He is Risen!

Matthew 27:57-66; I Corinthians 15:1-19….12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is THE defining event of Christianity.  That makes Easter the most important celebration we recognize throughout the year.  The resurrection of Jesus is so critical to Christianity that without it, there would be no Christianity.

I love to watch history shows and time travel shows that raise the question, “What would the world be like if this happened or didn’t happen?”  The question I would raise is this, what difference would it make if Jesus were not raised from the dead?

The religious and political leaders who led the way for Jesus’ death sentence would most likely have had nothing to concern themselves with if Jesus were not raised.  Matthew tells us that the religious leaders had to conspire with the guards from the tomb to fabricate a story that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body in order to try to cover up the resurrection.  But if Jesus were not raised, they would have been able to simply show people his body in the tomb.

For the disciples, on the other hand, it makes a great deal of difference whether or not Jesus was actually raised.  The disciples are repeatedly described as fearful, doubtful and disbelieving regarding Jesus resurrection.  It took a great deal to convince them of his physical resurrection.  But once they were convinced, it radically changed their lives.  Each one went forth willing to suffer prison, beatings and even death in order to spread the good news about Jesus resurrection.  The resurrection of Jesus is central to Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost.  In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul highlights the significance of the resurrection to the message stating unequivocally that if Jesus was not raised from the dead then their preaching and faith in him is completely worthless.

The Apostle Paul further makes it clear that the message about Jesus’ resurrection is founded on evidence not wishful thinking or fabrication.   He lists numerous individuals and a crowd of 500, many of whom were still living, who were witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.  He also mentions the fact that the events of Jesus ministry, death and resurrection, were the fulfillment of scripture where they had been forecast long before they came to be.  Then he describes the effect of his own personal encounter with Jesus and the dramatic way in which the risen savior had completely changed his life.  These three elements continue to offer confirmation of the resurrection of Jesus for believers today: the testimony of the disciples contained in the New Testament, the confirmation of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and our personal experience of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.

1.  How do these three elements impact your response to Jesus?

2.  The following  link is for an article that outlines a series of evidence based arguments for the validity of the resurrection.  A professor I had in college once said that the logical proofs for the existence of God may not convince you to believe in God, but they prove that it is not mere whimsy or stupidity to believe in God.  Discuss the article with others and consider how it supports you in your faith and how it may help others consider faith in Jesus.  http://crossexamined.org/10-reasons-accept-resurrection-jesus-historical-fact/

3.  What would your life be like if Jesus had not risen from the dead?

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