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The Resurrection of Jesus 
 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very heart of Christianity. In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . .

 
We are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead." In that same chapter he says "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen sleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." But then Paul triumphantly declares, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:14-20).
 
In Christianity the resurrection of Jesus refers to the return to bodily life of Jesus on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology. The resurrection of Jesus is not to be confused with the Ascension of Jesus into heaven forty days after the resurrection.
 
In the Aramaic Matthew and the New Testament, after the Romans crucified Jesus, he was buried in a new tomb but he rose from the dead and appeared to many people over a span of forty days before his return to heaven (Ascension). Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, the third day after Good Friday which marks his crucifixion. Easter's date corresponds roughly with Passover, the Jewish observance associated with the Exodus.

In several episodes in the Canonical Gospels Jesus foretells of his coming death and resurrection, and states that it was based on the plan of God the Father  Christians view the resurrection of Jesus as part of the plan of salvation and redemption.

 

Jesus Christ's resurrection is either the supreme fact in history or a gigantic hoax. If Christ's resurrection is true -- we ignore its implications at our own peril. If not -- Christianity is the biggest fraud in the history of the world.

Christ's resurrection forces the question of Christianity's validity from being a philosophical issue to being a historical one.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact verifiable from history. No one can challenge Christ's resurrection -- if they take an honest look at the evidence.

Only those who never study the evidence -- or who refuse to listen to its testimony -- could deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If you have not studied the subject yourself -- how can you intelligently make a decision? Many learned men have tried to disprove Christ's resurrection -- only to become believers instead!

 

Some people refuse to examine the evidence, because they do not want to believe in Jesus Christ and submit to Him as Lord.

 
 

The facts remain. Confucius' tomb, Buddha's tomb, Mohammed's tomb, and Lenin's tomb are all occupied.

 

  But Jesus Christ's tomb is EMPTY!
 

"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death." -- Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:18 NKJ)

 

Jesus predicted He would die, and rise from death on the third day. Dying and returning to life were in His plan.

MATTHEW 16:21 NKJ
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

MATTHEW 20:18-19 NKJ
18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death,
19 "and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again."

 

MARK 15:37,39 NKJ
37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
39 Now when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!"

 
The centurion was qualified to detect whether Jesus was dead, having no doubt witnessed many executions, and having seen many die in battle.
 
JOHN 19:33-34 NKJ
33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.
34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
 

The soldiers did not break Jesus' legs because they were confident He was already dead.

Piercing Him with a spear would cause death by loss of blood, even if He were not already dead. Doctors tell us that blood and water coming out of the spear wound proved Christ was already dead.

MARK 15:43-45 NKJ
43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
44 Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time.
45 And when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. Pilate and the Roman centurion believed Jesus was dead.
 The chief priests and Pharisees believed Jesus was dead.

 

MATTHEW 28:11-15 NKJ
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.
12 When they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
13 saying, "Tell them, `His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.'
14 "And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure."
15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Even after the tomb was empty, Jesus' most intelligent enemies, the chief priests and elders, did not doubt the reality of His death. They saw Jesus die, and were sure He was dead.

His disciples believed Jesus was dead. They were afraid for their lives and did not expect Jesus to rise. Thomas even refused to believe Jesus was alive until he saw Him with his own eyes (John 20:25).

 

JOHN 19:39-42 NKJ
39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.
42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

 
MATTHEW 27:59-60 NKJ
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.
 
Both the Jews and the Romans believed Jesus was buried.
 

MATTHEW 27:62-66 NKJ
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,
63 saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, `After three days I will rise.'
64 "Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, `He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first."
65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how."
66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

They rolled a huge stone in front of the tomb where they had buried Jesus. Then officials sealed the tomb, and placed guards there, preventing anyone from stealing Jesus' body.

 
MATTHEW 28:2-7 NKJ
2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.
 

3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
6 "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 "And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you."

The huge stone was moved, and the Roman seal was broken, in spite of the guards at Jesus' tomb.

 

MARK 16:3-4 NKJ
3 And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?"
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away -- for it was very large.

The three women felt unable to move the stone because the stone was so large.

In the first century no one claimed they knew where the body of Jesus was. His tomb was empty. The Jews made up a story that the disciples stole Jesus' body. They knew the tomb was empty.

 

MATTHEW 28:12-13 NKJ
12 When they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
13 saying, "Tell them, `His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.'

Everyone, friends and enemies, knew where Jesus was buried, and they knew the tomb was empty. Jesus' tomb being empty was common knowledge.

 

ACTS 26:26 NKJ
26 "For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.

What happened to Christ's body? If the authorities took the body, why did they not say so and stop the preaching of Jesus Christ's resurrection? The disciples preached Christ's resurrection boldly in the same city where He was crucified.

 

ACTS 6:7 NKJ
7 And the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Many priests at Jerusalem -- who were Jesus' enemies responsible for killing Him -- believed in Jesus after His resurrection. Were they all deceived?

If Christ's disciples took His body, how do you account for the amazing changes in their lives?

 

Peter publicly accused the Jews of killing the Prince of Life. All they had to do to disprove Peter and stop Christianity was to produce the dead body of Jesus.

Despite harassment and imprisonment, His disciples proclaimed Christ's resurrection and Lordship in Jerusalem, instead of fleeing. The Jews were unable to contradict them. And the people believed them!