Without the resurrection, as the apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthian church, there would be no hope for the Christian. There would be no Christianity without the resurrection. For, unlike almost every other religion, being a Christian is not about following the teachings of a dead man, but trusting in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin and guilt as well as the resurrection of the believer, and knowing the living Christ for eternal life. The resurrection is crucial.
So how do we know the resurrection is true?
Paul starts off mentioning the eye-witness accounts of the apostles and many others, as well as his own encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus Road. John, in his account, mentions how Mary Magdalene first found the tomb, which in first century Palestine you wouldn’t concoct, as women were considered unreliable, but John is sticking to the truth. He then goes into great detail how the burial clothes were arranged, mentioning how he and Peter had raced to the tomb on hearing Mary’s testimony. The fact that the clothes were arranged, rather than strewn about the grave, indicated the grave had not been plundered by thieves, but that they were left there deliberately. There was no sign of the Roman soldiers either who, as military men, would not have left their posts without good reason.
Later on, John and the other apostles encountered the risen Christ, not as an ethereal being, but as a living, talking, walking, eating body. The Gospels record how he invited them to touch him, to put their hands in his wounds, how he ate with them and appeared before many others.
In all of this, neither Paul nor John had to argue against those who had any evidence that Jesus was dead. There were no authorities, Jew or Gentile, who could claim to have evidence against the resurrection of Jesus Christ, even though they had every motive to discredit him.
Paul also remarks that, as Christians themselves demonstrate the love of Christ to those around them, they are living proof that Christ is alive and working through them. For if Christ were not raised from the dead, it would be our own effort which on its own is incapable of sustaining itself, yet the power of Christ constrains us to do his will.
It would require greater faith to believe that Christ were not raised from the dead, than to believe he is alive.
Let us then live our lives knowing Christ and serving him, for that ultimately is our chief end.