Summary: Why does the Easter bunny and egg hunts seem to be more exciting than news about Christ’s death and resurrection? Because we simply haven’t grasped the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Reality and the Relevance of the Resurrection
Lighthouse Assembly of God
Pastor Greg Tabor
Why does the Easter bunny and egg hunts seem to be more exciting than news about Christ’s death and resurrection? Because we simply haven’t grasped the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Hank Hanegraaff writes, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest feat in the annals of human history. It is the very “capstone in the arch of Christianity.” Without it, all else crumbles. When we fully comprehend the significance of resurrection, our lives will be revolutionized. Without resurrection, there is no hope. Indeed without resurrection, there would be no Christianity.” (from Christian Research Report, Vol.13, Issue 2, May 2000).
II. The Reality of the Resurrection
We need to come to a conclusion today that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is more than a fairy tale, more than a legend, and more than some religious symbol. It is a historical fact that is indisputable. In fact, Billy Graham said that, “There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived or that Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three.” How can Billy Graham make such a statement? Is there really evidence that makes believing in the resurrection more than a leap of blind faith? Let’s see…
*Proofs of the Resurrection (using Hanegraaff’s acronym FEAT)
While each of these points could be studied in more detail, we’ll just stay on each point briefly, but enough to make the point.
- Fatal Torment
Dr. Norman Geisler writes, “For the Resurrection to have any significance, Jesus had to be dead first.” (When Skeptics Ask. p. 120).
Some have concluded that Jesus just passed out and revived later in His tomb. But that’s absurd! Christ suffered horribly. Let me explain how horribly He suffered and eventually died.
He began his suffering at the Garden of Gethsemane where Luke 22:44 says, “his sweat was like drops of blood falling the ground.”, and his suffering continued throughout his interrogations before Annas and Caiaphas, where he was hit in the face, spit upon and beaten, and continued on as he was taken to Pilate, where he was flogged, given a crown of thorns, spit upon and struck on the head again and again. The flogging alone was so brutal that it is amazing he lasted until His crucifixion.
And then there was the crucifixion itself. Hanegraaff writes, “The Roman system of crucifixion had been fine-tuned to produce maximum pain. In fact, the word excruciating (literally “out of the cross”) had to be invented to fully codify its horror.” (Resurrection. p. 19). They used 5 to 7 inch spikes to hammer him to the wooden beams of the cross.
John 19:31-37 gives the account of the guards breaking the legs of the thieves to hasten their death by asphyxiation at the request of the religious leaders so that the bodies would not be left on the crosses during the Sabbath. But when they came to Jesus, he was already dead and they speared His side instead. This produced a sudden flow of blood and water. If he wasn’t dead, he would be dead now.
Mark 15:44-45 NIV says, “Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.” He was dead. No doubt about it.
- Empty Tomb
In Matthew 27:51-61 it gives the account of Jesus’ burial. Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sandhedrin, placed Jesus’ body in his tomb. This account also says that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting opposite the tomb, so they knew where it was. And the next day the Sanhedrin came up with a plan to specifically thwart any plan the disciples might have of stealing Jesus’ body and faking a resurrection by getting Pilate’s order to post a guard and seal the tomb (read Matthew 27:62-66).
Some might say that the Romans or the Jews stole the body, but that makes no sense. What motive would they have had? That would only encourage something they wanted squelched. Instead, after Jesus had risen, and the guards had reported everything that had happened, the chief priests bribed them to circulate a false story that the disciples had stolen the body (read Matthew 28:11-15).
The tomb was discovered empty because it was empty. Nobody got the tombs mixed up. Nobody stole the body. It was empty, period.
One of the greatest proofs of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was His many post-resurrection appearances.
While there were many appearances, for the sake of time, I want to look at just one of these appearances. Listen to 1 Corinthians 15:6 NIV: