Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Jesus' Resurrection

He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be … crucified and on the third day be raised again’ ” (Luke 24:6).

The earliest creed of the church was very simple: “He is risen.” There is a sense in which the entire impact of Christianity stands or falls with this truth. There are two aspects of Jesus’ resurrection stressed in the Gospels. One is the empty tomb, and the second is Jesus’ appearances during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension.

By itself, an empty tomb is an empty message. Perhaps the disciples stole the body. Perhaps the Romans or the Jews removed it. Perhaps the women were insane with grief and did not see the body. At the same time, appearances by Jesus to people after His crucifixion do not prove a resurrection. Perhaps He was a ghost and His body was still in the tomb. The Gospels stress both truths, in order to demonstrate the historical fact that Jesus’ physical body was raised from the dead, and that it was in that resurrected body that He appeared to people.

Early Sunday morning, the women took spices to finish anointing Jesus’ body for burial. When they arrived, they discovered the tomb wide open and the body missing. They were perplexed. “Who has done this?” they wondered. Suddenly, two angels appeared and told them that Jesus had risen, according to His promise.

Throughout his gospel, Luke calls attention to women. Here we see that it was women who first heard the glad tidings from the angels. It was these women who had stood by Jesus at His crucifixion after all the men had fled. Their devotion to Christ was uniquely honored.

The women returned to the rest of the disciples and told them what had happened, but the disciples thought they were crazy. Peter, however, ran to the tomb and there he saw the strips of linen in which Jesus had been wrapped, lying by themselves. Clearly, the body had not been moved by someone. Rather, the body had simply departed and left the graveclothes behind.

Much speculation has arisen from artifacts such as the mysterious Shroud of Turin. Even if proven genuine, it is doubtful many would come to faith by it (Luke 16:19–31). Seek to ground your defense of the Resurrection in the many historical eyewitness accounts recorded in Scripture.