I was born in a non-Christian family. A few years ago, while I was gaining interest in learning more about Jesus Christ, one of the things that I was not paying much attention to, was His resurrection. I used to think that Jesus taught so many good things about living a better life, and it should not actually matter whether He was resurrected or not. At that time, I used to wonder that why Christians were so particular about His resurrection.
After observing Jesus closely from the Gospels, and researching documentation from various sources (I mentioned two of them below this article), I confirm that I only understood Jesus superficially if I did not learn that He was indeed raised from the dead. If you are inquisitive like me, you may be curious to ask why should we consider the resurrection of Christ to be an unparalleled historical event.
To answer this question, we need to observe the kind of claims that Jesus made. He said that He was the Son of God who came to die for the sins of this whole world, and He would rise from the dead on the third day as a proof that we were forgiven and redeemed by God.
If Christ’s resurrection were not true, then He was not the Son of God. He was killed, and that was the end to it. We could even consider Him delusional for making many grandiose promises. No one in his right mind would make an exclusive claim like “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” as He did. As the literary critic C.S.Lewis described, Jesus is either a lunatic or a liar or the true Lord God. You must make your choice.
If Christ’s resurrection were not true, then probably one of the other theories about God is true. According to some of these other theories, we would be reborn as an animal or an insect or a bird because of our karma, or we would be absorbed into a non-personal God at some point after losing all our desires, or we would be judged by a strict God who has been weighing our good deeds against evil deeds, and so on. Or there is no God at all. Then we are nothing more than intelligent animals who are just trying to survive with no meaning and purpose.
The God that Jesus represented is an intensely personal God who is just, holy, love, creative and power. He seeks after the sinners, quick to forgive, slow to anger. He is like a good shepherd who would leave behind ninety-nine sheep in order to find one sheep that is lost. He would even give up His life for the sake of His sheep.
So, what if Christ’s resurrection were true?
If Christ’s resurrection were true, then the God that Jesus represented exists for real. This life will be a rapturous journey of love with our Heavenly Father. We are here for a purpose. We are here to explore and enjoy our Father’s creation, and to know and comprehend Him more intimately. We are here to represent our Heavenly Father and His qualities such as creativity, love, justice and power.
If Christ’s resurrection were true and it becomes real to us, it changes everything! It changes our goals and desires in this life. We live with a new hope. We live as citizens of the Kingdom of God knowing that one day we will be meeting face to face with God. We will stop worrying. We will not be fearful of death. We will get away from escapism and unnecessary religious rituals, and learn to live wholly in this world. We will gain mastery over sin. No hatred, no wars, no jealousies, no greed.
I have noticed that many people who are inclined to do good things are turning away from doing good, and are becoming cold-hearted because the resurrection of Christ is not real to them. They are deceived to think that it is a lie without even exploring the evidence once. And religious people who do not know Christ intimately, go through unnecessary rituals or suffering to please some god of their imagination. It makes me sad that they are being misled.
Because many people have observed many senseless (and even harmful) things about God from other theories, they are thinking that Jesus Christ is also a lie and are shifting towards atheism. Only if, they knew that the world they see right now had been contaminated because of the evil, and that the resurrection of Christ was true to signify the victory over the evil, how beautiful their lives would be! Only if they could look beyond hypocrites who claim themselves to be followers of Christ, and focus on Jesus Christ instead, how much joy is awaiting them!
If Christ’s resurrection were true, then there is hope to this broken world. Death is not the end.
Some sources to study Jesus more closely:
New Testament Documents. Are they reliable? by Professor F.F.Bruce
Dethroning Jesus. Exposing Popular Culture's Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ, by Darrell L. Bock Ph.D. and Daniel B. Wallace Ph.D.