Bible Study

THE RESURRECTION

Why Is the Resurrection Important?

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important happening of all time. It is the crux, you might say, of the Christian faith.

 

The very foundation of all Christian doctrine hinges on the truth of this account.  If the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen, then the apostles were all fakes and everyone throughout history who has ever testified of Christ's power is a liar. If the resurrection did not happen, then Jesus Christ has no dominion over life and death, and we remain lost in our sin, destined to die.

 

Our faith is useless.Yet, even as I write these words, the Spirit of God within me testifies, "He lives!" As Christians, we know we worship a risen Savior.

 

At Easter time we celebrate the fact that Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the grave as recorded in Scripture.

 

Perhaps you're skeptical, doubting the importance of the resurrection. Today, we'll consider seven solid proofs to support the biblical account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection Proof No2: The Holy Women Eyewitnesses

 

The holy women eyewitnesses are further proof that the Gospels are accurate historical records.

 

If the accounts had been made up, no ancient author would have used women for witnesses to Christ's resurrection.

 

Women were second class citizens in Bible times; their testimony was not even allowed in court. Yet the Bible says the risen Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene and other holy women.

 

Even the apostles did not believe Mary when she told them the tomb was empty. Jesus, who always had special respect for these women, honored them as the first eyewitnesses to his resurrection.

 

The male Gospel writers had no choice but to report this embarrassing act of God's favour, because that was how it happened.

The Resurrection Proof No4: Changed Lives of James and Others

 

Changed lives are yet another proof of the resurrection. James, the brother of Jesus, was openly skeptical that Jesus was the Messiah.

 

Later James became a courageous leader of the Jerusalem church, even being stoned to death for his faith.

 

Why? The Bible says the risen Christ appeared to him. What a shock to see your own brother, alive again, after you knew he was dead.

 

James and the apostles were effective missionaries because people could tell these men had touched and seen the risen Christ.

 

With such zealous eyewitnesses, the early church exploded in growth, spreading west from Jerusalem to Rome and beyond.

 

For 2,000 years, encounters with the resurrected Jesus have changed lives.

The Resurrection Proof No6: Conversion of Paul

 

The conversion of Paul records the most drastically changed life in the Bible.

 

As Saul of Tarsus, he was an aggressive persecutor of the early church.

 

When the risen Christ appeared to Paul on the Damascus Road, Paul became Christianity's most determined missionary.

 

He endured five floggings, three beatings, three shipwrecks, a stoning, poverty, and years of ridicule. Finally the Roman emperor Nero had Paul beheaded because the apostle refused to deny his faith in Jesus.

 

What could make a person willingly accept—even welcome—such hardships?

 

Christians believe the conversion of Paul came about because he encountered Jesus Christ who had risen from the dead.

Take some time to read the Bible story about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection Proof No1:  The Empty Tomb of Jesus

 

The empty tomb may be the strongest proof Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Two major theories have been advanced by unbelievers:

  • someone stole Jesus' body or

  • the women and disciples went to the wrong tomb.

 

The Jews and Romans had no motive to steal the body. Christ's apostles were too cowardly and would have had to overcome the Roman guards.

 

The women who found the tomb empty had earlier watched Jesus being laid away; they knew where the correct tomb was. Even if they had gone to the wrong tomb, the Sanhedrin could have produced the body from the right tomb to stop the resurrection stories. Jesus' burial cloths were left neatly folded inside, hardly the act of hurrying grave robbers. Angels said Jesus had risen from the dead.

The Resurrection Proof No3: Jesus' Apostles' New-Found Courage

 

After the crucifixion, Jesus' apostles hid behind locked doors, terrified they would be executed next. But something changed them from cowards to bold preachers. 

 

Anyone who understands human character knows people do not change that much without some major influence. That influence was seeing their Master, bodily risen from the dead.

 

Christ appeared to them in thelocked room, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and on the Mount of Olives.

 

After seeing Jesus alive, Peter and the others left the locked room and preached the risen Christ, unafraid of what would happen to them. They quit hiding because they knew the truth.

 

They finally understood that Jesus is God incarnate, who saves people from sin.

