“If Christ is Not Risen…”
“And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty, and your faith is also empty.”
I Cor. 15:14 NKJV
If the resurrection happened today, the media would be filled with “fact checkers” trying to verify if the reports were true or false. The government would have its official version of the events. The religious establishment would also put their spin on things. And everyday people who saw the Risen Christ would keep telling others what they witnessed.
Two thousand years ago, we saw the same scenario being played out. Pilate and the Roman soldiers had their official take on the events. The religious leaders were spreading “fake news” that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body. All total, a little over 500 everyday people and followers of Jesus told others about their encounter with the Risen Lord.
Paul, in his great explanation of the resurrection makes it the single most important fact for people to consider. If Jesus is not risen, then Christianity has been nothing but a lie. If it is a lie, then according to 1 Cor. 15:14, “our preaching is empty, and your faith is also empty.” In other words, there is nothing to it but fake news.
Today, if we fact checked the resurrection, then we can come away with certain facts about the resurrection. A consensus of scholars, both believers and nonbelievers, who study the bible for its historical content, agree on seven facts concerning the resurrection. They are:
1. Jesus died and was buried.
2. His followers had experiences they believed were with the risen Jesus.
3. His follower’s lives were transformed and they were willing to die for their faith in the resurrection.
4. The resurrection was taught and believed in early creeds soon after the crucifixion.
5. Jesus’ brother James, an unbeliever and skeptic, became a Christian after his encounter with the resurrected Jesus.
6. The persecutor Paul became a Christian after he encountered the resurrected Jesus.
7. The tomb was empty.
On Sunday, February 21, 2021, we will begin a sermon series on each of these facts. The title of the series is: “Fact Checking the Resurrection”. The purpose of the series is to examine these facts and provide you with information you can use to help explain why we believe in the resurrection. The key to the resurrection is not just knowing the facts, but to have faith in the resurrected Christ. The tomb may be empty, but our message and faith are not.
I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor,