Bishop William R. Cannon was fond of declaring that our faith is based on three historical events . . . a manger crib, an old rugged cross, and an empty tomb. On Easter Sunday, we declare the good news of the empty tomb.
In 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 we read, “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.” (NRSV)
These words from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians are the earliest biblical reference to Jesus’s resurrection and the good news of the empty tomb. Paul wrote this letter from the Asian city of Ephesus around 54 or 55 A.D. Mark’s Gospel, the first gospel written, will not come together until 70 A.D. or so. Paul is giving us the straightforward truth, taught to him by the early leaders in the church.
This truth of the resurrection is power and impressive. Paul makes it clear that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then preaching is profitless. If Jesus did not come back to life, then our witness is worthless.
Fortunately for us, the eternal truth is that Jesus did rise from the dead. With this good news, we know that our efforts to proclaim the gospel are profitable and worthwhile and meaningful and significant!
A story is told of a foreign gentleman who embraced the Christian faith. This individual was asked why he came to say “yes” to the risen Lord! The man replied, “It’s like this. If you are walking along and come to a fork in the road and two people are there, and one is alive and one is not, which person are you going to take directions from?”
That really is what it comes down to. We have the right and freedom to choose how we live. But with pride and honor I choose to follow the one who lives and reigns forever and ever.
On Easter Sunday, we are given the opportunity to choose our risen Savior and embrace the new opportunities and possibilities that come with a faith life! Might Easter be a special time for each of us!
A Thousand Blessings! Scott