Summary: Why is it important to consider proofs for the resurrection of Christ? Because if there is no resurrection, our preaching is empty and your faith is empty.
PROOFS FOR THE RESURRECTION
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most MISERABLE.” (1 Cor. 15:13-19).
If there is no resurrection:
• Our preaching is empty and your faith is empty
• We are found false witnesses of God, and you are still in your sins
• Those who have died are nothing but worm food
“After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings--or it is the most remarkable fact of history.” (Josh McDowell).
HOW DO WE KNOW JESUS WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD? BACKGROUND:
“On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ’After three days I will rise.’ 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." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.” (Matthew 27:62-66).
• The body of Jesus was wrapped and placed in a solid rock tomb.
• An extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb.
• A Roman guard of strictly disciplined men was stationed to guard the tomb.
• Three days later the tomb was empty and they said He had risen from the dead.
FACT #1: EMPTY TOMB
One obvious fact of the resurrection is the empty tomb – there’s no body!
The disciples of Christ preached His resurrection in Jerusalem. If their teaching was false, people could have checked out the facts by visiting the tomb.
FACT #2: THE CHANGE IN THE LIVES OF THE DISCIPLES
They went from being afraid to being bold. This wouldn’t have happened if they had faked the resurrection. “The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead” was in THEM!
FACT #3: JESUS’ APPEARANCES CONFIRMED
Jesus appeared alive on several occasions. He had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. (1 Cor. 15:6 – less than 30 years after Jesus’ death).
FACT #4: PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THE SAME JESUS TODAY.
Hebrews 13:8 – He lives, He lives… Christ Jesus lives today!
He’s still saving, forgiving, transforming and healing people TODAY – MIRACLES!
THE RESURRECTION STORY:
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 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. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 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." So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.” (Matthew 28:1-9).