Truly, if our hope in Christ were limited to this life only, we should, of all mankind be the most pitied! But the glorious fact is that Christ did rise from the dead… I Corinthians 15:19-20
John Phillips, commenting on Paul’s words—“If it all ends at the grave, if it is all a pious enchanting dream, if all horizons end in a tomb, what then? If that be the case, we have no earthly hope. To be a Christian in a hostile world can be costly business. It can mean privation and persecution, suffering, hardship, and martyrdom, sometimes of the most horrible and painful kind. Believers down through the centuries, have paid gladly the full cost of discipleship in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection and the glory that is to follow. But if it were all for nothing, if Christ did not rise, if the tomb triumphs after all, then, indeed, we are of all men the most miserable. We might have settled for a life of ease and pleasure. We might have gone in for the good things of this life. Instead, we threw them all away to go in search of a mirage in the desert which proved to be an illusion after all.
But, the resurrection of Christ is indeed an undeniable fact of history. It is an indispensable fact of theology. Everything hinges on the Resurrection. Jesus did rise! As a result, all the great doctrines of the New Testament faith ring out with a clear and clarion call––not only forgiveness but justification, not only redemption but regeneration, not only remission of sin but sonship, heirship, and glory by-and -by!”
One great result of our resurrected Lord was the immediate change in the lives of His disciples. On the day of the crucifixion they were sad and full of fear… they were eleven men cowering in hopelessness. When reported of the resurrection they were doubtful and needed convincing. Upon seeing their resurrected Lord these once cowering men turned into those who feared no persecution. Consider the sceptic apostle, Thomas. He expressed no hope of any resurrection, he believed the death of Jesus would be the death of His kingdom––he had given up all intellectual belief. He had made up his mind that the opposing forces would be crushing to the Son of God. But then he saw and touched Jesus, Thomas exclaimed “My Lord and my God!” No wonder John Stott said, “Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.”
Consider James, not the apostle, but the brother of Jesus. Before the resurrection he did not believe Him (John 7:5). But after the resurrection, this same James is found with the disciples preaching Jesus as the Son of God. He goes on to pen his epistle that describes well his new relationship with Christ. He describes himself as “a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…”(James 1:1). How possibly does one make sense of his immediate transformation? We have but one option, and I Corinthians 15:7 gives us the answer, and it occurs after the resurrection––“After that He was seen by James.”
Back to Thomas, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” That statement from Jesus is to you and me this very day… Maranatha!