It’s that time of year, Easter is just around the corner! Easter is the time for us as Christians to celebrate that Jesus was raised from the dead, commonly referred to as the resurrection. Even though the resurrection is central to the gospel, even Christians can have lingering doubts about whether this event ever took place or do not feel confident enough to explain the resurrection to other people. So in this blog I will give three reasons to believe in the resurrection.
In my next blog, I will address three ways you can apply the truth of the resurrection to your life.
The church in Corinth had their own doubts and questions about the reality of the resurrection. So when Paul wrote them, he addressed many of their concerns. (See 1 Corinthians 15)
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
Paul told the believers in Corinth that if they wanted to check the facts about the resurrection out for themselves, all they needed to do was ask the people who witnessed it. He states that up to five hundred people saw Jesus at the same time! Many of them were still alive at the time of Paul’s writings and therefore could have been personally questioned. Now if it were only one person who saw Jesus we could say that person was lying or maybe even hallucinating. If it were a handful of people, we could consider it a conspiracy. But when you have five hundred people as eye witnesses, it’s hard to get them to all believe and vouch for a lie!
The second reason to believe in the resurrection is that people who saw Jesus were transformed. Take Peter for example. As Jesus was being questioned by the High Priest and on his way to being crucified, Peter was busy denying he even knew the Lord. (John 18:15-18) Yet after encountering the risen Lord and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Peter boldly proclaimed Christ before thousands of people! And what was his message? “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” (Acts 2:32) The resurrection transformed a scared man name Peter into a leader of the early church who saw miracles, signs, wonders and salvation.
And how about Thomas? Thomas was an interesting guy. He was a fact checker. If Thomas lived today, I think he’d be living in Missouri, the “Show-Me” state. Thomas said he would not believe in the resurrection unless he could put his hands into the wounds of Jesus. (John 20:25) A week later Jesus appeared and showed himself to Thomas inviting him to touch his wounds. All Thomas could say was, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28) Thomas went on to be a missionary to India and was eventually martyred for his faith in Christ. In fact, all of the apostles apart from John were killed for their faith. Their martyrdom is further proof that they believed in this resurrected Christ.
Beyond the changed lives of the early disciples, you can also see proof of the resurrection in the lives that Jesus Christ changes to this day!
The third reason for believing in the resurrection is the Church. After Jesus ascended into heaven, he may have had several hundred disciples. Now after 2000 years, there are over 2 Billion people who consider themselves Christians. By 2050, Pew Research Center estimates there will be close to 3 Billion believers in the world. My belief is that if Jesus had only died, so would have the movement of his followers that we now call Christianity.
So how does the faith spread from a few hundred to billions of people? I’ll give you my simple conclusion – the power of the resurrection. Despite persecution, trials and even the numerous failures of the God’s people in morality, justice, scandal and even war, the church of Jesus Christ still exists to this day. And it’s not going away! While the church in America may be in decline, in many parts of the world Christianity is still growing in numbers and in some places exponentially.
Do you know of any company or organization that has existed for 2000 years and continues to grow despite such hardship and failure?
So how is it happening? Why are there more followers of Christ today than any other time in history? Was it because Jesus picked such an amazing group of men to lead his cause? Not so. Was it because they were given unprecedented financial resources to support themselves? Nope. If it wasn’t human resources or financial resources, what has made the Church endure over all these years?
I’ll tell you what, it’s the power of the resurrection!
Which of these three reasons is most helpful to you and why?