Just a Thought: Did Jesus really rise from the dead? And does it really even matter? The answer to both questions is an emphatic YES!
The truth is, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, all Christian faith is in vain (1 cor. 15:17) and if there is a God, man is still without hope so we should all just live it up while we can (v 32B). But He has risen and He is alive today and for that reason we have not only a hope for the future but an assurance for today.
For the critic: the evidence is overwhelming, He was beaten, flogged, hung on a cross and speared in His side and pronounced dead by His executioners. But even if one thought He didn’t really die; he was placed in tomb sealed by (about) a one ton stone rolled down into a inclined groove sealed with an official government seal and protected by posted guards.
Who moved the stone? If it were His enemy’s they would have produced the body to disprove His resurrection, if it were His disciples they certainly wouldn’t have “all” died for the lie. The ladies couldn’t do it. And even if Jesus was revived, He couldn’t have moved it from the inside. Then we have not only the empty tomb, but the grave clothes lying undisturbed like a cocoon.
And how do we explain all those witnesses and appearances of Christ after the resurrection (at one time by over 500 people (1 Cor. 15:6)? Well, the faith we have in the resurrection not only gives us a solid hope for the future and eternity, but is gives us great confidence we serve and pray to a “Living Lord and savior today!” For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers 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, 1 Cor 15:3-7.
Dr. William Burnham is pastor of Point of Grace Church in Covington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.