The Resurrection Proof No5: Large Crowd of Eyewitnesses

 

A large crowd of more than 500 eyewitnesses saw the risen Jesus Christ at the same time.

 

The Apostle Paul records this event in 1 Corinthians 15:6. He states that most of these men and women were still alive when he wrote this letter, about 55 A.D.

 

Undoubtedly they told others about this miracle. Today, psychologists say it would be impossible for a large crowd of people to have had the same hallucination at once.

 

Smaller groups also saw the risen Christ, such as the apostles, and Cleopas and his companion.

 

They all saw the same thing, and in the case of the apostles, they touched Jesus and watched him eat food. The hallucination theory is further debunked because after the ascension of Jesus into heaven, sightings of him stopped.

The Resurrection Proof No7: They Died for Jesus

 

Countless people have died for Jesus, absolutely certain that the resurrection of Christ is an historical fact.

 

Tradition says ten of the original apostles died as martyrs for Christ, as did the Apostle Paul.

 

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of early Christians died in the Roman arena and in prisons for their faith.

 

Down through the centuries, thousands more have died for Jesus because they believed the resurrection is true.

 

Even today, people suffer persecution because they have faith that Christ rose from the dead.

 

An isolated group may give up their lives for a cult leader, but Christian martyrs have died in many lands, for nearly 2,000 years, believing Jesus conquered death to give them eternal life.

The Seven Last Words of Jesus

 

What Were the Seven Final Phrases of Jesus on the Cross and What Did They Mean?

Jesus Christ made seven final statements during his last hours on the cross.

 

These phrases are held dear by followers of Christ because they offer a glimpse into the depth of his suffering to accomplish redemption.

 

Recorded in the Gospels between the time of his crucifixion and his death, they reveal his divinity as well as his humanity.

As much as possible, given the approximate sequence of events as portrayed in the Gospels, these seven last words of Jesus are presented here in chronological order.

2) Jesus Speaks to the Criminal on the Cross - Luke 23:43

"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

 

One of the criminals who was crucified with Christ, had recognized who Jesus was and expressed faith in him as Savior. Here we see grace poured out through faith, as Jesus assured the dying man of his forgiveness and eternal salvation.

4) Jesus Cries Out to the Father - Matthew 27:46 (also Mark 15:34)

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

 

In the darkest hours of his suffering, Jesus cried out the opening words of Psalm 22. And although much has been suggested regarding the meaning of this phrase, it was quite apparent the agony Christ felt as he expressed separation from God. Here we see the Father turning way from the Son as Jesus bore the full weight of our sin.

6) It is Finished - John 19:30 ...

he said, "It is finished "

 

Jesus knew he was suffering the crucifixion for a purpose. Earlier he had said in John 10:18 of his life, "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

 

These three words were packed with meaning, for what was finished here was not only Christ's earthly life, not only his suffering and dying, not only the payment for sin and the redemption of the world—but the very reason and purpose he came to earth was finished. His final act of obedience was complete. The Scriptures had been fulfilled.

1) Jesus Speaks to the Father - Luke 23:34

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

 

In the midst of his excruciating suffering, the heart of Jesus was focused on others rather than himself. Here we see the nature of his love—unconditional and divine.

3) Jesus Speaks to Mary and John - John 19:26-27

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother."

 

Jesus, looking down from the cross, was still filled with the concerns of a son for the earthly needs of his mother. None of his brothers were there to care for her, so he gave this task to the Apostle John. Here we clearly see Christ's humanity.

5) Jesus is Thirsty - John 19:28

Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, "I am thirsty."

 

Jesus refused the initial drink of vinegar, gall and myrrh (Matthew 27:34 and Mark 15:23) offered to alleviate his suffering. But here, several hours later, we see Jesus fulfilling the messianic prophecy found in Psalm 69:21.

 

 

7) Jesus' Last Words - Luke 23:46

Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

 

When he had said this, he breathed his last. Here Jesus closes with the words of Psalm 31:5, speaking to the Father. We see his complete trust in the Father. Jesus entered death in the same way he lived each day of his life, offering up his life as the perfect sacrifice and placing himself in God's hands..

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