Marcus Borg, a leader in Progressive Christianity and influential participant of the famed Jesus Seminar, wrote in 1998:
As a child, I took it for granted that Easter meant that Jesus literally rose from the dead. I now see Easter very differently. For me, it is irrelevant whether or not the tomb was empty. Whether Easter involved something remarkable happening to the physical body of Jesus is irrelevant.
Dr. Borg, who passed away from pulmonary fibrosis on January 21, 2015, was sadly mistaken. Whether Jesus Christ is risen or not is very relevant. Truth is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ through the Bible, not derived from a workshop or seminar led by committed religious experts.
Christmas Day, the celebration of the historical moment of the incarnation of God, divided time. And yet, Easter is a greater day than Christmas. Make no mistake: the most significant event in history is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, it is fair to ask, “Why is the resurrection so important?”
Without the resurrection of Christ, the birth of Christ and even the death of Christ would be irrelevant. The world and even many liberal and progressive Christians often dismiss what is, to the Apostle Paul, essential to Christian faith:
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable – 1 Corinthians 15:17-19, NKJV.
Bluntly put, without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no Christianity. R. A., Torrey (Dwight L. Moody’s successor) wrote:
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the cornerstone of Christian doctrine…[I]t (the bodily resurrection of Christ) was the one point that Peter emphasized in his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost. His whole sermon centered around that fact. It’s keynote was, Acts 2:32 – “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.”
Without the resurrection, the death of Christ is a heroic martyrdom. The resurrection validates the atonement of the cross. The resurrection, not simply the cross, gives us the hope of abundant, eternal life. In Romans 10:9, Paul wrote, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The resurrection is relevant. Each year, Easter is the most important date on the calendar. My prayer this Easter season is that we reflect upon the magnificent love of God found in the person of His Son and our Savior.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Blessings at Easter,