Since it is Easter weekend, I thought the following article would be interesting. Of course, we remember the work of Christ on the Cross and His resurrection every week as members of the Lord’s church, but Easter is everywhere, so indulge me, if you will. We know what the cross meant for us, right? Jesus’ flesh symbolized sin and His blood, the new covenant, and our redemption, but we overlook the importance of the resurrection. Here is my view on the matter; “The cross was the promise of the hope, and the resurrection was the fulfillment of that promise.” In other words, If Jesus had not risen, He would have been considered a liar or a lunatic, a delusional soul who erroneously thought He was the Son of God. He would have been a mere footnote in some historical document that probably would have been lost over time.
But, Him rising in such dramatic fashion from the grave was the seal of authenticity on everything He was and accomplished. It would not have changed the fact that He is the Son of God, but as the Centurion said on that fateful day when our Savior breathed His last, “Truly, this man is the Son of God!” (Luke 15:19). Moreover, Jesus did not defeat the Devil on the cross. I can imagine the devil wringing his hands and thinking how he had won the day, but how he must have anguished when he realized, like everyone else, that the tomb was empty. As you can see, Satan was defeated once and for all at the resurrection. Ok, so the resurrection was the seal of authenticity, but how do we know it actually happened, historically speaking. Eyewitnesses, friends, eyewitnesses…
1 Cor. 15:3-8, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” It was not like it was a secret, but those times were not the only ones. I found the following information in a book by Timothy Keller,
“The resurrected Jesus is recorded as appearing in Judea (Mt 28:9; Lk 24:31, 36) and in Galilee (Mt 28:16–20; Jn 21:1–23), in town (Lk 24:36) and countryside (Lk 24:15), indoors (Lk 24:36) and outdoors (Mt 28:9,16; Lk 24:15; Jn 21:1–23), in the morning (Jn 21:1–23) and the evening (Lk 24:29,36; Jn 20:19), by prior appointment (Mt 28:16) and without prior appointment (Mt 28:9; Lk 24:15,34,36; Jn 21:1–23), close (Mt 28:9, 19; Lk 24:15,36; Jn 21:9–23) and distant (Jn 21:4–8), on a hill (Mt 28:16) and by a lake (Jn 21:4), to groups of men (Jn 21:2; 1 Cor 15:5,7) and groups of women (Mt 28:9), to individuals (Lk 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5,7–8) and groups of up to five hundred (1 Cor 15:6), sitting (Jn 21:15 implied), standing (Jn 21:4), walking (Lk 24:15; Jn 21:20–22), eating (Lk 24:43; Jn 21:15), and always talking (Mt 28:9–10, 18–20; Lk 24:17–30, 36–49; Jn 20:15-17, 19-29; 21:6-22.
That is a lot of evidence from a lot of people in a lot of places. Do we as Christians need that type of proof? No, I would imagine most of us know that Christ is the risen Lord, but it is nice to be able to prove to the nay-sayers that hundreds of people evidenced his brief return to earth before his ascension. One more quick point. Ever wondered why the most critical two events, the death of Christ on the cross and His resurrection, is only commemorated every couple of months by some and even less by others. And why the infrequency despite verses like Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight”? The most important two events in history, and some relegate them to “whenever.” He died on a cross for us, and we remember that whenever we feel like it? It’s funny how the same groups who think it unimportant to take communion weekly do not apply the “whenever you feel like it” to the offering.