Easter makes Good Friday good. Without the resurrection, that Friday would’ve been the most terrible Friday in human history. The only thing that could compete would be if Adam and Eve ate from the tree (Genesis 3).
What would happen to your faith if Jesus never rose from the dead? Some people may be tempted to say, “Well, I’d still believe. Jesus’ teachings are still worth following, and he did die for our sins even if he didn’t rise from the dead.”
The Apostle Paul says this,“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-17)
How Can We Be Confident in the Resurrection?
(The following is a summary of the video above along with some of my thoughts added. The video is worth your time, it’s very well done.)
“I’m not saying they really saw the real Jesus. I don’t know what they saw. But as a historian, I know they must have seen something.”
(Dr. Paula Fredrikson, Boston University)
They never found Jesus’ body. How did the disciples overpower the armed-guards and roll away the stone to steal the body? After they started preaching about the resurrection, the whole region was swarming with people looking for the body, but they never found it.
They were hopeless at best, cowards at worst. Their master and lord had been killed. Terrified and dejected, they hid from the authorities in a locked room to protect themselves from suffering the same fate as Jesus. These were not men bold enough to devise a revolution.
But something happened. Suddenly these men were in the streets of Jerusalem preaching about the resurrection. They set the world afire through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As the video above states, “liars make terrible martyrs!” They truly believed they saw what they said they saw. Not one of them ever recanted their faith, even while being tortured and killed for it. If they were lying, someone would’ve cracked and squealed. Instead, their courage came because they truly saw the risen Christ.
James was the brother of Jesus. He thought Jesus had a few screws loose and didn’t believe his message until after Jesus’ resurrection. Suddenly, he does a 180 and becomes the leader of the church in Jerusalem (which endured incredible opposition and persecution) and he wrote the book of James in the New Testament.
Paul was so opposed to the resurrection he was essentially the leader of ISIS, arresting Christians and killing them if they refused to deny Christ. Paul tells his story in Acts 9 where he meets Jesus and is called as a missionary and teacher.
What happened in these men who were so opposed to the message of Jesus? They must have seen something…
If I was going to start a lie about the resurrection of Jesus, Jerusalem would be the last place I’d start that lie. That’s where he was just killed, so it’s not exactly a “friendly” crowd. Besides, if it’s a lie, these are the people who would know better. I’d start this new teaching somewhere far away from where I’m saying this miraculous thing happened!
It would have taken a long time for the apostles to agree on their story of what they saw and what it means. Instead, at Pentecost they immediately started proclaiming the resurrection the Church exploded onto the scene from the very place where Jesus was crucified.
Live With Confident Faith
There is always the need for faith. Yes, there are arguments against these “proofs.” If you are looking for a reason to doubt, you will likely find one.
But these are provided to encourage you that your faith does not need to be blind or unreasonable. There have been many times when my faith has been rescued and restored by the simple question, “What about the resurrection?” The Christian faith really boils down to that one foundational question… what happened to Jesus? If it was a big conspiracy, then you will deny everything else. But, if Jesus really did rise from the grave, that changes absolutely everything.