Read: Luke 24
As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. (Luke 24:15, NLT)
A lot of people say, “I believe in Jesus. I think he was a great teacher…in fact I’d say he was God’s Son. But I’m not too sure about this resurrection thing…I mean really, it’s kind of unbelievable. It’s probably just a myth, anyway.”
According to a recent poll, 85% of Americans claim Christianity as their personal faith, yet of those, an astonishing 35% believe that though crucified, Jesus never had a physical resurrection. No resurrection! The Risen Lord is the heart and soul of Christianity. The Apostle Paul said Jesus rising from the tomb on the third day isn’t just a creative little addendum to the Easter story, it is central and essential to authentic faith. He pointed out if Christians are not going to stake their lives and their eternal future on the reality of the resurrection, then they are wasting their time being Christian.
Large numbers of people are fascinated with Jesus; they respect him; they even love him in a way. Yet they are uncomfortable with the resurrection and uncertain that it really happened. However, buried deep within their hearts is a longing for the resurrection to be true. They need Jesus’ resurrection to be real—even if human logic has buried the possibility of someone rising from death—because they, too, hope for resurrection when they reach the end of their lives.
They are no different, really, than the people in first century Palestine who had placed their hopes in Jesus. They, too, had bought into his proclamation of eternal life, only to have their hopes dashed when Jesus was crucified on the cross and buried forever in a cold, hopeless garden tomb.
Or so they thought! Stories began to immediately circulate that Jesus had risen from the dead. At first his followers didn’t believe it—who in his right mind would?—until Jesus himself began to appear to them, offering not just hearsay evidence, but irrefutable evidence that he was alive—living proof. That’s right, Jesus himself showed up and blew the doors of disbelief right off their jailhouse of doubt, forever freeing them to the settled truth that he was alive and that resurrection was now the new end of life order for all who placed their faith in him.
Jesus himself showed up! (Luke 24:15, 36) In the accounts of five different New Testament writers, the Risen Christ made thirteen separate appearances to a total of 557 witnesses—people who saw Jesus alive with their own eyes. At the time Paul wrote his piece about the resurrection, some thirty or so years later, he pointed out that most of those 500 plus eye-witnesses were still alive, so all any skeptic had to do was just go ask one of them for their personal account. (I Corinthians 15:6)
Acts 1:3 says, “During the forty days after his crucifixion, Jesus appeared to these people many times with convincing proofs that he was actually alive.” Jesus himself showed up. He wanted people to know that he was alive—that resurrection was the new order of the day.
When you consider the historical, physical, visual and the transformational proof of the resurrection—verifiable evidence—you are forced to decide about Jesus: He is either Lord of all or he is not Lord at all. He is either the risen Christ or he was an incredible liar. Either Christianity is based on truth that you should order your life by or it needs to be discarded as unreliable and swept forever into the dustbin of history.
The evidence says the resurrection is reliable fact; we can be confident in that. Jesus especially wants you to be convinced!
“For a mere legend about Christ…to have gained circulation and to have had the impact it had [in the 1st century], without one shred of basis in fact, is incredible.” ~William F. Albright
What If God Took Over?
Do you find yourself wanting to believe in the resurrection, but still having your doubts? Bring your doubts to Jesus and pray this simple prayer found in Mark 9:24, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”