Easter: Why I Believe in the Resurrection
Today, millions will celebrate Easter, focusing on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, we live in a skeptical age; is this just a myth or historical fact? I grew up in a Christian home and remember as a college student worrying that I was a Christian simply because of my background. I took several months and looked critically at my faith, and other faith leaders and systems. I read a lot of books and found satisfaction in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today at age 52, I honestly believe that Jesus predicted his own death, and on the third day, walked out of his own grave. While not remotely a complete list, here are some compelling reasons why I believe Jesus’ resurrection to be true:
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- The empty tomb. Even the enemies of Jesus did not deny that His tomb was empty, they just tried to come up with other explanations.
- Eyewitness testimony. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, other women, Cleopas, the eleven disciples and hundreds of others. This was not just one appearance, but multiple appearances, over an extended period of time to large numbers of people.
- Appearances to skeptics. Jesus appeared to Thomas, the “doubting apostle,” who wouldn’t believe unless he saw and touched the risen Christ. James, the half-brother of Jesus, did not believe in Him until after the resurrection. Honestly, what would it take to convince a man that his brother was fully divine? The ultimate example is Saul, the persecutor of the early church, who becomes Paul, the church’s greatest missionary and author of much of the New Testament.
- Total commitment of the apostles. The fact that most of the apostles died for their belief in the resurrection should give the critic pause. Yes, since I was not there and have not seen the risen Christ, there is some faith in my belief in the resurrection; but the apostles were in the position to KNOW with certainty. And all (except John) died martyr’s deaths, courageously proclaiming the resurrection. Who knowingly dies for a lie?
- The stunning transformation of the apostles. In the gospel accounts of the death of Jesus, they are a cowardly and unreliable bunch of men, but once they see the risen Christ they are unstoppable. This rag tag group of peasants literally change the world because of their belief in the resurrection.
- The existence and emergence of the church. Go beyond your localized view of the church, where 100 people meet together to worship. Think of the third of humanity that calls Jesus Lord, the church universal. This is an entity that has spread around the world crossing national and cultural barriers. It is made up of people with diverse economic and educational levels. It has been and is currently being attacked in many countries, yet it continues to thrive.
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