Follow this link to watch John Piper's excellent Easter morning sermon...he preached from some of the same texts we did. If you do not have video capabilities, you can read his text here.
When I was in college, over 40 years ago, the arguments were more prominent and more intense than they are today about whether Jesus rose historically and bodily from the dead. There was widespread consensus among believers and non-believers generally in America that deciding about that claim really mattered. You took a stand—you believed in the resurrection, or you didn’t—and if you did, you generally believed the rest of the Bible and called yourself a Christian. And if you didn’t, then you were intentionally not a Christian.
Today that question, that debate—Did Jesus really rise from the dead historically, bodily?—is not as prominent or as intense because, at one level, people feel that it doesn’t matter to them, because different people believe in different things, and maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t; and if it did, or didn’t, and that helps you get along in life, fine; but it doesn’t make much difference to me. I may or may not call myself a Christian, and if the resurrection seems helpful to me, I may believe it; and if it doesn’t, then I won’t, and I don’t think any body should tell me that I have to.
Two Kinds of Unbelief
Behind those two different kinds of unbelief—the kind from 40 years ago and the kind from the present day—is a different set of assumptions. For example, in my college days the assumption pretty much still held sway, though it was starting to give way with the rise of existentialism, that there are fixed, closed natural laws, that make the world understandable and scientifically manageable, and these laws do not allow the truth of the claim that someone has risen from the dead to live forever. That was a commonly held assumption: The modern world with its scientific understanding of natural laws does not allow for resurrections. So unbelief was often rooted in that kind of assumption.
But today, that’s not the most common working assumption. Today the assumption is not that there are natural laws outside of me forbidding the resurrection of Jesus, but there is a personal law inside of me that says: I don’t have to adapt my life to anything I don’t find helpful. Or you could state it another way: Truth for me is what I find acceptable and helpful...read more here