Do You Know The Risen Christ?
Author: Helen Man
Translator: Kim Ng
Human love is conditional; we love those who are worthy and will pay back. Therefore, lovers can love each to the point of death and parents can even sacrifice their lives for their children.
Our love may change with time and circumstances. People may not continue to love due to rejection or distances. Even kind parents might not care about others’ children, especially those of their enemies.
No matter how much people love their best friends, lovers, and children, love relationships end in death.
God’s Love Surpasses Time & Space
The love of our Creator, who is the only true and triune God, goes beyond space and human logic. God has disclosed His plan of salvation when Adam and Eve started to sin (Genesis 3). God’s amazingly detailed plan about Jesus Christ has been prophesied in the Old Testament: His birth, birthplace, and sacrificial death.
Unconditional Love of God
Jesus expressed His ultimate love for us on the cross…
On the cross, He experienced moments of abandonment when His disciples left Him alone and God the Father turned His back on Him.
On the cross, He exclaimed words of forgiveness by saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
On the cross, He was eager to save the soul of a criminal, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Jesus loves you no matter who you are and where you are as long as you are willing to confess your sins and accept His salvation. Immediately your sins will be forgiven and you will have eternal life. Only Jesus can save: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Jesus’s Death & Resurrection
In the midst of Jesus’ crucifixion, even heaven and earth grieved: “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)
Jesus not only died for us but rose from the dead on the third day according to the four gospel books in the Bible. His resurrection means a lot to us:
1. Jesus is the everlasting God.
The founders of all other religions have died since they were only men. However, Jesus exclusively claimed Himself as God and truly He is. The apostle Paul wrote, “regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David…” (Romans 1:3)
2. Jesus is the foundation of faith.
According to Paul: “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. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-19)
3. The resurrection of Jesus proves his triumph over death.
Those who believe in Jesus will also rise from the dead with Him: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
Jesus also claimed, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die..” (John 11:25)
Evidence of Resurrection
1. Empty Tomb
Jesus has prophesied several times that He would be crucified and would rise again on the third day. So His tomb was securely sealed by a boulder and guarded by soldiers to prevent His disciples from stealing His body. When the disciples heard from the women that the boulder was moved and Jesus’ body was removed, they dashed off to the tomb: “Then Simon Peter came along behind him and 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.” (John 20:6-8)
Who would re-roll the shroud after stealing the body? Also, who would steal the corpse? Roman soldiers would never break the law; the women could not even move a boulder, so of course they could not steal it; even the disciples had fled for fear in all directions and definitely would not steal the corpse to startle the soldiers. Therefore, Jesus has indeed resurrected, and His resurrected body has surpassed space and the tightly wrapped linen cloth.
Did Jesus just faint temporarily and awaken to walk away? That is a self-defeating question. Just imagine a severely injured, bleeding, comatose person, without food and water, and tightly wrapped from head to toe by a shroud with more than a hundred catties of spices. Can the seriously injured survive? Can he untie the shroud by himself, roll it up again, roll away from the boulder blocking the entrance of the tomb, and walk out of the tomb without being discovered by the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb at that time? And how could he walk a few miles and appear to his disciples?
Jesus has appeared to His disciples and many people within the 40 days between His resurrection and ascension. The apostle Paul wrote: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he 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 also, as to one abnormally born.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
3. Transformation of life
The disciples have become drastically different due to the resurrection of Jesus. They used to be very timid but now became courageous to the point of death. It would not make sense for anyone to die for his own lie. Besides, nobody from the government at that time dared to argue about the resurrection of Jesus, especially since more than 500 brothers in church have seen the risen Lord.
4. Historical documents
Among the countless historical documents about the life of Jesus, many were written by non-Christians. In the time of Jesus, Israel was just an insignificant area on the map of the Roman Empire, but Roman historians have a lot of records about Jesus Christ.
In the study of Jewish history, the most authoritative historian is Flavius Josephus who was born in A.D. 37. His father was a Pharisee, but he was not a Christian. He served as a consultant to the three emperors of the Roman Empire. He spent many years collecting information about Jesus, recording New Testament events, and reported the formation and development of Christianity. His writings were highly valued in Europe in the first century, and were ranked second to the Bible (Note 1). Examples of his writings were “The Jewish Wars” and “The Antiquities of the Jews”, affirming that Jesus was conceived by the Virgin Mary.
Moreover, the greatest historians of the Roman Empire unanimously and affirmatively pointed out that Jesus’s birth, crucifixion, and His Empty Tomb is not a fiction, but a true historical fact! These historians were Corelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger who’s a famous Roman lawyer and writer, and Hadrian the Roman Emperor, etc. (Note 2)
5. Testimony of Church & Christians
If Jesus Christ didn’t rise from the dead, how could His gospel endure hardships throughout the centuries? Church and believers continue to spread the gospel despite severe persecution including being brutally killed, imprisonment, and indescribable torture. This gospel is like a wildfire that keeps burning down the evil substances of the society. It renews life upon repentance. That’s how each born again Christian experiences the resurrection power of Jesus Christ!
Do you know this resurrected Savior who loves you and has died for you?