We just celebrated Easter last week. It was a special, unprecedented celebration in the history being done virtually through the internet by most—if not all—Christian families around the world.
Amid this very difficult time, when people desperately need comfort and encouragement, we are reminded of the hope of Easter. It is not a false hope created by a group of religious people to mislead nor manipulate others. This hope comes from the Creator and has been examined throughout generations.
Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, remains alive today (unlike the central figures of other religions or beliefs who had died). This conviction [that Jesus is alive] is not only supported by the Bible, but also by Qur’an. (It takes at least the testimony of two witnesses to establish the reliability of a matter. Although the latter book does not support the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, it does affirm the present existence of Jesus in heaven.)
I personally believe this is the most important life’s question one can (and should) ask: “Is Jesus Christ risen from the dead?”
If it is a myth: There is no hope for resurrection of the dead. No hope for afterlife. No meaning in life. No point to believe in God. All of us were born to perish, to stop existing sooner or later. We will never meet our loved ones on the other side. Life is miserable because the ultimate winner is death.
As Paul clearly stated: “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty… And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 17)
Reincarnation is not the solution because it could degrade the unique, priceless nature of humanity [who are created in the image of God]. It is also based on karma which means “you get what you deserve” and presumes human’s ability to achieve their own salvation. Karma puts human (creation) at the center of life and hence brings about a painful restlessness.
On the contrary, the central message of Gospel is grace—unmerited favor from God for those who have faith in Him. It is about the loving kindness of God, who gives us what we do not deserve (forgiveness and salvation). Grace puts God (the Creator) at the center of life and hence produces a peaceful rest.
Resurrection is a fact. Christians believe in resurrection, not reincarnation. This faith is founded upon the promise of God and built upon the power of God. Without Christ’s resurrection from death, there would be no Christianity.
Since Christ is risen, there is now hope for resurrection of the dead. The meaning of life is found in God, the Author of Life whom we can trust. We are born to live forever with Him through the Holy Spirit’s work in us. We will one day meet our loved ones in eternity. Life is a wonderful gift from God. The final enemy, death, is fully swallowed up in victory.
There are many testimonies to the evidence of Christ’s resurrection. As the historical evidence, Matt Perman wrote, there are at least three facts that prove the validity of His resurrection: (1) Empty tomb, (2) Resurrection appearances, (3) Church explosive growth and establishment.
Christ’s resurrection brings the full and final redemption of all creation, Dr. Harold Willmington wrote, in which every believer will receive a new body. According to the Bible, it will be a body of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39, John 20:27), recognizable (Luke 24:36-37, John 20:19-20), incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:42-43, 53-54), predominated by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:44, 49), and unlimited by time and space (Luke 24:31, 51).
Consider these three powerful statements of Jesus (recorded by John), Peter, and Paul concerning this most important event in the human history:
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live…” (John 11:25)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
One might ask, “How can you believe in something you have never experienced?” It is a valid question. I have never died and thus I do not know how it feels to be resurrected from death.
However, in fact, you do not have to experience (touch, feel, taste, smell, hear, or see) something in order to believe it. For instance, you do not have to contract a virus in order to believe its existence, do you?
It is your choice to believe. Choose wisely what you believe. But I can guarantee you that there is nothing to lose believing in Christ’s resurrection.
The truth is even more amazing: “You shall inherit eternal life.” This is the ultimate hope of mankind.
Vancouver, April 20, 2020