The keystone is the central piece located at the apex of an arch. This is the final piece that is placed during construction and locks all other stones into place allowing the arch to bear weight. Without the keystone in place, the arch is unable to stand and the structure will certainly collapse.
The same can be said for Resurrection Sunday.
This is why Paul went to such lengths to record in detail the evidences for Jesus’ resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. He shows the church, the Scriptures, the eyewitnesses, the apostle Paul himself, and the common message as hard evidence for what occurred that great Sunday morning. And this is why the secular world, from that Sunday on, has been trying to get rid and cover up the evidence.
Not only has the resurrection of Christ always been the central part of the Gospel for the early church, but it was clearly predicted in the Old Testament (Psalm 16:8-11, 22; Isaiah 53) and by Jesus Himself (Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34). There were over 500 eyewitnesses to the risen King, many who were still alive at the time of Paul’s writings. The most important being Peter (who had so recently denied His Savior), James, Jesus’ half-brother (who had previously been one who denounced his very brother’s identity), and the rest of the Apostles. All of these men suffered extreme persecution and gruesome deaths on behalf of the Gospel and the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith also is in vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
In these verses, Paul gives 6 fateful consequences if there was no resurrection:
- Preaching Christ would be absolutely senseless.
- Faith in Christ would be absolutely useless.
- All the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection (including the OT Prophets and Jesus) would be absolute liars.
- Everyone would still be absolute sinners and the cross would have been absolutely worthless.
- All former believers would be in absolute torment.
- Christians would be absolutely pitiful and sorrowful.
After detailing the consequences of not putting your faith in the resurrection of the dead, I love how Paul brings 1 Corinthians 15 to a close:
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Easter Sunday is the keystone of our Christian faith and with that in place, our faith will certainly hold strong and fast forever.