Do You Know the Risen Lord?
Do You Know the Risen Lord?
Man’s love is conditional. We gladly love those who are worthy to be loved. For example, true lovers love and care for each other in good times and bad times to the point of death. Also, caring parents would be willing to sacrifice their lives to rescue their children in times of danger.
Yet due to the simple fact of change of circumstances, man’s love might not last forever. A beloved couple might break up only because they don’t see each other for a long time. How about the parents who care so much for their own children? Would they sacrifice themselves for others’ children, especially those of their enemies? Who on earth can love the ones who badly hurt them by their strong willpower? Even if there’s someone who would truly love others unconditionally, there’s something called “death” which eventually terminates this love!
God’s love transcends time and space and never changes even when we are sinful and rebellious. When God’s begotten Son Jesus was crucified on the cross after being beaten and tortured, he exclaimed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) How stirring was the moment when Father God had to turn His face away from His Son Jesus! His sacrifice makes me feel so moved that I can hardly hold my tears.
Jesus not only died for us but also rose from the dead for us. “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. …. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:51-54) Then on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead so we can be justified by faith.
Here’s what Jesus’ resurrection means:
1. Jesus is the living God and that’s why the Christian faith is so different from other religions. All other religious founders could not be exempt from death such as Mohammed of Muslim and Buddhist of Buddhism. However, only Jesus claimed himself as God because he is truly God and “… as to his earthly life was a descendant of David….through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:3-4)
2. Christ’s resurrection is the foundation of Christianity: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead…. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corithians15:14-19)
3. Christ’s resurrection is solid proof of his overcoming the power of death. Therefore, whoever believes in Christ will also rise from the dead because “… Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…..But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” (1 Corinthians 15:23) Besides, Christ clearly claimed, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…” (John 11:25)
At this point, you might be wondering if there are any solid grounds for the resurrection of Christ. Please take a look at the following information:
An empty tomb: There was high security guarding his tomb in case of his disciples stealing his body since Jesus had prophesied many times that he would rise from the dead in 3 days. According to the Bible, “Simon Peter… went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally, the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.”
Who would steal the corpse and recoil the shroud as if the body was still inside? The Roman soldiers would not because they were the law enforcers and they would be executed for not guarding the corpse properly. How about the women? Very unlikely! They didn’t have the strength to move the gigantic stone that blocked the entrances of the tomb. The disciples wouldn’t have done it since they had scattered to hide from the authorities. The priests and the elders who had arranged the arrest of Jesus had no intention to steal Jesus’s body to reinforce his resurrection. As a result, Jesus’s resurrection was true that his body miraculously disappeared beneath the tightly wrapped shroud.
Could Jesus simply faint? Could he walk out of the tomb after he woke up? Impossible! How could a deadly wounded person who had lost most of his blood, without food or water or rescue, get up under his more than a hundred catties of spices? There’s no way for Jesus to run out without alerting the soldiers at the entrance. Moreover, it makes no sense to justify that Jesus woke up and walked a few miles to reveal himself to the disciples! Hallucinations or a wrong tomb had no basis at all.
Eye-Witnesses: Jesus had revealed himself to the disciples and others many times during his 40 days after his burial (between his resurrection and ascension). The Bible says that “Christ died for our sins… was buried… was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters 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, and last of all he appeared to me…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
Transformation of the disciples and early church Christians: Due to the resurrection of Christ, the lives of the disciples have drastically changed from being weak to being brave, even to the point of martyrdom. If Christ hasn’t risen from the dead, who will contend for a ridiculous lie? Besides, nobody from the authorities dared to refute them because most of the more than 500 brothers who witnessed the resurrection of the Lord were still alive.
Historical documents: Roman historians have many records about Jesus Christ. In the study of Jewish history, the most authoritative historian was Flavius Josephus. He was not a Christian. He was an adviser to the three emperors of the Roman Empire. His works were highly valued in Europe in the first century, second only to The Bible (Note 1). His “The Jewish Wars” and “The Antiquities of the Jews” contain very detailed records of the life of Jesus, and they affirm that Jesus was born through the pregnancy of the virgin Mary. The transformation of disciples and the spread of the gospel were due to the resurrection of Jesus. In addition, Cornelius Tacitus and Suetonius, known as the greatest historians of the Roman Empire, as well as the famous Roman lawyer and writer Pliny the Younger, and the official records of the Roman emperor Hadrian, etc. (Note 2), all unanimously pointed out the birth of Jesus Christ, the crucifixion and the empty tomb are not fiction, but true historical facts!
Testimony Church & Christians: If Christ hasn’t resurrected, how could the gospel and church stand in the midst of all the persecutions throughout history? Christians have been imprisoned but the gospel has never been bound!
Christ has died and risen from the dead for you too! Wouldn’t you take a step to get to know him today?
(Notes 1, 2 are from various websites)