Paul told the church in Corinth that “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 Cor. 15:3-5 ESV). Paul lays out, in no uncertain terms, the reason why it’s so important: “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (vs. 13-14).
Christ’s resurrection had to take place in order for our resurrection to take place. This is why we celebrate! The resurrection means that we will be given a new heavenly body, and “the glory of the heavenly is one of a kind” (vs. 39). Living in the reality of the resurrection means that we no longer fear death. This is why Paul quotes Hosea: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (vs. 55).
As Christians, we don’t hide from death. We embrace it as part of a new life with Christ. Paul says that nothing can grow unless there is first death. He likens our body to seeds that are sown in a field. Nothing can take root and grow up until it dies and is sown into the ground. In light of the resurrection, Paul says, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (vs. 58).