It’s a pin inserted around the axle to prevent the wheel from falling off.
No linchpin, no wheel; no wheel and you’re not going far.
That’s one meaning of this word.
“A person or thing that holds something together; The most important part of a complex situation or system.”
“A central, cohesive element.”
Paramount – central, indispensable, irreplaceable, non-negotiable and irredeemable.
That’s a linchpin.
It defines everything and holds it all together.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the linchpin of Christian belief. If it took place it renders our faith everything. If it did not take place it renders our faith nothing.
No in between.
Certain things in our lives must be regarded as decisive. The resurrection of Christ is the most decisive event in history. It dominates the past, defines the present and determines the future.
For the follower of Christ, the resurrection is the linchpin of life – now and forever.
If Jesus Christ did not rise again, life itself signifies nothing.
In his powerful case for the resurrection, made brilliantly in his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul is categorical and explicit:
“And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless” (I Corinthians 15:14, NLT). We might as well eat, drink and be merry, Paul says, for tomorrow we die and that’s the end of it. We perish in our sins without hope.
Paul argues that but for the resurrection of Christ, life is without meaning and Christianity is a silly superstition.
The one thing that keeps us looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, is the fact that he defeated death and the devil when he rose again.
You may reject Christ and Christianity as frauds perpetrated centuries ago upon gullible people by extremist and fearsome quacks. But you must still admit, logically, that the resurrection is central to the understanding of Christian faith.
It is the linchpin.
Paul told the Corinthians that if our hope is limited to this life we are miserable people. Nothing – not our health, not our money, not our homes, or our jobs; not our careers, not our ambitions and not our possessions – none of these things offer us any lasting hope. Not even our family or friends. We search in vain in this life and in this world for anything that will secure our permanent, eternal happiness.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ provides the only perspective on life that makes any sense.
What is the one thing that gives the person and life of Jesus Christ authenticity and reality? That proves his divine identity beyond doubt?
What is the one thing that delivers us from the fear of death?
What is the one thing that gives us a joy-filled confidence at the graveside that we shall see our loved ones again?
What is the one thing that can make us optimists in the face of life’s trials, tribulations and tragedies? In the sad reality of the fallen human condition?
What is the one thing that gives us security in the face of life’s uncertainties?
What is the one thing that gives us an undying hope for the future?
Without Christ’s resurrection, there would be no reason to believe in him, obey him, follow him or to be his disciple.
The resurrection is more than a theological belief. It is more than a historical fact. It’s more than a comforting metaphor or a colorful annual celebration.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a world view. It is a way of living. It is an attitude. Because it is a fact, this new way of living is a hope founded, not on wishful thinking, but rooted in reliable reality.
The resurrection defines our lives and how we live them.
Because the stone rolled away at the glimmering dawn of the third day, the outcome is no longer in doubt. Because the resurrection is true, we can live a resurrection life now. In this world. Come what may.
The evidence for the resurrection is more than circumstantial – it is overwhelming, incontrovertible, compelling, definitive. Paul – who saw Jesus after his resurrection – builds his entire case for faith upon this undeniable truth: Jesus is alive.
Paul appeals to no other historical fact or confidence than the resurrection.
Had Jesus only been born it would be a beautiful but meaningless story; the manger a lovely but empty scene. If Jesus had only died it would be a heroic tragedy and a marvel of sacrifice; but it would still end in defeat. We would still be hopeless.
“Without the resurrection,” declared Billy Graham, “the cross is meaningless…an unopened grave would never have opened heaven. “
Jesus was unequivocal.
He told Martha that he was “the resurrection and the life.”
Jesus dueled with death and raised Lazarus from the grave; he restored to life a little girl when others laughed at the prospect of a miracle; Jesus touched the casket of the widow’s son and turned a funeral procession into a joyful celebration of restored life.
Jesus’ earthly ministry was the precursor of immortality.
A day of hope. A day of joy. A day of glory. A day of victory.
His day. Our day.
The securing of our eternal triumph. The meaning our faith.
The linchpin of our lives.