“He is risen!” So proclaimed the first disciples at the empty tomb. But what does this mean for us two thousand years later? It means that we have a new identity. Easter is the greatest miracle of history! It’s that one event that rights all wrongs, that is if it indeed happened as we are told in Scripture.
The case can be made that Jesus’ resurrection determined not only one’s self-understanding, but the hope of immortality. It changes everything. Yet, despite Jesus’ constant promises that He would die and rise again, (see Mark 8-10) Jesus’ disciples were less than convinced. Who can blame them? Greeks did not believe in a resurrection and Hebrews did not believe in a personal bodily resurrection. So why did these men, predisposed to disbelieve Jesus’ promise of life after death, suddenly became convinced that Jesus had been raised to life?
What evidence is there to attest to the resurrection of Jesus?
- The disciples came to have an irrepressible faith in the resurrection that fueled their passion to both live for Jesus and die for Jesus Christ, despite their predisposition not to do so.
- After His crucifixion, Jesus was buried by one of His followers, Joseph of Arimathea, in his personal tomb. “If Jesus was buried in Jerusalem, it would be unlikely for His followers to also proclaim Him alive in the same city where His body was buried.” – Willian Lane Craig
- Jesus manifested Himself through physical, bodily appearances to over 500 people over a period of 40 days (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) and this is attested to in all four of the gospels.
- On the Sunday after His burial, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of followers who were women. (Mark 16:1-8)
- The false claim by the Sanhedrin that the disciples of Jesus had stolen His body is actually evidence that He left the tomb empty.
- The fact that Jesus’ own family, who had not believed in Him before the resurrection come to faith in Him after His resurrection is proof that He had indeed risen to life again. (1 Cor. 15:7)
For the Christian, the resurrection of Jesus is not just assurance in the form of proofs. It is assurance in the form of hope. Our identity has been remade. Jesus rising again says that the worst thing that can happen to us had been neutralized. Death itself has died and we are living in contagious life: a new self-understanding and with ultimate hope. So the proofs of Jesus’ resurrection are not simply arguments for debate, but reasons to live with amazement and joy. The resurrection tells us not only who we are, but what we will be! (1 John 3:2)
Do you believe? How does your belief impact how you live in the present?
He is risen! Let’s go on and live!