“What happens when you die?” Do you cease to exist? Are you reincarnated in some other form? Is there a heaven and a hell where we will live out eternity either in great bliss or with great dread? There is only one person that is truly qualified to answer that question. His name is Jesus. He was crucified, died, and was buried…and three days later, in keeping with his own prediction and Biblical prophecy, he rose again from the dead! No one else has done that. There has only been one resurrection in human history: Jesus of Nazareth. And so when it comes to the question of “What happens when you die?,” we would do well to listen to Jesus. It only makes sense. In John chapter 5, Jesus gives us a synopsis of what we can expect after we die. In verse 24, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” But Jesus’ resurrection not only guarantees our own future resurrection after we die, it actually satisfies six of our deepest longings in this life, which are outlined in 1 Corinthians 15:12-20.
- Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we know that our sins are forgiven. If God holds our sins against us, then we have no hope of receiving anything else from Him. Everything hangs on forgiveness. That is where it begins. The impact of Jesus’ death on the cross was so complete and our justification so decisive, that when God raised Jesus from the dead, it validated our forgiveness. Had Jesus not raised from the dead, how would we know whether or not his death had any saving impact? We wouldn’t. But Paul says, because Christ rose from the dead, we can know that we have been forgiven. We know that we have been reconciled to God our Creator. Our guilt is no longer a barrier to that relationship.
- In verse 14, we see a second longing that Jesus’ resurrection meets in our lives. Instead of saying negatively that our faith is not in vain, we can say positively that because of Jesus’ resurrection, our faith in Him is well-founded. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, there is someone we can trust absolutely. Deep in the heart of every person is a longing for someone that you can count on through thick and thin. Someone who is absolutely trustworthy. Someone who, if you put your faith in him, won’t let you down. Jesus’ death proves his love for us, and the resurrection proves his power over every enemy of life. Because of the resurrection, you can know that there really is someone out there you can count on. Someone who is absolutely trustworthy. His name is Jesus. You can confidently commit your life to Him (Galatians 2:20).
- Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know that what the apostles proclaimed is absolutely true (verse 15). They are not false witnesses, but accurate, truthful witnesses. Our young people today are being taught that there is no absolute truth: something that is true at all times in every culture, in every circumstance, whether we like it or not. Without the conviction that there are absolutes that can be shared and made the basis for society, the only option is anarchy, where everyone does what is right in his own eyes. That is where we are as a society today. The need for absolute truth is a deep seated need of the human soul, and is necessary for the proper functioning of human society. Jesus has a right to tell us what is absolutely true, because by the resurrection, God proved him to be absolutely true!
- Because of Jesus’ resurrection, Christians are to be envied. From verse 14, we see that because Jesus rose from the dead, our preaching is not in vain. Far from it! The message of Christ crucified and risen again is powerful, meaningful, valid, and significant.
- Verse 17: Because of Jesus’ resurrection, the message of Christ crucified and risen is powerful, meaningful, valid, and significant. If Christ was not raised, then living for him, doing what he says, and following his will is a great delusion. We should be pitied like insane people who live by hallucinations. But since Jesus has been raised and is alive and reigns as King forever, our obedience, our love, and our self-denial is not just “not-to-be-pitied,” but is positively enviable.
- Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we know that those who have died in faith have not perished! They are alive forevermore! They have entered into the joy of their Master. They have gone to their eternal home, where there is no more sin, no more pain, no more death. Jesus’ resurrection guarantees all of that.
Application / Challenge
This Easter Sunday, let’s rejoice in the six precious gifts that God has so graciously offered to his children.