In John Irving’s Prayer for Owen Meany, Owen announced the distinct importance of Jesus’ resurrection: “Anyone can be sentimental about the nativity; any fool can feel like a Christian at Christmas. But Easter is the main event.”

Owen held this conviction, but not because it presents an abstract theological idea. Rather, the resurrection is central because this story of death being redeemed and life being found in God is at the center of His intentions in the world.

The apostle Paul reiterated the prime theme and truths of the gospel, the good news that had been given to him and that he was now compelled to give to others. He wrote that “Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Some Corinthian Christians, however, had begun to suggest that there was no resurrection of the dead.

No, Paul exclaimed, with force. No, do not surrender our hope. Paul’s insistence on our good future (and creation’s good future) hinged on what Jesus had already done, crucifying sin in His death and then renewing life in His resurrection. “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless” (1 Corinthians 15:16-17).

Jesus’ resurrection was not merely a picture of God’s love and justice or just some economic transaction where humanity’s sins moved from one ledger to another. Jesus was “the first of a great harvest of all who have died” (1 Corinthians 15:20). By his resurrection, He inaugurated how God intends to renew every person and every place where death resides. Resurrection may seem absurd, but it is our sure hope.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Ruth 2:1-23