by Dave Griffiths
Every year Christians pause to remember an event that changed history. Whether you call it Easter or Resurrection Sunday, it’s a day of rejoicing. An amazing account of the Lord Jesus’ victory over the grave.
Ever since the empty tomb was discovered, when Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead. This is the central tenet of Christianity.
Why do Christians believe Jesus literally and bodily rose from the grave? The answer to this crucial question is found by scrutinizing the first hand testimony of those who experienced the event as recorded in the New Testament.
Mary Magdalene was the first to tell Jesus’ disciples of the empty tomb she has discovered earlier in the morning. “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him” ( Jhn.20:13). While she was there, she came face-to-face with Jesus, but failed to recognize Him, yet as soon as He spoke, she immediately recognized Him.
She heard His voice.
She saw His face.
She touched His glorified body. He was Alive!
Later that day, He appeared to people who were walking home from Jerusalem. He decided not to reveal Himself until He reminded them of the witness of Moses and the prophets. As they walked, they listened to Him as He expounded to them the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself. (Luke24:27) The risen Jesus was alive and walking with them. After accepting an invitation to stay at their home, Jesus joined them for the evening meal. He took bread, blessed it, and broke it and gave it to them. Then, their eyes were opened and they knew Him.
He was later seen by 10 disciples, and, although the doors were locked, He suddenly appeared in the room with them. (Jhn. 20:19) He showed them the scars on His hands, feet, and side.
Eight days later, He appeared again and challenged Thomas to feel His wounds, verifying He was alive.
The next time His disciples saw Him, they were in Galilee where Jesus cooked them breakfast from fish they had caught. When the apostle Paul recounted the events surrounding the resurrection, he reminded his readers, “He (Jesus) was seen by over 500 brethren at once”.
The resurrection was not an ethereal or spiritual event. Jesus rose physically and bodily from the dead, and the facts are available for the world to see:
He was crucified in Jerusalem.
He was placed in a tomb in Jerusalem that was guarded by the Roman military.
Three days later, the tomb was empty.
He appeared in His resurrected body to the disciples and large groups of people in the environs of Jerusalem numerous times for 40 day after His resurrection. (Acts 1:3).
The disciples began proclaiming His resurrection in Jerusalem.
After the apostle Peter preached in Jerusalem, 3000 believed in the resurrection. The number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem and the evidence showing Jesus rose from the dead was so compelling, they were convinced, and they believed.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a non-negotiable foundational tenet of Christianity. The historical record is available for investigation. The evidence provided in eyewitness testimonies, documents the facts.
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians tells it like it is ;-
If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins. (1 Cor. 15:17). The apostle John’s account concludes with a statement, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, is the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (Jhn. 20:31).