One of the most important things that we can ever know in this world is that Christ rose from the dead. The Resurrection is the foundation of our faith. As Paul said, “And if Christ be not raised…you are yet in your sins.. we are of all men most miserable.” When things are going wrong and questions come, we can always go to the Resurrection for the certainty of our salvations, rested upon the many infallible proofs. The Resurrection is the unassailable fortress of Christianity. All of the efforts of all of the skeptics down through the centuries have utterly failed to even put a dent in it.
Let me list a few of the many evidences for the resurrection.
The first evidence is simply this: You worship on Sunday…and not Saturday. The first century Jews were fanatic Sabbatarians. They would stone a person for carrying a stick on the Sabbath. Why did the Early Church, made up almost entirely of Jews, worship God on the first day of the week and not on the seventh? There is only one explanation: Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week.
The second important evidence is that the tomb of Jesus Christ was empty. It was never suggested by anyone at that time that the tomb was not empty. The priests paid the soldiers to say that the disciples stole the body. None of them ever tried to refute the preaching of His disciples by saying, “What do you mean He has risen from the dead? Why, He’s still there. I went and checked the tomb. The seal is not broken. He is still entombed.”
Third, at least ten times Jesus appeared after the Resurrection and before His Ascension. He made numerous appearances up to 500 people at one time! As a result of these appearance, the disciples were transformed. But we need to remember after the death of Jesus, they were locked in an upper room for fear of the Jews. Then, suddenly this group of frightened men turned into bold preachers of the resurrected Christ.
Not only were they transformed, but the ultimate proof of their sincerity was given when they shed their blood for what they believed. Most gave their lives in martyrs’ deaths, dying in the most horrible ways. Yet they never denied their faith.
Then there was the swoon theory which says that Jesus simply became unconscious, went into some sort of shock, was placed in the tomb, and there in the cool freshness of the tomb, He revived and walked out and confused the disciples into thinking He had risen from the dead!
Those who crucified Jesus were in the business of making people dead—and they were experts at what they did. They not only crucified Christ but they pierced His heart with a Roman spear. When the spear pierced Christ, there came out water and blood. The separation of the red corpuscles and the clear liquid is absolute, conclusive medical proof of death. It is interesting that this theory was not only demolished by the church, but also by the critics themselves and the swoon theory swooned away.
The idea was later set forth that the women went to the wrong tomb! They then came back and said that Jesus was risen. Of course, the angel who told them that he was risen must have gone to the wrong tomb also! Then, Peter and John ran to the wrong tomb and then proclaimed that Jesus had risen. Everybody when to the wrong tomb—while just a few yards away Roman soldiers guarded the right tomb! Of course, none of them ever thought to say: “Hey fellows, we’re over there!” Well, that was the wrong theory.
Then, there was the idea that this whole story was a legend that just sort of grew over the centuries. The Apostles were eyewitnesses of the Resurrection. The message they proclaimed right from that very date in 30 A.D. –as even skeptical historians now admit—was that Christ rose from the dead. It was not some legend that was added later. Eighteen different pagan unbelieving skeptical writers wrote about the facts concerning the birth, life, ministry, character, miracles, betrayal, trial, conviction, crucifixion, Resurrection and proclamation of Jesus Christ during the first century. Virtually the entire history of Christ can be reconstructed from those pagan authorities.
No, the Resurrection is not myth. The evidence is overwhelming. Jesus Christ is alive and the ultimate test of that is when you invite Him to walk, not only out of the tomb, but into your heart and to transform your life into the glorious, eternal, never-ending life that only Christ can bestow upon those who will receive Him and trust in Him.