Reflection/Devotional: The gospel is the “good news.” Therefore, the gospel is not that Jesus died for your sins. Did that get your attention? That Jesus died for your sins is absolutely vital to the gospel, but it alone cannot carry the weight of the gospel. We know this because Paul tells us. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” The resurrection is the crux of the gospel. It is the truth upon which all of Christianity hangs. It is, therefore, the most significant historical event in all of history! The resurrection is the vindication of Jesus, the public declaration of the Father that Jesus was who he said he was. The resurrection is the proof that the Christian story is the true story of the whole world. Not only for those who believe it, but for all people. The resurrection is the reality that we did not waste our time. Our life spent in devotion and service to God is not a waste of time because it is the appropriate response to the single greatest event in all of human history. God the Father did in fact raise His Son Jesus from the dead. The grave was occupied on Friday and Saturday, yet empty on Sunday morning. These are facts, and facts that we must be prepared to know and present in defense of this historic event. Because if Christ is not raised, then we are of all men most to be pitied. But because he was raised, because there is an enormous pile of evidence to support it, we can have confidence in proclaiming and defending it. We should preach about, teach about it, talk about it, and learn to defend it. Peter did. The apostles did. They couldn’t help but preach and teach and talk about it, and Peter certainly defends it in Acts 2:24-32. What is also obvious is that Peter spends the majority of his sermon, the first evangelistic sermon of the church, no less, talking about and defending the resurrection. Peter and Paul and all the rest of the apostles were united in their proclamation that a gospel without the resurrection was no gospel at all. A gospel centered upon the resurrection, however, had the power to change the world–and they were right, because it has, and will continue to do, provided we don’t neglect our responsibility. So let us witness, empowered by the Holy Spirit and informed (both Scripturally and historically) by the truth of the resurrection.
Read 1 Corinthians 15, Acts 2:24-32, and Acts 13:26-43.
1. What do you notice that these passages have in common regarding the resurrection?
2. How comfortable are you defending the resurrection? What areas do you wish you could defend better?
3. What evidence is there to support the resurrection? Where would you go to find more?
4. How does/should the resurrection impact our daily life? Work? Evangelism? etc.
Scripture Memory: “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.”–Acts 2:32
- The Meaning of Easter by N.T. Wright
- Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
- “The Gladness of the Risen God” by John Piper
- Sermons on 1 Corinthians 15 by John Piper
- “The First Christian Sermon, Part 2” by Alistair Begg
- “The Resurrection of Christ” by Alistair Begg