A friend of mine sent me an email telling the true story of a minister who was presenting a children’s story during church one Sunday. He asked the kids if they knew what the resurrection was. This was an innocent enough question, right? But then one little boy raised his hand and said, “I know that if you have a resurrection that lasts more than four hours, you are supposed to call the doctor.” It took the congregation over ten minutes to settle down enough for the service to continue.
I hate those TV commercials….You know the ones I’m talking about….
I came across a blog site a couple years ago in which the blogger shared some interesting but disturbing statistics put out by the Barna Research Group. In an effort to discover what Americans thought about the resurrection of Christ, one of the questions they asked was, “Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead?” About 39% of Americans surveyed expressly denied the possibility that the Bible’s claims about Jesus’ resurrection could be true. In light of the ever increasing secularization of our American culture, I suppose this statistic is not surprising even though it is sad.
Then the Barna Research Group asked this question specifically of people who describe themselves as Evangelical, born-again Christians…and what they discovered is disturbing. They learned that 34% of those who describe themselves as Biblical Christians also deny the reality of the resurrection. In other words, one out of three Christians who claim they are born again and who claim that the Bible has authority over their beliefs do not believe that Jesus resurrected from the dead.
The hard truth for those who profess to follow Jesus is that salvation stands or falls on this essential doctrine of the Christian faith. The resurrection is not something we can “take or leave” without having effect. Christ followers must be clear on what the resurrection is and what it means. In 1 Corinthians 15:17 Paul said that if Christ has not been raised then our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. And in 1 John 1:1 John presents his testimony about Jesus’ resurrection with these words: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”
The resurrection is true. Our salvation depends on it.