“The Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead”


(27/3/16) At Easter time, along with the Best Wishes, we offer our readers a passage written by Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI and taken from the second book of Jesus of Nazareth “Holy Week: from the entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection". It is the beginning of chapter 9, dedicated to the resurrection of Christ from death.

Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI


“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ” (I Cor 15:14–15). With these words Saint Paul explains quite drastically what faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ means for the Christian message overall: it is its very foundation. The Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead.

If this were taken away, it would still be possible to piece together from the Christian tradition a series of interesting ideas about God and men, about man’s being and his obligations, a kind of religious world view: but the Christian faith itself would be dead. Jesus would be a failed religious leader, who despite his failure remains great and can cause us to reflect. But he would then remain purely human, and his authority would extend only so far as his message is of interest to us. He would no longer be a criterion; the only criterion left would be our own judgement in selecting from his heritage what strikes us as helpful. In other words, we would be alone. Our own judgement would be the highest instance.

Only if Jesus is risen has anything really new occurred that changes the world and the situation of mankind. Then he becomes the criterion on which we can rely. For then God has truly revealed himself.


To this extent, in our quest for the figure of Jesus, the Resurrection is the crucial point. Whether Jesus merely was or whether he also is – this depends on the Resurrection. In answering yes or no to this question, we are taking a stand not simply on one event among others, but on the figure of Jesus as such.