Without the resurrection of Christ, there is no gospel. Without a gospel, there is no need for a resurrection; no Easter. Without the gospel, there is no hope for humanity, for the justice and peace we all long for. Of God it is said, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Hmm. What to write about. This opportunity does not arise very often, so the topics pile up like trucks on the turnpike on a snowy day. There is only time and room for one topic. Not only that; this piece lands in the midst of the most drastic cultural upheaval in the country’s history, and the unbending celebration of the most drastic upheaval in sacred history: the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the unique Son of God. So, which did I choose?
I chose neither. The cultural issues are important but temporary. The resurrection is unfathomably important but is part of a larger story and is eternal. It is a vital part of the gospel, without which it has no meaning.
The apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, describes the gospel as “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3b–4). The word “gospel” means “good message.” What is this good message, and why should we care?
As a prelude to the answer, we need to go deeper. There are many presentations, beliefs, and emphases that skim the surface of the gospel. In a biblical nutshell, Christ, the Messiah, will restore creation to its pristine Edenic condition. There are some common but misguided ideas about the purpose of the gospel that miss the point.
The gospel will change your life! True, but not the main point. “My life is good; my family’s great, I have a good job, I’m a nice person. I don’t need the gospel.”