“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” (Matthew 28:6)
This is the game changer! The moment that literally divides history between BC and AD. Generations looked forward to this day for centuries, and generations will continue to look back on it until the end of time. It is the moment that changed everything – the moment that confirmed every promise.
It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
This weekend we get to celebrate Easter and all that it means to those who believe in the Lord. The only reason we can look at the cross, a symbol of excruciating pain, punishment and humiliation, with joy and hope is because of what happened on one over 2,000 years ago. In Jesus’ own words recorded in Matthew 20:28, “… the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He came to earth as the humble child of a virgin, lived a perfect and sinless life dedicated to teaching about God, was falsely accused and executed and, most importantly, after three days in the tomb He rose!
Christ’s resurrection not only fulfills prophecy, but it proves his divinity and identity as the Messiah and Savior. Simply put, only God has power over death. This is so pivotal to what we believe as Christians that in one of his letters to the early churches, the Apostle Paul writes, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
But He is risen indeed! Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice to take the world’s debt of sin and pay it in full with His very life so that by believing in Him as Lord and Savior we can be forgiven and brought near to God.
Since Christ’s resurrection is so crucial to God’s plan for the redemption of His people, He gave us massive amounts of evidence to be confident in it.
To begin, before the resurrection can be corroborated, Christ’s physical death must be confirmed. It is recorded in several eyewitness accounts that after Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross, the Roman soldiers pierced Him in the side to confirm His death. Between the crowd of onlookers, Christ’s accusers and the Roman soldiers (who were professionals at their job), there is no disputing that Jesus died that fateful day.
Next, all four gospel accounts of Christ’s life record that women were the first ones to discover the empty tomb. In these accounts, we see how the angel spoke to Mary Magdalene and explained that Jesus was no longer in the tomb because He had risen and would meet them again soon. This is significant because in the first century, culturally speaking, a woman’s testimony meant almost nothing in court in comparison to a man’s testimony. So if the disciples were lying about the resurrection, they certainly would have chosen “more believable” witnesses to convince others.
Also, if the empty tomb and resurrection were a lie, then the Roman government and the Pharisees would have found and produced Jesus’ body. The last thing they wanted was for followers to claim that Christ was God and had conquered death, which is why they posted guards outside the tomb. If there had been a body somewhere to find, they would have found it.
Finally, the most indisputable evidence of the resurrection was Christ’s appearances and interactions with people after His death. He appeared to His disciples for over a month before His ascension to heaven. Paul records that Christ also appeared to 500 witnesses after His resurrection, many of whom were still alive when Paul wrote his letter. In this way, there were many eyewitnesses who could attest that Jesus of Nazareth truly lived again after the crucifixion.
This barely begins to scratch the surface of the evidence we have surrounding the resurrection of Christ. While we can be confident in the resurrection because of the ample historical evidence there is to corroborate it, ultimately, our faith will always require trusting God and who He says He is.
So, Happy Easter! Let’s celebrate with hope and confidence knowing that our Lord has paid our ransom in full so that we can have life to the fullest in Him.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.