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Christianity is based on the popular belief that Jesus Christ actually resurrected from the dead. Otherwise, it makes futile the Christians’ hope of a second life. As the apostle Paul writes in 1 Co 15:14, “If Christ has not been raised from the dead, our preaching is in vain, our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins” (Walsh 2009). The resurrection, therefore, is the argument that renders credibility and relevance to Christendom. All religions of the world are centered on mythological figures whose lives were legendry, their accomplishments extra-ordinary and their nature above the caliber of mortals, so to speak: Islam’s Mohamed, Buddhism’s Buddha, Confucianism’s Confucius and for our subject, Christianity’s Jesus Christ.
The life of Jesus Christ, especially His fate here on Earth reflects the path most taken by heroic figures who inspire awe and reverence among their followers. Thus, it is not against the trend of religious ideology and doctrine institutionalization that Jesus was to suffer, die and resurrect. First, His death is significant in that it rationalizes suffering as the ultimate price of being a follower and the ticket to salivation. Among Christians, afflictions, religious persecutions and martyrdom are perceived as the path that their savior treaded upon, and the cross that they must bear in this life. It really makes sense to suffer for a religious cause, in the knowledge that the master himself suffered worse than that. The disciples and early Christians who suffered under the
Shortly before His betrayal and subsequent death, Jesus broke bread during the Last Supper and gave it to His disciples, with the words that “this is my body that is given for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 14:22). This act had far reaching implications in Christian customs and practice. In the Old Testament, people’s sins were forgiven after an animal sacrifice offered by the high priests. The death of Christ symbolized the final sacrifice that redeemed all generations, thus marking the end of burnt offerings. It is a common modern belief and Christian dogma that salivation is on the cross, by the blood of “The Lamb” of God. His prediction (Mark 12:10) that the stone that the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone alludes to this central role He plays in Christianity.
But then, the mantle of Christianity is the Resurrection. It is not outrageous to say that most Christians hope to go to heaven upon Christ’s return. If life was to end with one’s death here on earth, then Christianity would have been a big joke. For, it would be against logic to suffer and toil with no reward in the end. And this reward is only possible if the object of reverence is larger than life, and powerful than death (Got Questions Ministries, 2010).The promise of life, the warning of punishment and the prospect of a new world and heaven is the Christian’s sole obsession: take it away, and you kill the spirit. Because Jesus defeated death and rose from the dead, His followers are given an assurance of life after death: the only reason anyone would need to be a Christian.