Music of Our Message

Does the Resurrection of Christ Really Matter?

...He's in the world today.

There are plenty of religions whose founders and leaders have long passed away and left this world. Yet their followers are content to align their lives to their philosophies and ideologies in hopes of creating a better standard of life for their own temporary time here on earth. There have even been those who agree with and even follow the teachings of Christ without believing in who he is or what he has accomplished. Most of these other religions acknowledge that Jesus lived and was a great teacher or prophet. But is that really enough? Is that really what the world needs? – Philosophies and teachings that create a standard of living for right now, but offer no hope for salvation or abundant eternal life? And if this life is really all there is, what’s the big deal about Jesus being raised from the dead?

That is a question that goes all the way back to the early church and has been entertained throughout the ages. One of the people who was convinced the resurrection of Jesus was and is the only way to life both here and beyond was A. H. Ackley, a songwriter and minister during the early years of the twentieth century.

And the question of whether it mattered if Jesus has risen from the dead was , in a sense, the same question Reverend Alfred Ackley had to provide an answer for back in 1932. Ackley had been sharing his faith with a Jewish friend, who asked him, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?” This question stayed on Ackley’s mind as he woke up Easter morning readying himself to present his sermon to his church body when on the radio, a popular liberal preacher from New York stated, “Good morning. It’s Easter! You know, folks, it really doesn’t make any difference to me if Christ be risen or not. As far as I am concerned, His body could be as dust in some Palestinian tomb. The main thing is, His truth goes marching on!”

This infuriated Ackley so much he threw the radio across the room declaring it to be a lie before heading to church and preaching with gusto on the reality of the resurrection. But throughout the day he remained so agitated that his wife finally came to him with what she felt he needed to do to feel better, “Write a song.”

That’s exactly what he did. He sat down and read the resurrection account from the Gospel of Mark and within minutes the words began to flow…

I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today
I know that He is living, whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him He’s always near

He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?

The hymn he lives would ring out in churches prominently all over the world for decades. It is still sung today declaring the truth that Jesus is indeed resurrected and alive today.

Paul addressed the same question of whether the resurrection matters in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22:

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith. 15 In that case, we are also exposed as false witnesses about God. For we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead, but He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him.

If you do not believe Jesus lives, there is no one to belong to. No way to be saved from the consequences of sin. But praise be to God, as Ackley wrote, we serve a living savior.

Romans 10:9-11 says, “ That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

What’s at stake here isn’t just the quality of life for the time we have here on earth, it is losing the gift of everlasting life through a restored relationship with God through the resurrected Christ. It is eternal life versus eternal death.

Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? Have you believed in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead?

The resurrection absolutely matters. We don’t worship a dead Jew. We worship the resurrected King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Christ Jesus our savior. Our faith is not futile. It is what brings us into a living relationship with the one true God. He Lives!