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Core 52 Chapter 44 - The Resurrection

What makes a good banana split?  Is it the fresh banana, precisely cut in half, framing the ice cream in place? Or is it the vanilla ice cream acting as the foundational layer for all the toppings while providing a cool refreshment only ice cream can give?  Or maybe it’s the toppings – not James, Julie and Ben – like chocolate syrup, nuts, whipped cream and that extra flair of decoration and flavor they provide.  Then again, maybe some of you are a little different in the way you make your banana split. Maybe you use fresh fruit like strawberries or pineapples, or maybe different types of syrups like caramel or butterscotch.  Or maybe you’re going to stop reading this and go make one right now!!  Whatever the case is, there is much debate about the most important ingredient in a banana split.  To be honest, I don’t really have an opinion other than, “Yes, I’ll have one, too!”

If one were to ask the very same question regarding the Christian faith, there might be some debate, as well.  Some might lean towards Genesis and the creation of the world and God’s full display of his omnipotence.  Others would say the birth of Jesus as the savior of the world, Messiah, Redeemer.  Some might look at the life of Christ – His teachings, miracles and works – as the most pivotal and influential.  And there would even be a few who would point directly to Calvary and the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross that provided the atonement for the sins of the world. What a great debate – no matter what happens, we all win because these are indeed, great truths and foundational principles of Christianity.

In my opinion, though, I would respectfully disagree with all of them, and I think I might even have the apostle Paul on my side of the debate, as well.  To me, the most important principle truth of Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.  Paul makes mention of this same level of importance in 1 Corinthians 15:14 when he says, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (Make it a point to go back and read all of 1 Corinthians 15 – it’s a great apostolic dissertation on the resurrection and it’s centrality to our faith)

Think about it (and remember, this is opinion, so there is always room for debate and discussion)…everything else becomes meaningless without the resurrection.
Creation – so what? An amazing and powerful God made it all, but because of our sin, we are forced to be exiled away from Him with no hope of restoration through our own means.
Birth of Christ – Miraculous virgin birth is unmatched in history, but if Jesus is born and nothing else, does it really change anything?

Life of Christ – Great teachings, great examples of love and compassion, supernatural healing, but beyond those He physically healed, what universal and eternal difference do the words of Christ make independent from His penultimate act?

Death of Christ – Atonement for sin, yes, but if Jesus is dead in the grave, do we truly have victory over our sin or has God simply delayed the inevitable?

Resurrection of Christ – Because of this, creation and Creator are reconnected, God in flesh fulfills His divine purpose, His teachings, works and deeds are backed up by the most powerful miraculous act of all time and his death fulfills the Law and paves the way for the ultimate and eternal defeat of death through the power of the resurrection.

Basically, everything hinges on the resurrection. Without it, Christ is a decayed set of bones lying in a tomb, but with it… with it is the absence of death, the conquest of life and the security of eternity.

As C.S. Lewis once said about the resurrection, “To preach Christianity meant (to the Apostles) primarily to preach the Resurrection.… The Resurrection is the central theme in every Christian sermon reported in the Acts. The Resurrection, and its consequences, were the ‘gospel’ or good news which the Christians brought.

Or, as Paul once said, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

So, debate all day long about bananas, whipped cream, or chocolate syrup, but let us not waver on the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for in it we have victory, hope for eternity.

- Pete Ramsey