August 3rd 2010

The Resurrection

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
Luke 24:6 (NIV)

The resurrection was the turning point in human history.

Without the resurrection, there is no hope for the future. Without the resurrection, “our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14). In other words, without the resurrection there’s no point in being a believer.

What does history have to say about it? In order to validate an event the historical method normally requires some kind of evidence. For example, eyewitness accounts, contemporary written records, etc. In the Bible Peter, who famously had denied Jesus three times at the time of the crucifixion, explained that “God has raised this Jesus to life” and that he and the other followers were all “witnesses of the fact” (Acts 2:32). None had expected the resurrection to happen. They had all given up, and for them the resurrection was a surprise.

So convinced were they that Jesus was still in the tomb that some of the women in the group went to embalm Jesus, as was the ritual custom of the day. When they got there, they found that the heavy stone, which had been sealed against the tomb entrance, had been rolled away. Who had moved it? Not the disciples because they were shocked by what had happened. Not the Romans or the Jewish authorities. What advantage would it have been to them? They had actually placed guards around the tomb to make sure no one tried to break in. By the time the women got there the guards had fainted as if dead. So who moved the stone?

The authorities in Jerusalem were horrified at the preaching of the resurrection by the disciples. There would have been an easy way to disprove it: Produce the dead body of Christ. But there is no record of their having done so. Instead Christianity spread, and some people, who had persecuted the faith, like Saul of Tarsus, became convinced of the resurrection and accepted Jesus as their Saviour.

That Jesus was resurrected bodily remains central to Christianity. Jesus is no longer in the grave and therefore in him we are no longer dead in our sins. Jesus has risen and therefore we have risen with him in faith and in hope.

This is why Christians today continue in the faith: Jesus is alive!

Our Father in heaven, thank you that you did not leave Jesus in the grave but that you raised him from the dead. Thank you for the certain hope that gives us.

Study by SEP Staff 

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