This Changes Everything

You should want Easter to be true.

Easter, the day Jesus, God the Son, came back to life three days after being executed by crucifixion.

Why?

Death is not the end of existence if Jesus is risen from the dead.  Someday wars will cease and peace will reign.  Our tsunami plagued planet will be replaced with a calm creation. It means sickness will be talked about in the past tense.  There will not be a need for cancer treatment centers and children’s hospitals.   The resurrection means that everyone who’s buried a spouse, or every couple who has wept together over their baby’s fresh grave, will one day have their grief overshadowed by God’s glory at Christ’s return. It means that soon there will be a day when all those who can’t walk, or hear, and those whose minds are slow or bodies are broken will rise from their chairs, step out of their beds, leave all assistance behind and be whole. Totally amazing!

Isn’t it time to stop doubting the resurrection?

The historical evidence for the resurrection is compelling.

After Thomas had declared he would not believe Jesus had risen from the dead unless he saw Him and touched Him, Jesus appeared. Jesus told Thomas to touch Him, to put his finger into the holes in His wrists, and his hands into Christ’s side. Jesus appeared to five hundred people at one time.  These eye witnesses gave the same account; Jesus was no longer dead. Even the Orthodox Jewish scholar Pinchas Lapide has declared in print that he believes Jesus was resurrected while still disputing He was the Messiah.

Beyond difficult to impossible is what it would have been in Jerusalem for Christians telling their neighbors that Jesus was resurrected had the tomb not been empty.  F.F. Bruce says, “Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.”

Flavius Josephus was a Jewish priest at the time of the Jewish Revolt of A.D. 66.  He was captured by the Romans, imprisoned, set free and then retired to Rome where he wrote “Antiquities” as a history of the Jews.  It is in Antiquities that he mentions Christ.

“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus.  And his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous.  And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”

Would you risk dying for a lie?  Who would?  The original disciples and those who believed after them were willing, and often did until Roman Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan making it acceptable to believe Jesus was the Son of God and consequently not a capital offense to the Empire.

An empty tomb changes everything! It means that everything Jesus ever preached or promised is true — which is good news because Jesus has some amazing things to offer those of us who know the emptiness of this life.

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