I want to be direct and talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not just because it’s Easter time (a very good prompt of course) but because it is vital. It is the foundation of the Christian faith. Perhaps you do believe that “Christ died for our sins…that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. ( 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
I do hope you will find these thoughts positive and reaffirming. However, you may be sceptical or just cannot accept it. Well, perhaps what follows will be food for thought!
Jesus of Nazareth is an historical figure, real and recorded in the literature of the era. He was known as a Jewish teacher who was crucified as a criminal, a death his followers did not expect. Amazingly however, within weeks, they turned from dejection and inertia to become an active, vital and very convincing force. They preached at home and abroad that Jesus had risen from the dead and had been seen by many of them. Saul, a resolute enemy and persecutor of Christians, became utterly convinced. (Acts 8) He became known as the apostle Paul, the foremost preacher of Jesus Christ. He committed and ultimately gave up his life for his risen Lord. These facts about what happened 2000 years ago are on record.
Roman and Jewish enemies could have stopped the movement in its tracks and shown it to be false simply by producing Jesus’ body. But the tomb was empty and the body gone! The tomb was sealed and a guard had been placed there to stop his disciples from removing his body.
The apostle Paul said of the resurrection” I am speaking true and rational words” (Acts 26:25).
Many have spoken irrationally and falsely about the empty tomb. Many theories have tried to explain away Jesus’ resurrection but all disappear when the evidence is judged fairly and squarely. Some maintain that Jesus appeared dead but had merely swooned and then revived in the cool of the tomb. He had then escape. Hardened, seasoned soldiers and their centurion knew a dead, lacerated body when they saw one. Jesus had been pierced in his hands and feet, had hung on a cross in the heat of the day and, just to make sure that he was truly dead, the soldiers pierced him with a sword in his side !His followers would have looked desperately for signs of life as they prepared his body for the tomb. What is more, how could a man, so badly wounded have removed the huge stone sealing the entrance?. He would then have to evade the guards! Clearly impossible!
The truth of the empty tomb is that Jesus is alive and “declared to be the Son of God in power…. by his resurrection from the dead.”( Romans 1:4)
This wonderful ‘outside our experience’ supernatural fact is pivotal. It is the centre of the truth of the Bible. The grave could not contain him because he alone was sinless. His life, freely given, can save us and reconcile us to God. His resurrection is the assurance that God will raise and judge many at Christ’s return to our earth. (Acts 17:31)
So, as Paul says “Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8)
(All quote from ESV Bible)