I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
The gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16) is the glad tidings of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1–4). To believe and proclaim the death of the Son of God is not enough. It is the resurrection that tells us that His propitiation has been accepted, and God can now justify all who put their trust in Him (Romans 4:25). Everywhere that the apostles of the new dispensation went, they preached Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 2:24, 32; 17:18, 31). This implies nothing short of the actual resurrection of the physical body of our Savior. Making this a spiritual resurrection alone is a denial of the truth revealed in Scripture. If Christ is not risen, our hope is futile, we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). But thanks be unto God, He has indeed been raised from the dead and become the firstfruits of those who sleep.
The witnesses to the resurrection, as given in the Gospels and in 1 Corinthians 15, were many and varied. There was no possibility that so many people were deceived or suffered from hallucinations. Moreover, the change that came over the apostles and the new spirit of boldness infused into the members of the early church all bore witness to the certainty of the disciples that their Lord had overcome the power of death.
If through the darksome vale of death
We pass, we need not fear;
Our Saviour, He who gave us breath,
Brings light and triumph there.
Surely Thy sweet and wondrous love
Shall measure all our days;
Thy Father’s house, our home above,
Where dwells eternal praise.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 366–367.