If Jesus Is Dead, So What?

If Jesus Is Dead, So What?

I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
–Job 19:25

The resurrection of Jesus Christ isn’t just incidental; it is essential to the Christian faith. We can discover why by answering the question in the reverse: If Jesus is still dead, so what?

The apostle Paul made the case for Christ’s resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. How do we know Christ rose from the dead? First, Paul talked about the evidence of Scripture. He reminded the church of the gospel in a nutshell: “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” (vv. 3-4). Christ’s death was not an accident; it was prophesied in Scripture. For example, seven hundred years before Christ was born, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would die for the sins of the world and be buried in a rich man’s tomb (53:9). Hundreds of prophesies said the Messiah would die.

Christ’s resurrection was also prophesied in Scripture. Psalm 16:10 says, “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” In Job 19:25, Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Now, you may say, “Wait a minute; you are using the Bible to prove the Bible. Isn’t that circular reasoning?” Let’s pull back for a moment. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians between AD 50 and AD 55. That is around fifteen to twenty years after the resurrection. That’s a historical fact. Here’s why that is significant. When Paul was writing this letter, the resurrection was already part of the Christian faith. In fact, Paul was likely quoting a hymn that was already being sung in the early church. Why is that important? Because we know from experts that it takes from one hundred to two hundred years for a myth to corrupt a historical event. There are people who say that the resurrection is something Jesus’s followers tacked on hundreds of years after His death to make a good story even better. But that’s impossible. We have it right here in 1 Corinthians, only fifteen to twenty years after Jesus lived, and the resurrection is already a part of Scripture. People were proclaiming the resurrection throughout Jerusalem.

Just imagine that this week a new book comes out claiming that after Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004, three days later he arose from his grave in Simi Valley, California, appeared to five hundred people at one time, and today he’s alive. Would that book gain any traction? No, it would be laughed off the shelf. Nobody would believe that. Why? Because Reagan died only fifteen to twenty years ago. We can go to Simi Valley and see his grave. We can talk to the five hundred so-called eyewitnesses and shoot holes in their story to prove it didn’t happen. People aren’t going to give their lives saying, “I believe Ronald Reagan lives, and I’ve devoted my life to serving him.” Nobody would do that. Yet within a few days of the resurrection, thousands of people were not only proclaiming Jesus’s resurrection; they were giving their lives for it. That is how strong the evidence for the resurrection is.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “If Jesus Is Dead, So What?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.