Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.
(1 Corinthians 15:1-9)
The central theme of the gospel is given in these verses, a key text for the defense of Christianity. The three most important points are: (1) Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said (1 Corinthians 15:3). Without the truth of this message, Christ’s death was worthless, and those who believe in him are still in their sins and without hope. (2) He was buried (1 Corinthians 15:4). The fact of Christ’s death is revealed in the fact of his burial. Many have tried to discount the actual death of Christ, but Jesus did in fact die and was buried in a tomb. (3) He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said (1 Corinthians 15:4). Christ was raised permanently, forever; his Father raised him from the dead “on the third day” as noted in the Gospels (Friday afternoon to Sunday morning—three days in Jewish reckoning of time).
Paul assures us that many people saw Jesus after his resurrection. The Resurrection is an historical fact. You can believe it!
How do you celebrate the resurrection of Jesus? Don’t be discouraged by doubters who deny the Resurrection. Be filled with hope because of the knowledge that one day you, and they, will see the living proof when Christ returns.