A boy was staring at a painting in a store window. A man came up beside him and inquired as to what he was looking at. The boy pointed to a painting of Jesus on the cross. He said solemnly, “He died for all of us.” The man said something nice and continued down the sidewalk. Hearing a sound, the man turned and the boy was running up to him. Breathlessly, the boy said, “But, Mister, he didn’t stay dead!”
Despite the claims of men, Jesus’ bones no longer exist on this earth./1 Jesus was resurrected on the third day after his death on the cross (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18). Jesus has ascended back to the right hand of the Father where he will reside until he returns to gather his own and bring vengeance on those who know not God (Hebrews 8:1; John 14:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:8).
The resurrection is indispensable to the Christian faith. Paul wrote that without it our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). If the resurrection did not occur, then Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, and Scripture all lied. Without it, our faith falls apart very quickly.
The most compelling evidence of the resurrection is considering what would have happened if the resurrection were a lie. The following considerations are in order.
First, there were witnesses. Jesus appeared to five hundred people at one time after the resurrection, most of whom were still alive when the New Testament was written and could be interviewed (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). If they had not seen Jesus, the fact would have become known and circulated to the destruction of the cause of Christ.
Second, there was the problem of enemies. The Roman authorities and the Jewish intelligentsia would have leaped at any chance to destroy the Christian faith. They would have seized on the fact that there was still a body in the tomb of Christ.
No one knows today where the actual tomb of Jesus was located. Yet, mere days after Jesus died, the Roman and Jewish authorities would certainly have known the location of the tomb. They could easily have moved the stone, produced the body, and killed the burgeoning religion. The fact that they did not is very important.
Pilate ensured that the tomb was as secure as humanly possible (Matthew 27:62-66). They sealed the tomb, rolled an enormous rock before the door, and placed a trained cadre of troops onsite so the disciples could not steal the body. In fact, the guards were still standing at the door when the stone was rolled back (Matthew 28:2-4). The guards were commissioned to guard the tomb of Jesus, the most important person they had ever executed. They would have been under threat of death if they failed in their duties. Accordingly, they would neither have abandoned their posts nor been napping on the job.
Third, the empty tomb was undeniable. Anyone could have gone and viewed it for themselves and weighed the overwhelming evidence for the resurrection. When Peter preached about the empty tomb of Jesus in Acts, he would have been laughed out of the streets if the tomb were in fact inhabited (Acts 2:29-32).
Fourth, if the resurrection was an elaborate hoax, someone would have been bribed by the Jewish leaders as Judas had been. The truth would have come out as more people learned of the coverup. Moreover, the infant religion would never have succeeded with a lie as a foundation for its movement. Disciples would not have endured vicious persecution by the world’s most powerful army for a lie.
Clearly, the only remaining option is that Jesus arose from the dead.
Praise his name!
The Resurrection of Christ is Fact