1 Corinthians 15:19
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul is often combating false teaching and faulty thinking. From this passage, we find that there must have been some people in Corinth who denied the possibility of a person rising from the dead. Who knows, perhaps they were too sophisticated in Corinth to believe in such seemingly fantastic things.
Interestingly, I can think of people in my own past who have said similar things. I’ve heard people say, “It really does not matter if you live after death. It is worth it to be a Christian, because you will live a better life.” Of course, there is a sense to what such a person was saying. It is better to follow good standards like being a good husband, good father, and giving person. It is better to avoid drunkenness, adultery, and violence. So, maybe life is better following the rules that God has given.
But God disagrees with the sentiment that is put forth by the person who says that resurrection does not matter. The Lord inspired Paul to tell the Corinthians that, if Christ is not raised, we are most of all to be pitied. Earlier in the same chapter, Paul said that if there is no resurrection, our faith, Christianity itself, is vain—meaning empty and useless.
The resurrection matters. The fact that Jesus rose from the grave matters. The fact that we will live beyond death matters.
It matters that Jesus rose from the grave, as this is our hope. Somehow, the resurrection is the completion of the cross-work of Christ. We are not saved from sin if Jesus did not physically rise from the grave. The resurrection proves to be true all that Jesus claimed about himself and about how it is that we are to be saved by grace through faith. And, the resurrection of Jesus is the forerunner of our own resurrection to eternal life, a real and bodily resurrection.
Our resurrection matters too. Our resurrection reminds us that there is something beyond this life. There is a genuine judgment. God will ultimately and perfectly do justice. For those who are in Christ, God will perfectly and justly show mercy. There is a reason to let go of some seeming goods in the here and now for the same of infinitely greater rewards in the future. There is a way for us to say goodbye to believers who die knowing that this is a temporary parting. There is a way for us to face hardships and persecution in this life knowing that there is an eternal reward that far outshines the pain and sorrow we have faced in the here and now. Truly, our resurrection matters. If we are not to rise from the dead, our faith is useless, just as the Bible says.