Death Is Swallowed Up In Victory – THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
The Resurrection Of Jesus
If Jesus remained buried in His tomb, Christianity would simply be talk about “a dead Jesus.” If this was the truth, all Christianity could do is admire Jesus for the type of selfless life He lived. Christianity would be touched by all the sufferings Jesus supposedly endured for the sins of the world. However, Christianity would still have “a dead Jesus.”
With a dead Jesus, how could anyone have a relationship with God? How can one be assured that her sins are forgiven? With a dead Jesus, Christianity is nothing more than an ordinary world religion. Sins would not be forgiven and a personal relationship with God would be impossible. Jesus would be on the same level as Abraham, Mohammed, Buddha, and Confucius. Not very attractive would Christianity be.
However, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the core, central belief that makes Christianity what it is. Christ resurrected is what makes Christianity stand high above any other world religion. Jesus, our great God, has risen. Jesus has forgiven all our sins and raises us from death to life. No other religion can claim that its founder is God and that He rose from the dead. Jesus alive is what makes Christianity appealing. Jesus Christ is Christianity – a personal, vibrant relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ.
Think about this: Whether you are a Christian or a non-Christian, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, what would occur to the sin issue separating mankind from God? Would all sins be forgiven?
The answer is “No.” Without the resurrection, Jesus could not be God. If Jesus was not God, He could not die for the sins of the world. He would simply be a dead man buried in a tomb. Because mankind possesses an indwelling sin nature, no man (except he be God) could take away sin through death. Such was Jesus successful. He is the God-man in the flesh.
There are many skeptics, who even today, doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. Their arguments may seem valid on the surface, but an examination of the resurrection details shows convincing evidence that Jesus did rise from the dead.
There is sufficient archaeological evidence to validate the resurrection of Jesus. Even the most skeptical of theologians cannot deny the fact of archaeological evidence dating as far back as the first century AD. (An excellent reference source is The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel.)
The skeptics do admit the reality of a man named Jesus who lived, was crucified on a cross, buried in a Pharisee’s tomb, and had an empty tomb. The historicity of these events are accurately documented and supported over 2000 years of study and research. Two non-Christian historians (Tacitus the Roman and Josephus the Jew) acknowledge the person of Jesus in their writings 2000 years ago. Since the Romans were pagan and the Jews rejected Jesus, there certainly was no favoritism coming from these groups that allied them to Jesus. For any skeptic denying this or saying there was a conspiracy, there is little basis to support his belief.
The genuine question for today is:
“What is YOUR belief of the evidence that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?”
One convincing support of the resurrection of Jesus is the abundance of eyewitnesses Jesus appeared to. The apostle Paul says Jesus appeared to more than 500 people, whom most were still alive. Paul is saying, “If you want proof of the resurrection, talk to those living eyewitnesses whom Jesus appeared to.” It is not simply a few witnesses; it is more than 500. That certainly is no conspiracy. Throughout the Acts Of The Apostles, Luke emphasizes that the apostles and disciples consistently preached the “resurrected” Jesus.
Another support of the resurrection is the radical change of life the new Christians underwent. In the first few centuries AD, multitudes of Christians were persecuted, tortured, and martyred because they would not renounce their faith in a resurrected Jesus. The easy way out was to renounce Jesus and your life would be spared. Though some obviously did, they were in the minority. Far more died for their belief in a resurrected Jesus. They believed a life with Jesus Christ in the next world was worth dying for. The fact that a small group of Christians nonviolently turned the first century world upside down is proof enough of the resurrection.
If the resurrection is a lie, it makes no sense that countless multitudes would give up their lives to death. They VOLUNTARILY gave up their lives to die for Jesus. If Jesus never rose from the dead, then Christianity is the most successful hoax ever pulled off. Not only had they offered their life in death, but they died rejoicing.
Picture how the actual resurrection of Jesus occurred. We have details from the four gospels, but it is important we visually place ourselves there 2000 years ago for its personal impact.
Inside the tomb, the illumination of the glory of God shone throughout the dark tomb. The soul and spirit of Jesus enters His lifeless body. Jesus sits up, rolls up the linen covering His head, and passes right through the other linens. This may seem magical, but let us remember two things:
- Jesus is God and can do anything He chooses. Notice His human side, however, by rolling up the linen covering His head.
- More importantly, understand the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We must never lose focus of this.
The glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ has risen. His nail-scarred hands are clearly visible. He is risen. We no longer need to seek the living among the dead.