“The greatest need in the church at this hour is not organizational union. Our greatest need is for the church to be baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit and to go out proclaiming the Gospel everywhere on every continent.”
I like to go to old cemeteries in various parts of the world. When we wander through a graveyard and look at the tombstones or go to a church and examine the old monuments, we see one heading on most of them: “Here lies … ” Then follow the person’s name, date of death and perhaps some praise of the qualities of the deceased.
But how different would be the epitaph on the tomb of Jesus! It would neither be written in gold nor cut in stone. It was spoken by the mouth of an angel and is the exact opposite of what is engraved on other tombs: “He is not here; for He is risen” (Matthew 28:6).
The most important events in human history were the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. … If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).
In reading about the early church, we find the central theme of the early Christian witness to the world was the fact that Jesus Christ, who was crucified, had been raised from the dead.
Today we usually hear a sermon on the resurrection every Easter, but that is about the only time. However, in the preaching of the apostles, the cross and the resurrection were constant themes. The cross and the resurrection were linked together; they are supposed to be linked. Without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless. Apart from the resurrection, the cross is a tragedy and a defeat.
If the bones of Jesus lie decayed in a grave, then there is no Good News, and the world is still in darkness. Life has no meaning at all. The New Testament then becomes a myth and Christianity is a fable—and millions of people, living and dead, are victims of a gigantic hoax.Click to finish reading
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