The gospel is not a list of suggestions, commands, principles, or good advice. The gospel is not a self-help book. The gospel is good news. It is an announcement of actual world-shattering events that took place. What is the good news? That Christ is risen from the grave!
If Christianity hinges on anything, it is the person and work of Jesus Christ—a work that culminates in a resurrection that points to an everlasting kingdom where Christ sits on the throne.
Imagine what it must have been like for the women who approached the gravesite of the One they had placed their hope in. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah. He was supposed to be their conquering hero. He was supposed to save them from the oppressive thumb of the empire. But instead, they saw Him humiliated, whipped, and crucified. He was an example of what we might call religious devotion gone bad.
But these women loved Him. So what did they do? They went to the gravesite to honor Him. They had followed Joseph of Arimathea to the grave where Jesus would be buried after they witnessed His crucifixion. Two days later, they returned to the gravesite to ensure that Jesus’s body would be properly buried.
However, when they arrived, instead of finding a dead body, they were met by angels who shared the gospel with them. They began by asking, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” Then they followed up by proclaiming, “He is not here, but he has risen!” (Luke 24:5–6).
Their announcement to these women was that the man they had seen hanging executed by the state was somehow alive from the dead.
And at that moment, they had a choice. They would either believe or not believe.
All those who hear the gospel are confronted with this truth at some point in their faith journey. They either believe that Christ died and rose from the dead or deny the claims that such a thing could ever happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if when the women saw the empty tomb and heard the angels’ report, they quickly thought through Jesus’s life and ministry and concluded that His resurrection must be true.
Jesus couldn’t be conquered by death because He was the One who came to conquer death. Jesus couldn’t be left in the grave because He was the One who came to overcome the grave. Jesus couldn’t be left to decompose because He is the One who is making all things new.
When we learn that Christ is risen, we are invited to consider all that God did in the person and work of Christ, as well as all that God did throughout the existence of the world—through what we see revealed in His Word. What you will find is a God you can take at His Word.