Evidence for the Resurrection
Luke 24:1-12 NKJV - Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'" And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
Is it hard to believe that God could raise someone from the dead?
Today is Easter, this is the most celebrated truly religious day of the year, and some would argue that Christmas was more widely celebrated, but much of that is people celebrating getting gifts. Today we celebrate, that is we rejoice, we sing, we give thanksgiving, we glorify God for the resurrection of Jesus.
So what is the big deal about the resurrection of Jesus? Without a risen Lord we are hopeless, the Bible tells us this.
1 Corinthians 15:14 NKJV - And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
1 Corinthians 15:17 NKJV - And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
1 Corinthians 15:19 NKJV - If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
The bottom line is that a Christian is a person who believes in the Resurrection of Jesus.
Romans 10:9-10 NKJV - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Today there is several movements to rationalize the idea of a man coming back from the dead. Some have called it a spiritual resurrection not a physical one, and others walk past it or ignore the idea altogether. Doing this is to deny Jesus, it is man’s attempt to make God in his own image rather than accept Him as He is, you can’t separate the resurrection from Christianity; the two go hand in hand.
The question stands, is it hard to believe that God could raise the dead?
Here are a couple things to consider, if God did not or could not raise Jesus from the dead, none of us are going to heaven. Why? Because our hope lies in the resurrection, new life and being born again are mere religious philosophies without Jesus, the Living God.
But what do we have for evidence?
1. There is no body. Look around the world and you will see that the tombs of religious leaders, etc. are all to be found with the man in there, not Jesus.
2. Consider this, the tomb was guarded by the Jewish guard. Jesus was killed as an enemy of the Jewish state, they accused Him of being a divisive man who formed a sect. It was widely known that He had said He would rise from the dead by the men who killed Him so they asked for additional guard.
Matthew 27:62-66 NKJV - On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.' Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
This wasn’t done in a Christian place like the US, Jesus was basically a fugitive, an outcast who was not able to go to Jerusalem for much of His life because he knew there were men there that hated Him so much they would jump at the chance to kill Him. The ruling party of the time detested His authority and popularity, and regularly plotted how they could kill Him not being able to catch Him in a word or trick Him into saying something off. In this place Jesus was killed and his body was guarded. This is evidence of an actual resurrection of Jesus.
3. His followers. After the crucifixion they were hiding and scared. The body of Jesus was removed from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea, he was not one of the disciples, but a just council member, the disciples did not have the nerve, and they had all left Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 23:50-54
Luke 24:13-24 NKJV - Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?" And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see."
Despite the rumors you can hear the despair and grief in the words the men share, even Jesus noted their sadness. During these days the followers were hiding and downcast, but look at the book of Acts and you see a fearless witness of Jesus, even in prison and in the face of death. What causes a group of people to utterly change within a short time? Only seeing the risen Lord would have this effect.
4. All of the people who claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus did not deny Him, no matter how gruesome and evil their punishment and death was. Many were crucified and burned alive, some were beaten to death and killed by stoning but none denied Jesus. Over 500 men claimed to have seen Him and most of them were killed for their testimony, NOT ONE stopped and said, “OK, OK, OK, we made it all up.”
5. Many of the men who hated Jesus and plotted to kill Him would become followers of Jesus after the resurrection and even be killed for their faith and their testimony about the resurrection. The same very men that took part in the fake trials to kill Jesus, they heard the testimony of the guards at the tomb, and shouted, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him," before Pilot. As the evidence mounted many could no longer ignore the fact that Jesus was truly alive, that He was the Son of God.
What am I telling you? Jesus Christ is the Risen Son of God, are you following Him?
6. Radically changed lives. At 17, I met Jesus, my life was spiraling out of control and I did not know what to do. I walked this earth on my own path and had many regrets. I was trying to fill the emptiness that can only be filled by the Lord, some call it "the void". I had not realized that I was designed by God to have a relationship with Him, and that nothing can fill in for Jesus. All the while I fought against Him and rebelled until eventually He changed my life with the truth of the love of the Son of God. I did not have the smarts or the will power to take control, but I met Jesus and everything changed.
John 3:16 NKJV - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 5:10 NKJV - For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
“Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.” D.T. NILES. But many have not tasted of the bread of life, some too stubborn, some too scared, there are a thousand excuses, but why go hungry when God has provided what is needed for the hungry soul.
Matthew 5:6 NKJV - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
I am asking everyone to lay aside pride and bitterness of past wrongs, consider this minute where you stand with God. Tomorrow is not a guarantee, are you a child of God?
John 1:10-13 NKJV - He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
"Christianity is a religion which requires the bending of human will--through faith and free choice--to God's will. Yet, as practiced in our day and age, Christianity is a religion of consensus and popular opinion. Instead of molding our lifestyle to our faith, today we mold our faith to our lifestyle." BOB LONSBERRY