BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
All the four gospels give details of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10). Although the religious leaders mounted propaganda to deny his resurrection claiming that his disciples came to steal his body (Matt 28:11-15), indeed, Jesus is risen from the dead; he is alive forever more!
The Bible says the Sadducees said that there was no resurrection (Matt 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 23:8). If you don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead just like many today, you’re like the Sadducees and the other religious leaders who denied Jesus’ resurrection.
But suppose Jesus did not rise from the dead, what would have been the implication? If truly Jesus died but his body decayed, saw corruption (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27, 31, 13:35), and he never resurrected what would have been the consequences? That’s the focus of this message, and I’ve been able to identify some consequences.
1.Jesus would have been a liar. This would also have created credibility problem for Jesus as regards all other things he said. Before Jesus was arrested, he had told his disciples ahead that this would happen. Mark 9:31-32 says, “For He taught His disciples and said to them, ‘The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.’ But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him” (NKJV). In Matt 17:22-23, Jesus also spoke about his betrayal, death and resurrection. And, again in Luke 9:43-45, he talked about his impending betrayal.
Hear what the leading priests and the Pharisees said when they went to Pilate: “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will be raised from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he came back to life! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first. Pilate replied, ‘Take guards and secure it the best you can.’ So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it” (Matt 27:63-66 NLT). Despite all the security at the tomb, God the Father raised Jesus from the dead.
If Jesus promised he would die and rise from the grave the third day (John 2:19-22) and it happened, we can believe every other thing he said which is not as difficult as dying and coming back to life. If he had not risen, there will be enough reason to disbelieve other things he had said. He would have been a liar. But he is not a liar; he is the truth (John 14:6). Hallelujah! Jesus died and is alive forever more.
2. His death would have been in vain. If Jesus didn’t resurrect, his death would have served no eternal purpose. Crucifixion was not something new. Many people had been crucified in nations of the ancient world and in the Roman Empire before Jesus’ crucifixion. Two thieves were actually crucified with Jesus (Matt 27:38; Mark 15:27).
What had not been heard of before was that a crucified person came back to life after being buried. The death of Jesus was not supposed to be an end but a means to an end; it had a purpose to achieve which was accomplished by his resurrection.
3. There would have been nothing like Christianity and our faith would have been in vain. Christianity is the only faith that the principal person behind it died and resurrected. Those who founded all other religions died and their bodies decomposed in the grave – none of them resurrected. This is one of the unique things about Christianity. Jesus died, was buried, resurrected and is alive forevermore.
The implication of Jesus Christ not resurrecting would have been that death is the end of everything, and our faith as Christians is useless; there would be no gospel to preach. I won’t even be writing this.
1 Cor 15:14 says, “And if Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless” (NLT). Not only that, it means that as Christians, our faith is futile, we’re still in our sins, we have no hope of resurrection and we’re the most miserable, pitiable people in the world (verses 16-19).
Without the resurrection of Jesus, there is no Christianity, and the gospel is not worth preaching or listening to. It becomes a dead body of knowledge seeking to put life in people! It is dead on arrival!
4. Christians would have been condemned. This is because we would not enjoy justification and there would be nobody to intercede for us. Without Jesus’ resurrection, we would not have been justified. According to Rom 4:25, Jesus was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification. Without Jesus dying and resurrecting, we would not be able to escape the wrath of God or His coming judgment. 1 Thess 1:10 says Jesus, whom God raised from the dead (i-e not just Jesus who died) is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.
Rom 8:34 says, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (NKJV). But there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). Christians have escaped condemnation because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and their faith in him.
5. Those who believe in Jesus would not have been able to live a new life. The death and resurrection of Jesus enables us to walk in the new life. Rom 6:4 says, “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives” (NLT). Without Jesus’ resurrection, it’s not possible for anyone to live the new life the Bible talks about.
If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away and all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17). Col 2:12 says, “For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead” (NLT underlined mine). And, according to Col 3:11, what matters in this new life is Christ who lives in those who believe in him, and not whether they’re a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Because of this new life made possible by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can be fruitful (Rom 7:4).
6. There would have been no hope of resurrection for believers and no living hope of eternal life. The resurrection of Jesus is a pointer to the future resurrection of Christians. That’s why Jesus is called the firstborn from the dead (Col 1:18) and the firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep (died) (1 Cor 15:20).
Paul, defending himself before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Council, said he was on trial because of his hope in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6).
