Belief in the resurrection of Jesus is essential to salvation. Paul wrote "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) Their is no salvation for one who denies the resurrection. "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:14) Belief in a Jesus who was a historical figure is insufficient for salvation. Receiving Christ means believing he is who he claimed to be, the divine son of God who assumed human flesh, died for our sins and rose again.
If Jesus did not rise, he is not God as he claimed. The Bible tells us he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:4)
There is ample evidence for Jesus' resurrection. Someone once told me there was absolutely no evidence of the resurrection. I pointed out that Matthew recorded the witness of Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" who saw the empty tomb and received confirmation from an angel. They saw the risen Jesus and took hold of his feet. (Matthew 28:1-10) What a moment that must have been.
Matthew also recorded, as an eye witness, the meeting of the 11 remaining disciples in Galilee with the risen Jesus. (Matthew 28:16)
Mark, who was believed to have written his gospel from the account of Peter, recorded that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome went to the tomb and saw the empty tomb. (Mark 16:1-8) He wrote the story of Peter running to the tomb and looking in and seeing it empty. (Luke 24:12)
Luke thoroughly investigated the life of Jesus, including interviews with eye witnesses. (Luke 1:1-4) He also recorded that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women saw the empty tomb. (Luke 24:1-12) He recorded the appearance of Jesus to two men on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35)
Luke recorded the appearance of Jesus to his disciples, allowing them to see his wounds and touch him to show he was alive in his body after death. (Luke 24:36-43) He even ate fish to prove he was alive. And lastly, he recorded the ascension, when the disciples saw Jesus rise to heaven. (Acts 1)
John, himself an eyewitness of the risen Jesus, recorded the story of th women seeing Jesus when they went to the tomb. (John 20:11-18) He also recorded Jesus' appearance to his disciples the same day,in a locked room. (John 20:19-23) He recorded the story of Thomas, absent at the first appearance, seeing the wounds and believing. (John 20:24-28) Finally, he recorded Jesus revealing himself again at the Sea of Tiberias, eating breakfast with them. (John 21)
Paul recorded Jesus appearing to the disciples, to 500 people at one time, most of whom were still alive when he wrote. (1 Corinthians 15:3-6) Jesus appeared to James, as recorded in verse 7. Did you ever wonder how James went from thinking Jesus was crazy, to leading the Jerusalem church? Seeing your brother alive, after seeing him crucified and buried, will do that to you.
The resurrection of Jesus is our hope of resurrection. Paul wrote "But in fact Christ as been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead." (! Corinthians 15:20-21)
Believe in Jesus, believe in the resurrection. Be saved and look forward to the resurrection of all the saints.
Happy Resurrection Day! He is risen. He is risen indeed.