Summary: Why we believe in Christ's resurrection
A. HISTORY: CREDIBLE OBSERVERS AND A RELIABLE RECORD
B. WHY WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST’S RESURRECTION
1. The tomb was empty. “They (the women) found the stone rolled away . . . and found not the body of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Luke 24:2-3). The angel said, “He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him” (Mark 16:6).
a. The enemy tried to secure it. “Pilate said . . . make it as secure as you can . . . So they went and made the sepulcher secure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch” (Matt. 27:65-66).
b. The seal was the authority of the Roman government.
c. The stone was extremely heavy. “The angel of the Lord . . . rolled back the stone . . . and sat on it” (Matt. 28:2).
d. The grave clothes were left. “Then cometh Simon Peter . . . and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes” (John 20:6-7, KVJ).
2. The sudden transformation of frightened disciples into bold defenders of the resurrection. “They all forsook Him (Jesus) and fled” (Mark 14:50). Later they preached, “You killed the prince of life” (Acts 3:15). “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection” (Acts 4:33).
3. The rapid emergence of the church (a fellowship of believers) who claimed to be the body of Christ in whom Jesus lived and He was empowering them for service. “The church which is His body” (Eph. 1:22-23).
4. The testimony of various individuals and groups who claimed they talked with Him and fellowshipped with the risen Christ. “As they (the women) went to tell His disciples, behold Jesus met them, saying, “All hail” (Matt. 28:4). “The first person who saw Him was Mary Magdalene . . . she went and found the disciples . . . they didn’t believe her . . . afterwards He appeared to two who were walking into the country . . . still later He appeared to the eleven” (Mark 16:9-14, NLT).
a. The definition and veracity of history, “The credible testimony of reliable witnesses.”
b. Testimony from non-supportive witnesses. The soldiers at the tomb, “The guards shook with fear when they saw him (the angel), and fell into a dead faint” (Matthew 28:4, NLT).
c. The secondary result of the non-supportive witnesses. “A great company of priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).
5. The transformation of a Christ-hating persecutor like Paul into a fervent witness of Jesus Christ. “I am Jesus whom you persecute” (Acts 9:5).
6. The testimony of Paul and all believers that the resurrected Christ indwelt them. “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me.”
7. A hermeneutical conviction by the early church that saw and interpreted the death, burial and resurrection of Christ from the Old Testament. “Peter’s sermon at Pentecost quoted 11 Old Testament predictions of Christ coming to earth and His death.
8. The production of a body of literature (the New Testament) that comprehensibly, completely, and historically explains the resurrection of Christ and fits perfectly with the Old Testament.
9. The inability of Jewish leaders to disprove the resurrection in the very city where Christ died and was buried.
a. There was no body.
b. There were no witnesses to counter what the apostles said.
10. The use of Sunday by the early church as a day of worship, which was a radical change from Saturday worship.
a. Jews hated anyone who didn’t recognize their Sabbath. “The Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath” (John 5:16).
b. The Old Testament pictured Sunday as “the New Beginning of New Life.”
11. The conversion of James the half-brother of Jesus who previously opposed him, but became leader of the Jerusalem church. “James stood and said, ‘Brothers listen to me’” (Acts 15:13).
12. The testimony of Ignatius of Antioch who was born 30 A.D. and later died a martyr when thrown to the beasts.
“As for me, I know that even after His resurrection, He was in the flesh and I believe this to be true. For when He came to those who were with Peter He said to them, ‘Take hold and handle and see that I am not a spirit without a body.’ And as soon as they touched Him and felt His pulse and body, they believed. It is for this reason that they despised death, and even showed themselves superior to death. After His resurrection, He ate and drank with them like anyone else with a body although in spirit He was one with the Father.”
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart: