The concept of a bodily resurrection has been questioned and contested by many for thousands of years. The Sadducees, a religious sect who did not believe in the resurrection, challenged Jesus on this issue during His earthly ministry (Matt 22:23-32). And the Apostle Paul, as he reasoned with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens, was openly ridiculed when he taught about Jesus and the resurrection from the dead (Acts 17:16-32).
But the teaching of a bodily resurrection is fully supported and boldly proclaimed in Scripture. The resurrection of Jesus was foretold by the prophets (Acts 13:32-35). Jesus himself spoke of His own resurrection as an undeniable certainty (Matt 20:17-19; 16:21; Jn 2:19-22). And the Apostles, along with many others, witnessed and confirmed the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:23-24; 32; 1 Cor 15:4-8). This critical evidence establishes the resurrection as an integral element of the gospel message and an essential doctrine of the Christian faith.
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 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 . – (1 Cor 15:1-4)
The resurrection is important because it proves Christ’s deity—He was God in the flesh (Matt 1:22-23; Jn 1:1-4, 10, 14). Through His resurrection, Jesus conquered death and gained the victory over Satan (Heb 2:14-15). And we share in this victory through baptism where we figuratively participate in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ—obeying the gospel. Belief in Christ’s resurrection is crucial because it secures our redemption and insures our resurrection.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. – (Rom 6:3-5)
Ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus provides the basis for the Christian's faith and salvation. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, the Christian would have no hope. “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor 15:16-17). “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor 15:20, 22). This is the resurrection. This is our hope!