A raindrop falls at seven miles per hour. Polar bears are left-handed. Pac-Man has 240 dots on each mazed screen. The electric chair was invented by a dentist (which explains a few things for me). A quarter, minted by the US Treasury is edged by 119 individual ridges. A house fly hums, more or less, in the key of F. And we all lose about 200 hairs a day (though some people are obviously skewing the average in a negative direction).
All of the above is true, but who really cares? What use are such trivial, meaningless facts unless you are playing some board game? Yes, there are things that are true but it’s hard to say they matter. But on the other hand, some truths are absolutely crucial to one’s life, as these essential truths makes a real difference.
To the end, consider the truth behind Easter. Christians believe, in the words of the Creed, that Jesus Christ “was crucified, died, and was buried; and on the third day He rose again from the dead.” If this is not true – if there is no resurrection – it is the obliteration of Christian faith.
What Paul said to the first generation of believers remains in effect even until today: If Christ has not been raised from the dead then Christian preaching is a farce, we believe in an absurd superstition, and we who are Christians – above all other people – should be given nothing but sympathy, for we have believed a boldfaced lie.
Nothing else in all of Christian belief carries this much importance. Deny the inspiration of Scripture; faith will continue. Rip out the “disputed” books of the New Testament like Jude, Revelation, or Hebrews; the church will press on. Argue about the virgin birth, the historicity of Jesus’ miracles, the modes and means of baptism, communion, and the sacraments – diverse believers have learned to do all of this quite well and have remained friends.
But without the resurrection of Jesus, everything collapses. Even the cross; because if Jesus was not raised from the dead on Easter Sunday following that terrible Good Friday, then the best case scenario we have is Jesus as a misguided martyr. And at worst, his death is a tragic waste of young life as a foolish carpenter attempted to do something cosmic and historic with lunatic ambitions.
Thus, to disregard the resurrection is not to expand the horizons of the Christian faith by cutting its mythical moorings; it is to bring the whole operation to a lamentable end. Take away the resurrection, and there is absolutely nothing left in which to profess any measure of faith.
Yet, our confession remains the same, as it has for these thousands of years: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” For Christians this is the very core of who we are, the essential truth that makes all the difference. It is the truth that makes “life worth the living, just because Jesus Christ lives.”