On Easter Sunday, virtually every sermon highlights Jesus’ resurrection. And rightly so. It is healthy for the church to remember this event, which Paul says happened at “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4), with our annual church calendar.
Resurrection Sunday, as many call it. It’s a big deal.
But what about Monday? And the days after that? We are certain that it’s important to remember the resurrection, but does it matter for the other 364 days of the year? We’ll all say yes. But can you give a clear answer as to why?
The resurrection happened, and we should rejoice in that. But what difference does it make?
I want to point out two of Paul’s answers to that question in the last verses of 1 Corinthians 15. Paul believed that Jesus’ resurrection made a huge difference. He famously said,
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (vv. 17–19)
The resurrection matters. Here are two reasons it matters for our daily lives. The first is that the reality of the resurrection allows us to live in the certainty that death will not have the last word:
“This perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’
‘O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?’” (vv. 53–55)
Should your life look different because you know that death is not the end? Of course! Paul says that if death is the end, then “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (v. 32). In other words, get all your living in while you can, because you only live once. But if we will be raised, then the fear of death is gone. We can take bigger risks. We can pursue delayed gratification and look for rewards beyond the here and now.
The second way the resurrection affects our daily lives is closely related:
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (v. 58)
Paul is telling us that because death does not have the last word, what we do in this life will last longer than our lifespan. What we do for the Lord in this life has eternal implications. If Christ was not raised, then our 60-90 years are all that matter. Because Christ is raised, our labor will linger. Plato’s writings have had a continued impact for thousands of years. Our labor in the Lord will last longer. It’s not in vain. It will continue into the future of the God who killed death.
So take yesterday’s celebration of the resurrection and put it into practice today. That’s what the other 364 days are for.