The hope that believers will resurrect is only possible because of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus had not resurrected, it is futile hoping for resurrection. But Jesus rose from the dead, and is alive forevermore. He said in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again” (NLT).
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead but he won’t be the only one to be born from the dead. There is resurrection for every Christian (1 Cor 15:20-23).
Actually, both the saints and the sinners will be resurrected. However, the righteous will resurrect into eternity with God and the sinner into eternity with the devil in hell. Acts 24:15 says there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
The resurrection of Jesus gives believers a living hope of eternal life both present and future (1 Peter 1:3-4). Without Jesus’ resurrection, everything ended over two thousand years ago and there’s nothing to hope for.
7. Believers in Jesus would not have been able to have access to the life of God in their mortal body. Rom 8:11 says, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you” (NLT).
Take note of that phrase, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead…” If Jesus never rose from the dead, there would not be such a statement. Such Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead would not be in existence. But the Spirit or power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and is dwelling in believers to give life to our short-lived, perishable bodies. Paul said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16 NKJV).
8. The Holy Spirit would not have come and gifts would not have been given to the church. The coming of the Holy Spirit was premised on Jesus going and sending him. While promising the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus didn’t speak as someone who would die and his body would rot in the grave. He spoke as someone leaving this earth and going to his Father. Hear his exact words: “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more” (John 16:5-10 NKJV).
Earlier in John 15:26, Jesus had also promised to send the Holy Spirit: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (NKJV).
If Jesus had not risen from the dead, he wouldn’t have ascended to heaven, and would subsequently not have sent the Holy Spirit. That means his body would have rotten in the grave and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have come. There would have been no ministry of the Holy Spirit on earth today. Imagine this earth today without the Holy Spirit! There would have been more terrifying events happening. Glory be to God who raised Jesus from the dead, and Jesus returned to the Father who sent him (John 7:33).
Nevertheless, before Jesus ascended to heaven, he commanded his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem until the fulfillment of the Promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit in a few days (Acts 1:4-5).
Jesus ascended to heaven thereafter and his disciples obeyed his instruction. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came as his followers were together in the Upper Room (Acts 2:1-4). Without Jesus’ resurrection, the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have been fulfilled. And, as I said earlier, Jesus would have become a liar.
In addition to the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent, he also gave ministry gifts to the church – apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers. Eph 4:7-16 tells us about these gifts and their role in the church. This happened only after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
9. Christians would not have been able to pray in the name of Jesus. When Jesus was on earth, disciples were using his name and they were getting results. For example, Luke 10:17 says, “When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, ‘Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!’” (NLT). But Jesus had not died at that time. What would happen upon his death? Would the disciples still be able to get results using his name?
Hear Jesus talking about the sorrow his death would cause the disciples and the joy it would turn to: “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:22-23 NKJV). That means after his death and resurrection, his disciples’ sorrow would turn to joy, and his name would remain as powerful as ever because he would be alive.
When Jesus resurrected and ascended to heaven, he left his name for believers on earth – to pray to the Father in his name. In fact, when he ascended to heaven, God gave him a name above other names – other names were made subject to him (Phil 2:9-11).
The name of Jesus will do what Jesus would have done if he were on earth physically. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, he wouldn’t be different from others who died and their bodies decomposed in the grave. We would have no assurance of answers to our prayers because the person in whose name we would be praying would be dead, rotten in the grave! Nonetheless, Jesus is alive and his name is still full of wonder working power today.
Peter was preaching in Solomon’s Portico after the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate, and told the marveled crowd: “You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the author of life, but God raised him to life. And we are witnesses of this fact! ‘The name of Jesus has healed this man — and you know how lame he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has caused this healing before your very eyes’” (Acts 3:14-16 NLT).
There are countless outstanding testimonies everywhere today as people pray in the name of Jesus. You must have testified of this name in the past; the Lord shall give you new testimonies. In the name of Jesus, I command that miracle you desire to manifest now. Whether it is in the area of your health, finances, career, employment or marriage, I decree divine intervention now in Jesus’ name. I command any name working against your life and destiny, to surrender to the name of Jesus now.
Conclusion: There’s no doubt that Jesus died and resurrected. Jesus is alive! Because Jesus rose from the dead as he had promised, we can believe all the other promises he made. All his words shall come to pass. “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11 NKJV). Have you put your trust in him? Have you given your life to Jesus?
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God”
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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