Category: Jesus, Word: RESURRECTION
December 11, 2015 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
[They] said, “The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:34-35)
DEFINITION: The resurrection of Jesus means His rising from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion, in bodily form, transformed so that His body can never die again. Evidence for His resurrection focuses on the empty tomb and the appearances of the living Christ.
Christianity stands or falls on the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. If God raised Him from the dead, then His claims to speak the truth and to be God’s Son are vindicated: “[He] was established as the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). If the resurrection did not happen, “Your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins…. We should be pitied more than anyone” (1 Cor. 15:17,19). This obviously goes far beyond believing that somehow the “Christ spirit” survived His death.
All four Gospels report that the tomb in which Jesus’ body was buried and sealed was empty on Sunday. However, several alternate theories have been offered: the women went to the wrong tomb; the disciples stole the body; He didn’t really die but had been unconscious. Only His bodily resurrection can adequately explain the empty tomb. Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation alike report the appearances of the resurrected Jesus. The only way to “explain away” this evidence is by a theory of hallucination. It is easier to believe the resurrection as reported than to believe that so many different people hallucinated exactly the same thing under such a great variety of conditions. (see Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict.)
Jesus presented Himself alive five times on Easter Day: to women at the tomb (Matt. 28:1-10; to Mary Magdalene (Jn. 20:11-18); to Peter (Lk. 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5); to two travelers (Lk. 24:13-32); and to ten apostles (Jn 20:19-25). Seven more appearances are reported: to eleven apostles in Jerusalem (Jn. 20:26-31); to seven at the Sea of Galilee (Jn. 21:1-3); to eleven apostles in Galilee (Matt. 28:16-20); to more than 500 (1 Cor. 15:6); to His brother James (1 Cor 15:7); at His ascension 40 days after the resurrection (Lk. 24:44-49); and to Saul of Tarsus on the way to Damascus (1 Cor. 15:8).
The resurrection of Jesus was different in quality from other raisings reported in Scriptures. Lazarus, for example, had life returned to his body, but he was not transformed so that he could not die again. Thus, until the dead in Christ are raised, he alone has experienced true resurrection. He is therefore called “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). What was Jesus’ resurrection body like? The Gospels and Epistles alike yield little direct information. The longest discussion is found in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49, which says that “if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” and “we will also bear the image of the heavenly man” (vv. 44,49). Those who have received salvation in Christ have already begun to experience “the power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10) and are therefore assured that they will be raised eternally at His coming.
REFLECTION: Do you believe Christianity stands or falls with the bodily resurrection of Jesus? Why or why not? What evidence for the resurrection do you find the most persuasive?
PRAYER: Risen Lord, You conquered death and are alive forever. I worship You this day as the One whom the grave could not hold. Thank You for securing my own coming resurrection. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.