Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 15:19 seem to be the most significant and profound words ever written about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He writes, “If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
I asked a non-Christian person last week if I was crazy for believing that Jesus died, rose, and ascended into heaven and that I am living my life according to his word. This person did not believe Jesus really rose from the dead. He looked at me and answered, “No.” (Honestly, I think he just didn’t want to offend me.) I replied back with something to the affect of, “If Jesus didn’t rise, then I’m crazy for believing a hoax. You don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. Therefore, you think I believe a lie and/or a hoax and furthermore, I must be crazy if I believe it.”
He refused to concede. It makes perfect sense though, doesn’t it? As the great C.S. Lewis said, you either must make Jesus your Lord or not–for he did not leave us any other options. Jesus really did die on a cross. Jesus really did rise from the dead. Jesus really did appear to more than 500 people at one time. Jesus really does reign in heaven right now and in the hearts of those who confess him. He’s either your Lord or something else is.
At the end of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul sums up his 57 verse treatise of the resurrection with one simple application: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (v. 58). Paul’s words are clear: Jesus is risen, so you can be unwavering in your faith in him, which should result in continued, quality work for him. It is not in vain, because he is risen. It is not in vain, because he reigns on high. It is not in vain, because one day we will be raised to new life with him.
May we remind ourselves this Easter that Jesus is still alive and our work, no matter the cost, will never be in vain.