The Jenga Block of Christ’s Resurrection
Jenga, a name derived from Swahili meaning “build,” is a game requiring a steady hand and nerves of steel. Players take turns removing one block from any level of a 54-block tower—except the one below the incomplete top level—and place it on the topmost level to complete it, creating a progressively taller structure. The game ends when the tower falls. When our “social distancing” ends Jana and I would love to play this game with you. Jenga is loads of fun.
This weekend, however, as the Christian world especially honors the resurrection of Jesus Christ I would like us to consider what would topple and fall from the Christian faith if we just removed the block of the resurrection of Jesus. What would happen to the Tower of Truth if Jesus’ resurrection was removed?
The apostle Paul makes it crystal clear in 1 Corinthians 15:12-20…
12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And ifChrist has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. 20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
In this passage Paul presents the most colossal “what if” statement of all time: “What if Christ had not been resurrected?
Here’s how he sets this up:
Verse 12 – “Now, if Christ…”
Verse 13– “For if there’s no resurrection of the dead, then…”
Verse 14– “And if Christ has not been raised, then…”
Verse 15 – “If there is no resurrection…”
Verse 16– “And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then…”
Verse 17– “And if Christ has not been raised, then…”
Verse 19– “And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are…”
If, if, if, if, if, if, if, if! All Bible truths about Jesus tumble and fall—like a cosmic Jenga tower—if there is no resurrection of Jesus!
If there is no resurrection of Jesus… Then there is no resurrection of the righteous!If Christ doesn’t live, nobody lives.
If there is no resurrection of Jesus… Then our preaching is useless. You can’t preach a dead Christ.
Every great doctrine of the Bible is authenticated and validated by the resurrection of Jesus. If Christ is dead, He’s like any other man—He would not be divine (See Romans 1:4). We would not have a gospel to preach. Our preaching would be useless.
If Christ is dead we don’t have an intercessor in heaven. Our continual acceptance before God depends upon our great praying High Priest in heaven (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). He would just be a man who is… dead, decayed, and decomposed, in a tomb without His resurrection.
His promise to “go to prepare a place for us and to come again” and rescue us (see John 14:2-3) are just meaningless empty words. Why? Because “If Christ be not raised then they which are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished.”
Those godly people – who went to the stake, went to the arena, went in the dungeons to die –gave their lives with songs on their lips and with psalms in their hearts… are perished if Jesus has not been resurrected.
These are awful “ifs”—our graves are locked forever; our preaching is meaningless; we are false witnesses of God; our faith is vain; those who are fallen asleep in Jesus are perished; and we are the most miserable of all mankind.
But thank God for verse 20! Without the 20th verse then… lock the church door, turn out the lights, and go home. There’s no hope, only despair. There’s no heaven, just death and the grave.
“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died” (15:20). This is truly Good News for all.
With confidence we can proclaim at the tomb of Jesus, “He is not here; He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where they laid Him” (Matthew 28:6). “Go quickly and tell His disciples… that He’s alive (Matthew 28:6 & Mark 16:7).
Here is ONE Jenga block tower that will not tumble down.
Pastor Lloyd Perrin