Jesus is Alive!
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation stone of our faith.
Because of the resurrection we can know for certain that God exists, what he is like, and how we can know him in personal experience.
Because of the resurrection we also have answers to the questions of our existence - who are we? why are we here? and where are we going?
Jesus is Alive!
There is ample evidence in the New Testament of the fact that Jesus rose from the dead.
Here are some facts:
1: The fact that Jesus said he would rise from the dead: See for example - Matthew 16:21; Mark 9:9; Mark 10:33-34; John 2:19. (Jesus said he would rise from the dead, and Jesus isn't a liar - see Numbers 23:19).
2: The fact that the Prophets said he would rise from the dead:
See for example - Psalm 16:10.
3: The fact of the dramatic change in the disciples:
(a): After Jesus' death they were dispirited and afraid (John 20:19).
(b): Then at Pentecost, after receiving the Holy Spirit, they preached the risen Christ
(c): Why didn't they start preaching straight away? If the resurrection was a lie they would have started preaching straight away in order to get the message across whilst it was still fresh.
(d): If the resurrection was a lie, not even being filled with the Holy Spirit would have given them the courage to preach and face persecution for what's not true.
4: The fact of the early church's success - the disciples were preaching the resurrection only a few minutes walk from the controversy of the empty tomb.
5: The fact of the Christian Sunday - from as early as AD 32 Christians met for worship on the first day of he week - the day of the resurrection - as against the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday), the seventh day of the week.
6: The fact of the Christian Church today - numbered in billions and still growing at a massive rate around the world despite 2000 years of persecution.
7: The fact of the Christian's book the New Testament - containing eyewitness testimonies to the fact of the resurrection as well as teaching that would be empty and meaningless without the resurrection. Remember, when Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians (1Corinthians 15), speaking about the resurrection, hundreds of eye-witnesses to the resurrection were still alive.
8: The fact of our own experience - the life of the risen Christ living within each Christian.
In addition to the above, there are two facts that must be explained by anyone trying to disprove the resurrection. They are the empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus.
1: The Empty Tomb
Those who try and disprove the resurrection of Jesus say that the tomb wasn't empty. They say someone made a mistake.
Here are some of the arguments they use:
1: Sceptics say the disciples stole the dead body of Jesus. The religious leaders of the time tried to say the same thing (Matthew 28:11-15). This would be out of character for the disciples, and they wouldn't be able to go on and suffer for a lie (see for example Acts 4:1-4).
2: Sceptics say the authorities stole the dead body of Jesus. Why, then, didn't they produce Jesus' lifeless body and silence the disciple's preaching?
3: Sceptics say the women went to the wrong tomb. So, why didn't the authorities go to the right tomb and produce the body? They knew where ot was and had posted Romans soldiers to guard the tomb. And - why didn't Joseph of Arimathea know where his own tomb was and go to the right one and make sure it was empty? The fact is, the women went to the right tomb - they had seen were Jesus was buried
4: Sceptics say that Jesus didn't die, he only fainted. If this is true then Jesus himself was a liar (Luke 24:44-48). Also, if this is in fact true, then it would be a more incredible miracle than the resurrection - that a sick man, wounded, bruised and battered like Jesus had been two days earlier, could summon up enough strength to move a two ton boulder, walk away, and convince his doubting, fearful disciples he was still alive and victorious over death!
2: Jesus' Appearances
Jesus appeared to his disciples on different occasions over a period of 40 days, but sceptics say these appearances were some form of hallucination on the part of the disciples. This can not be so because:
1: Only excitable types are subject to hallucinations and the disciples were far from being excited about anything at the time
2: Hallucinations are highly individual and no two individuals get the same. Yet Jesus appeared in the same way to different disciples on different occasions (John 20:19-29).
3: Hallucinations usually come at expected times, and yet Jesus' appearances took his disciples by surprise (Luke 24:36-37).
4: Hallucinations keep coming over a long period but the appearances of Jesus stopped abruptly after 40 days (Acts 1:1-11.
5: Hallucinations come through the person expecting it to happen. The disciples weren't expecting to see Jesus, they thought he was dead (Luke 24:15-16; John 20:24-29).
It is the case, therefore, that neither the objections raised regarding the empty tomb or the appearances of Jesus hold water. Jesus is alive, and he’s alive today! Moreover, without the resurrection there is no Christianity because Christianity is based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who didn’t come to teach Christianity like some religious prophet or leader - he is Christianity!
Life for us!
Jesus’ resurrection demonstrated his victory over death (Acts 2:24; 1Corinthians 15:54-57).
It guarantees the believer’s present forgiveness and justification
(Romans 4:25; 1Corinthians 15:17).
It is the basis of resurrection life in Christ for the believer here and now (John 11:25-26; Romans 6; Ephesians 1:18-2:10;
Colossians 2:9-15; 3:1-4).
Because Jesus is alive we can be certain of our own resurrection. Because he’s alive death is not the end - there is future life.
The resurrection is the basis for the church’s witness to the world.
Jesus is more than just a human leader; he is the Son of God. The early Christians demonstrated this fact, and so can we.
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