Why is Jesus of Nazareth the most memorable and remarkable person who ever lived? Because of
- the manner of His life;
- the meaning of His death;
- His amazing victory over death; and
- His incomparable impact in human history.
Any one of these is compelling cause to consider the claims of Christ.
The third, Jesus’ resurrection, lends the most weight and conviction to the others. Without the millisecond miracle that changed His corpse to a new body-soul-spirit with endless glory, other arguments for our faith would soon crumble.
The resurrection of Jesus sets Christianity apart. No other world religion claims that its founder left an empty tomb. Not Hinduism. Not Buddhism. Not Islam. (Mohammed died on June 8, 632, and his tomb is visited by multitudes at Medina.) Not even Judaism, whose heroes are all dead and buried. Christ’s victory over death has always been the distinguishing tenet of faith for the Christian church.
The bodily raising of Christ from death plays a vital role in the Bible’s programs of atonement. If He is not risen, the penalty for our sins was not paid at the cross, nor was it accepted in heaven. If He is not risen, death is not defeated, and we have no hope beyond the present. If He is not risen, then take your pick of the world’s religious leaders, and walk on in darkness.
Jesus not only foretold His resurrection but also stressed that His return from the dead would be the sign to confirm Him as God’s promised Messiah-Son. Christ predicted both His death and resurrection, like this: “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9:22). He knew that His future would include the painful humiliation of the cross and the joyous exaltation set before Him three days and nights later.
May our hearts and minds be filled with this truth assembled from many texts: that the resurrection of the divine Son, Lord of heaven and earth, is God’s guarantee that all created things will be renewed in like fashion, and that all foes of life and freedom will be forever banished to oblivion. Call this our “everything” guarantee — in Christ.
Can We Know He’s Alive?
- Yes — by Jesus’ own words: “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Revelation 1:18).
- Yes — by the testimony of five hundred-plus eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:4-8). Many of these were dramatically changed by their encounter with the risen Christ. Eleven apostles, who had fled Christ’s cross for fear, later died as martyrs for what they preached: the death and resurrection of Christ.
- Yes — by His post-resurrection appearances to Mary and the other women. Read these in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20. Jesus’ resurrection is one of the best-documented facts of history.
- Yes — by His words to doubters like Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
- Yes — by who He was and is: the ever-living One destined to destroy death. As God’s Son, the divine Christ couldn’t possibly be confined by hell and the grave.
- Yes — because He lives within our hearts. We know that we know that we know . . . beyond pure reason.