“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:21-27
Jesus made a promise to Martha that not only was there a resurrection, but that Jesus himself was the resurrection and the life, and that faith in him would result in eternal life. It’s why this same apostle John, would go on to write the greatest summary statement in all the Bible:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Paul said, if there is no resurrection then we are to be pitied. “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-6
IT’S WHY WE HAVE HOPE
Paul is recording the central claim of Christianity: Jesus proved his divinity by dying on the cross and rising again, thereby validating everything he said about the resurrection. It’s why we have hope that we who believe in Jesus will see our brother again, that this is not the end. The key here is the list of witnesses: after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to Cephas (Peter), the twelve, then 500 at one time, many of whom were still alive fifteen to twenty years later. It’s like Paul is saying: fact-check me on this one. I know it’s an outrageous claim, but go and talk to the witnesses yourself.
If someone stood up today and started claiming: there were no attacks on 9/11, a plane never flew into the side of Pentagon, even though that was almost twenty years ago, there are thousands of witnesses here that were there and could contradict that. 1 Corinthians is written twenty years after the event of the resurrection, with witnesses still alive, who saw Jesus alive after his death and burial and resurrection. And because Jesus rose from the dead, everything changes!
Here’s what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians about how Jesus’ resurrection secures our own resurrection:
“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.“ 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 54-57