"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."—I Corinthians 15:3,4
Some years ago, a terrific storm struck a railroad yard at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. In that section, trains were hauled by electrical power from overhead power lines. The storm was so terrible that poles and overhead wires were soon lying in a deadly tangled mass over the network of tracks. There was no telling where a loose end of wire might strike or where a person might step on a charged rail or beam.
There was a control room at one end of the yard, where the switches were that controlled the yard. A pole from the transmission line had crashed through the roof of the building. Anyone who wished to reach the switches must take his life in his hands.
Behind a concrete abutment, six or eight yard men were crouching for protection. With wires sputtering around them, they were wondering every moment whether this was their last.
When there was somewhat of a lull in the storm, the foreman said, "Everyone stay where you are. I am going to turn the switches off." They watched him breathlessly as he picked his way over swaying live wires and between the rails. Every minute, they expected to see a flash of blue light and see him fall to the ground, dead. He reached the door of the control room and entered. It seemed like hours, but it was a matter of minutes until he reappeared in the doorway and signaled that all was safe—he had shut off the current.
Those men will never forget the welcome sight of their foreman as he emerged from the doorway. His return meant not only that he was safe, but their lives were saved too.
Just that is what Christ's resurrection means to us: if he had tried to save us and had perished in the effort, never emerging from death, then we must perish with him.
But he did not perish. Easter bells and Easter hymns proclaim the fact that he shut off the current of death and emerged from the grave to save us from death. Indeed, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is of first importance to all of us!