But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. (NLT)
My faith doesn’t stand or fall on whether Jesus taught the short or longer version of the Lord’s Prayer. I will not abandon my faith if I can’t reconcile the histories written in the books of Kings and of Chronicles. I am not thrown into hopeless despair if I can’t make head nor tail of some parts of Daniel. These and many other things are secondary matters. They might puzzle or even frustrate me, but I will not surrender my faith as a result.
But if it were to be established that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then the entire structure of my faith must collapse. Jesus would be proved to be a liar. The Biblical testimonies would be pious fiction. Jesus would be just another brave martyr. Death would still be the end. Sin would have the last word.
As it is, we have pretty sound evidence for the resurrection. These gospel stories are to be read as sober historical narratives written in the lifetimes of both friendly and hostile eye witnesses. While we recognise that dead people generally stay dead, in this case there is an exception to the rule. If we find that hard to swallow, then the alternatives are even less palatable.
Jesus is who he said he was. Jesus conquered sin and death on our behalf. In the light of that, all else is well and truly secondary.
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