The heart of the Christian message, the good news of Jesus Christ, is based on this hope. The apostle Paul declares: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures… He was buried… He was raised on the third day” 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the crux of the Christian faith and the basis of the hope that Christians have.
Though the resurrection of Christ took place two thousand year ago, the details of His resurrection are among the best attested facts in all history. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the two followers who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus, Thomas, and many others tell us Jesus died and rose again. Jesus’ enemies would have given their lives for a shred of evidence to disprove the resurrection. But they found none.
Consider these facts:
Firstly, there is the fact that Jesus really died. That was the purpose of the crucifixion, administered by the Roman soldiers. After six hours of indescribable agony the Gospels tell us, that He died. At the end of the day, when soldiers came to break the victim’s legs, they found Him already dead.
Our Lord’s body was bound and left in the grave. The tomb was closed with a large stone and then sealed with the Roman seal. Any person moving it (impossible without several accomplices) would have been guilty of a crime against the Roman government. As if this were not enough, the tomb was guarded by several professional soldiers.
On the morning of the resurrection, however, the stone was rolled away. Only the empty body wrappings were left inside the tomb.
Secondly, Jesus was seen alive by different people. He appeared on twelve different occasions to well over five hundred witnesses after He rose from the dead. The list includes Mary Magdalene, the two Mary’s together, Simon Peter, and two believers on the Emmaus road, He also appeared to the disciples in the upper room when Thomas was absent and again when he was present. He met the disciples by the Sea of Tiberius and a group of 500 believers on a Galilean mountain. Could all have been deceived?
Thirdly, the believers who saw the risen Lord were changed; they were convinced of Jesus’ resurrection. Days earlier they were crushed, defeated, discouraged and afraid. Then, a total change came over them. In the face of opposition and almost certain death, they went out with boldness to preach a living Christ everywhere. Why? Because they knew He was alive!
The resurrection is a historical fact, verifiable in the same manner and by the same means that we verify any other historical fact. There’s as much substantiated evidence and history to confirm that Jesus is all He said He was and that He was raised from the dead.
The implications of this history are threefold. One, it validates Jesus’ claim; “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Second, it gives absolute hope for the future. Third, Jesus died, He rose again, He is at the right hand of the Father and is preparing a place for every single person who by faith, receives God’s only Son. John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world,” that means you and me, “that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
“Because I live” Jesus told His disciples in John 14:19, “you shall live also”. Do you have this living hope in Jesus Christ? Why not consider the evidence and trust Him as your Lord and Saviour today?
10:30Communion, after service refreshments with traditional “Hot Cross” Buns
10:00 Church Prayer Meeting
10:30 Worship Service: sermon, “Risen with Christ”, Philippians 2:8-10; followed by a time of fellowship.
Your friend and pastor,