Have you ever had to do something that caused you to say, “Man, I am just wasting my time!”? Just the other day I was putting together a crib for my son. I thought I would try to put the crib together without the instructions. I felt like I was doing a decent job, but then I realized I had put a very important piece of the crib on backward! Because I had put that important piece in the wrong place, it messed up the entire crib. I literally wasted an hour of my time! The good news for my little family is that I wised up and read the instructions!
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul argues that the resurrection is true. He calls on 500 (yes, 500) witnesses to say, “Hey, this Jesus really did die and rise from the dead. If you don’t believe me, go and ask one of the 500 others who also saw him!” You see, the great hope of the Christian faith is found in the fact that Jesus actually did die and come back from the dead. He wants to be sure his readers know that the resurrection is not just some fairy tale. It was a real event that actually happened.
Paul goes to these great lengths because the resurrection of Jesus is maybe the most important piece of Christianity. Without it, the rest of it falls apart. Paul is making the point that if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then Christians are wasting their time. This means that we do not do the things we do as Christians just to have something to do. There is purpose in coming to church, reading the Bible, singing praise songs, praying, and sharing the gospel. But, that purpose disappears IF Jesus was not raised from the dead. Check out this list of things that Paul says is true if Jesus was not raised from the dead:
- Preaching is a waste of time (v. 14)
- Trusting Christ is a waste of time (v. 14)
- Your sins are not forgiven (v. 17)
- We have no hope after death (v. 18)
- We are wasting our lives (v. 19)
- People should feel sorry for us (v. 19)
Do you see how important the resurrection of Jesus is to your faith, life, and world? All of those important things we do in church, and all of those awesome things we believe about God mean absolutely nothing if Jesus was not raised from the dead. If the women would have found a dead and rotting body in the tomb the day they went to see Jesus’ body, they would be right to weep, cry, and be sad. We have no hope in this life or in life after death if Jesus was not raised from the dead. We are still guilty of sin, because if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then his death did not cancel the guilt of our sin.
Know that everything you do for Christ matters, because he did rise from the dead! Because that tomb was empty, Jesus is worthy of your full obedience and devotion. Know that believing in Jesus is worthy of your time. Know that obeying Jesus is worthy of your time. Know that your sins are forever forgiven and you have hope not only in this life, but in the next life as well. All because Jesus walked out of his tomb!
Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.