Sometimes we make the basics of our faith too complicated. Christianity rises or falls on a central set of historical realities.

  • Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by the Romans at the request of the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem.

  • Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb that was sealed shut and guarded by soldiers.
  • Jesus rose from the dead, and those who knew him best, saw him and ate with him after his resurrection and lived as witnesses testifying to his resurrection until their lives were taken from them because of their faith.

Jesus' once fearful disciples then proclaimed this truth about Jesus fearlessly no matter their own personal cost. This handful of powerless Galilean peasants changed the face of history and impacted much of their known world in less than thirty years.

How was that possible?

Why did this group of Jesus' earliest disciples replace their fear with confident boldness?

Where did they get the courage and motivation to take such risks and make such an incredible impact?

Paul, an apostle who joined the Jesus movement of the first century after first opposing it, emphasized the core truth on which their faith and salvation depended(1 Corinthians 15:1-2, 8). This core truth was rooted in their eyewitness testimony (1 Corinthians 15:5-7). Paul emphasized Jesus' resurrection, and their bold witness to this truth changed everything.

What was this core truth?

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 (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

James Nored shares a simple, but powerful story that celebrates the resilient faith of those who believe in Jesus' resurrection in this week's video:

As James emphasized, Jesus' resurrection changed everything. It changed everything for this group of emotionally distraught and defeated friends of Jesus. They locked themselves in an upper room, hiding in fear. Everything they had invested themselves in doing for the previous three and half years appeared to be lost. Their lives were in danger. Then everything changed. Jesus' resurrection revived their dead hope. Their experiences with the resurrected Jesus gave them a renewed sense of purpose, and the Holy Spirit empowered their testimony. Their world would never be the same.

Jesus' resurrection changed everything.
Their lives, however, weren't the only lives radically changed. We believe their testimony that Jesus indeed emerged from his tomb victorious over death for us. Because we believe the Lord's resurrection changes everything for us. Death doesn't have a hold on us; Jesus has liberated us from the fear of sin, death, and hell (Hebrews 2:14-18). We are confident that our lives matter, so we live with purpose and meaning (1 Corinthians 15:58). We walk by faith in what Jesus can do and will do rather than in the limited sight of our current circumstances (2 Corinthians 5:7). The eyes of our hearts are not fixed on the mess we can see around us but on the eternal deliverance that we have in Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:18). We do not consider our present trials and troubles worth comparing to the glory we will share with Jesus when he returns to us in his glory (Romans 8:18).

Not only do we hold this faith in our hearts, but we have experienced it. We have tasted and seen that God's grace is good, so very good! Because of our faith, we have shared with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection in baptism (Romans 6:1-4). Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection are more than just parts of a story from long ago; they are now part of our personal stories. Because we have shared with him a death like his, we will share with him in a resurrection like his (Romans 6:5-14).

Because we joined ourselves with Jesus in faith, our future glory is assured with him (Colossians 3:1-4). Nothing, and no one, can separate us from his love and victory over death, sin, and hell, for us (Romans 8:32-39).

So, if anyone wants to know what the center of our faith, we can tell them that Jesus' resurrection changes everything. The Lord's resurrection transformed his death from tragedy into triumph. Because of the resurrection, God's love won over hell's hate. Because Jesus walked out of the tomb, life triumphed over death, and grace overcame the power of sin. The resurrection changed Jesus' burial from the life-robbing stillness of his tomb into a Sunday of discovery, joy, and life. Sunday is no longer just another average day; it is now the Lord's day.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Christ is risen, and nothing for us, or our world, will ever be the same.