But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures...
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
The resurrection of Jesus is central to the New Testament, and it is central to our faith. If Jesus has not been raised from the dead, then there is no reason to follow Jesus, there is no reason to consider him to be even a great teacher. The whole New Testament would be one big lie, if Jesus had not physically risen from the dead. All of his original followers would be found to be false witnesses, who foolishly gave their lives for something they knew was a lie.
Jesus himself repeatedly taught that he would die and be raised from the dead. For example:
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21)
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:22)
Throughout the book of Acts, Jesus’ followers made his resurrection central to their message. For example:
“This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” (Acts 2:32)
“And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear…” (Acts 10:39-40)
And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” (Acts 17:2-3)
Difficulty in believing in the resurrection of Jesus often arises from one of two roots:
1. Questioning the existence and/or power of God.
2. Questioning whether Jesus actually died.
If the first applies to you, I recommend that you go back to chapter 1 and reconsider the reality of God, and see chapter 9 about God’s power. If the second applies, go back to chapter 4 and reconsider the necessity and reality of Jesus’ death.
Christ is risen!! Can you respond “He is risen indeed!!”?
For Further Reflection
Luke 24:1-53: The resurrection of Jesus. (Also Matthew 28:1-20, Mark 16:1-20, John 20:1-31)
Acts 2:22-32: Part of Peter’s first sermon.
1Corinthians 15:12-21: The importance of the resurrection.
Romans 6:1-14: Implications of the resurrection.
Book Reference: “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. (Especially Part 3 “Researching the Resurrection”)
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