It’s no secret that the Scriptures view the resurrection of Jesus—and the eternal life that flows from Him—as of first importance and all-encompassing (1 Corinthians 15). But what does it mean for our lives in this world where death, and not life, seems to reign and rule?
First, it means that if we are joined to Jesus’ death and resurrection (which He says happens in Holy Baptism), then if Jesus is alive, not even death can separate us from Him. He’s already on the far side of death so that, when we die, He will bring us into life.
“This is the feast of victory for our King, alleluia!” Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia!
This makes—literally—all the difference in the world. Paul says that if Christ is not raised, then our faith is in vain, and we are to be pitied above all people. Because if you believe in getting a good job, or enjoying your family, or getting people to like you, or having fun while you can, then at least you receive a temporal reward. Believing in the resurrection—that it is also your resurrection—may not get you rewards here and now. Jesus says that His Christians will have trouble in the world. We may suffer, be persecuted, not liked. We may lose or not get jobs; our families may hate us. Much of that will not be fun at all. Certainly, the Lord grants us temporal blessings, which we enjoy. But there is no guarantee of that, and those things can disappear in a moment.
Believing in the resurrection means believing in something beyond whatever prosperity or tribulation we experience in our lives. And that means not taking the things of this world more seriously than they deserve to be taken (e.g., trusting in them so that we are driven to despair when they fail). But if Jesus is not raised from the dead, then we had better take the things of this world far more seriously than anything that we might hold in the “future.” A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, as they say.
Believing in the resurrection and having it turn out false would be far worse than not believing in the resurrection and getting on with your life, getting and doing what you can, while you can get and do it.