‘Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.’ (Mark 16:6 NIV)
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the great claim of Christians – But can we believe that this event actually took place?
Jesus had predicted that he would rise from the dead after 3 days
(Mark 8:31) and when the women arrived at the tomb on that Sunday morning to finish anointing his body they discovered that he wasn’t there
What had happened to Jesus’ body?
Had his enemies stolen the body? If they did (and they never claimed to have done so), they surely would have produced the body to stop the successful spread of the Christian faith in the very city where the crucifixion occurred. But they could not produce it.
Had his friends stolen the body? If so, why would they have begun to preach with such authority that Jesus was raised, knowing that he was dead? Would they have risked their lives and accepted beatings for something they knew was a fraud?
Had Jesus not really died on the cross, but was only unconscious when they laid him in the tomb? Anyone who knows anything about Roman crucifixions would realise that no one escapes with their life.
Or did God raise Jesus from the dead?
This would seem to be the logical and reasonable explanation, after all what was it that transformed the disciples from men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion
(John 20:19) into men who were confident and bold witnesses of the resurrection
The disciples were sceptics ready to go back to their old jobs after the crucifixion, but became Jesus’ ardent followers risking their lives for Him once they saw the risen Christ.
Then we have the account from Paul that over 500 people had seen the risen Christ and his readers could check it out since many of them were still alive
(1 Corinthians 15:6).
Finally, the sheer existence of a thriving early Christian church supports the truth of the resurrection claim. There is general consensus that the apostles founded the church at Jerusalem by preaching the resurrection of Jesus. Yet it would have been impossible for the apostles to have preached such a message if the rulers in Jerusalem, who had every reason to silence this message, could have produced Jesus’ body.
If they could have discredited the resurrection then quite simply there would have been no Christian church.
To me, these are points are compelling evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.
The world may disagree because the implication of a resurrected Christ is that you have to become a follower of him, but they have to come up with plausible answers to refute the evidence.
How about you?
Can you say with me,
‘The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!’?
Father, thank you for the resurrection of your Son, without which our hope would be in vain and our faith worthless.
Have a good week praising God for the resurrection of His Son,