“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.”Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, Who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there, just as He told you.’”Mark 16:5-7
“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:6-7
“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matt. 28:6
“He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” 1 Cor. 15:4
The crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ stand as the distinct crucial events in all human history that underpins and validates the claims Jesus Christ made about Himself – that He is the Son of God sent to take the sins of the human race upon Himself, so that all that believe on Him will have eternal life. These events are the foundation for the hope of the human soul.
Yet despite unrelenting efforts by skeptics to dismantle it all, the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus continue to reverberate through the generations and across many cultures. For nearly 2000 years, skeptics have tried to put it all to rest by ignoring it or rejecting it as hallucination, trickery or collusion amongst Jesus’ followers.
“Yet when the evidence is faced squarely, it towers above its challengers. As Simon Greenleaf, an expert in legal evidence as the Royall Professor of Law at Harvard in the early 19th century, put it: “A person who rejects Christ may choose to say that [he does] not accept it; he may not choose to say there is not enough evidence.””
I will not go into the mountains of evidence, such as the first person accounts of encounters with the risen Jesus, His appearance in the Upper Room, then appearing to the 500 and others…there are numerous first person witnesses to the Risen Jesus. You may wish to Google “evidence of Jesus resurrection” (this search produced 8,840,000 results)
“For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]. Then He was seen by James, then by all the apostles, and last of all, … He appeared to me also” 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 AMP
There are three truths that we know:
- The tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion. The very tomb that had been sealed shut with a boulder that required multiple men to move, and under constant guard by Roman Soldiers.
- Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room, then to hundreds more. The disciples had real interactions with Jesus in the Upper Room such as having a conversation and sharing a meal.
- As a result of the experiences of the disciples, and others, with the Risen Jesus, Christianity was established and grew throughout the region, and then further to other countries. And continues to be preached and practiced today throughout the world.
With much “evidence” from scholars, philosophers, scientists, and atheists of the impossibility of the resurrection being dismantled and dis-proven by other scholars, philosophers and scientists, why then are so many unwilling to believe and acknowledge the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection?
Perhaps that to acknowledge the facts and be in harmony with these events is to agree that:
- The God-man Jesus did in fact live, breathe and walk this earth just as the scriptures and witnesses say He did.
- That in order to be resurrected, He would have had to die.
- Therefore, the reports that He was actually scourged, beaten and crucified are true.
- That no ordinary man would willingly take that punishment without a reason.
The reason… Us. He came as the Lamb of God to once and for all take the punishment for the sins of all of us so that we, who believe on Him, never have to suffer the final judgment of eternal death separated from God.
The wrath of God was satisfied with the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The debt we owed because of our sins was removed. The price of complete forgiveness was perfectly paid. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” 1 Corinthians 15:17 ESV. It is not that the resurrection of Jesus is the price paid for our sins; it is that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus prove that He is the all-sufficient price for our redemption.
So, if that man Jesus did all of that for us… then it stands that we must admit that there is no amount of work we can do or money we can donate that will vindicate us from our due punishment of eternal death and separation from God. We now must admit that we are all sinners in need of saving. When we admit that we need of saving, then we must admit that we need of Savior — and His name Jesus Christ.
“Gary Habermas, distinguished professor of apologetics and philosophy at Liberty University, has written or co-authored more than 20 books dealing with the resurrection…. “How many facts do you need to believe that America won the Revolutionary War? I can give you 21 historical evidences for why the tomb of Jesus was empty that Sunday morning. The most common objection to the resurrection is not that there’s not enough evidence. The most common objection is, ‘I don’t like it.’”
“He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Romans 4:25
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 6:8-11
“For those who reject the claims of Christ for emotional reasons, Habermas says that Christian love and kindness must be shown before most people are even ready to deal honestly with evidence. But for those who do embrace Jesus Christ, the resurrection has broad ramifications. Most of all, it offers a foretaste of things to come.”
So after all this, what is the purpose and truth of the death and resurrection of Jesus? Justification, atonement, and redemption; each one a benefit of Christ’s death, with one singular purpose: reconciliation. Jesus’ death enables us to have a joy-filled relationship with God. Paul writes, “And although you were at one time estranged and alienated and hostile-minded [toward Him], participating in evil things, yet Christ has now reconciled you [to God] in His physical body through death, in order to present you before the Father holy and blameless and beyond reproach”. Colossians 1:21–22 AMP
It is only through Jesus’ death on the Cross of Calvary, where He purchased our redemption and forgiveness with His very life, can we now have the benefit of a permanent and lasting relationship with God our Father.
Perhaps during this Easter Season you have thought about your eternity. Know this, there are two certainties in our lives. First, everyone is going to die someday; no one is going to escape it and second, everyone is going to spend eternity somewhere. You are either going to spend it forgiven and redeemed and in relationship with God our Father in Heaven, or you will spend it condemned and tormented and separated from God for all eternity in the pits of Hell. It is your choice.
If you want to know more about how to receive forgiveness for your sin life and the assurance of God’s everlasting love, I encourage you to go to: https://titus345.com/do-you-know-jesus/