“If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” 1 Cor. 15:14
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The answer given to St. Paul’s question in his First Letter to the Corinthians is fundamental to all that we do and say as Christians and as a Church. That Christ arose from the dead is the foundation of Christian life and witness.
Jesus died on the cross for our sins but if he stayed dead it might well have been a matter of speculation as to whether he had paid the price for our sins or whether he simply died biologically like anybody else crucified on a cross. But God did raise him up from the dead and that signaled to the world that Christ rose from the dead in spite of the various plans hatched to explain away an empty tomb.
The resurrection was believed in and taught as the principal truth of Christianity at the time of its occurrence. Men preached it who saw Jesus after his resurrection; men who at first were not easily convinced of the fact themselves had their unbelief overcome by the sheer evidence they had of it.
They had no motive for proclaiming a falsehood. The evangelists who wrote the Gospels were themselves eyewitnesses to the risen Christ and declared with clear consciences the truth of the resurrection. Paul of Tarsus, persecutor-in-chief of the Christians, was fully convinced through his encounter with Christ and the testimony of his close disciples that Jesus indeed rose from the dead. Read his letters and you can be left in no doubt that he believed in the resurrection of Jesus.
If Christ be not risen, it follows that the world is without a savior. If Christ be not risen, it follows that the existence and phenomena of Christianity have no adequate cause. If Christ be not risen, it follows that the teaching of the Gospels about God’s love for the world is unreliable. If Christ be not risen, it follows that we have no certain evidence of a future life. If Christ be not risen, we have no basis to hope for our souls; we are forever dead in our sins. However, with the evidence there is for the resurrection of Christ, generations down through the centuries have concluded that beyond all reasonable doubt Christ died and rose again. Further the Holy Spirit leads us to belief in the risen Christ.
Let us therefore rejoice in this the Queen of Seasons; let the resurrection not be just a matter of intellectual assent, but let it especially influence our lives as we live each and every day in anticipation of our being caught up to join the risen Christ and live with him in eternity.
Let us ardently proclaim what he said, “I am the Resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. I am the First and the Last, and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore.”
“The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!”
Kingsley Lewis, Ep. Fr. Conrad Spencer, Ep. Fr.