In yesterday’s blog I mentioned the individuals who saw Jesus after he was raised from the dead. I would like to expand on this a bit this morning.
One of the truths regularly attacked in God’s Word is the resurrection of Jesus after His death on the cross. Some would deny it ever happened, some would say the resurrection was symbolic and some would try and say he never actually died on the cross. Before I go on with the rest of this blog I feel I must state what God says about the resurrection in the bible.
Paul said – “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 Peter, and then to the twelve”
Regarding his bodily resurrection don’t forget he said to Mary “Do not hold on to me”. You can’t hold onto a symbol or a ghost. Jesus actually said to his disciples “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds. Look at my hands and my feet. It is myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have”.
More than 500 saw and witnessed Jesus with their own eyes after His resurrection. If a court case to establish something was organised and more than 500 witnesses turned up to say – they saw the event and they were there. It would be proven beyond doubt that it took place. It would be an open and shut case. Despite this people today still doubt the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I wonder why? Is it because they don’t want to accept His teaching and demands on their lives? I’ll leave that question for you. Let me move to the final part of the blog.
I want to take up the case of 2 individuals and expand on their experience. The 1st is Peter & the 2nd is Paul – surely these 2 men and what happened in their life would require people to sit up and take notice about this person called Jesus.
Peter was a follower of Jesus. He had been with Jesus for more than 3 years during the time he preached and worked in Palestine. The last we see him before the cross he is denying that he even knew Jesus. With curses and oaths he tells those around him – a servant girl and others that he had nothing to do with Jesus. Such was his fear of the Jews and the Romans at that time. The next time he is seen publically, he is standing in Jerusalem in front of a massive crowd – with 3000 from the crowd turning to Jesus in faith at the end of his sermon. In his message he accused them of crucifying Jesus. “therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”. Peter went on to be a prominent preacher and apostle for Jesus. He eventually gave his life for Christ by being crucified himself in later life. What had taken place that would allow a man who could not stand up to a little girl when asked about Jesus to go on and give his life on a cross as a result of his faith?
Saul as he was known was a religious ruler amongst the Jews at the time Christ was put to death. He came to prominence after the death of Jesus as the new church started to grow in Jerusalem. He was steeped in the old Jewish religion. He was able to quote massive parts of the Jewish scriptures off by heart. He was a brilliant mind amongst his peers and he hated Christianity. His ambition was to eradicate this new religion as quickly as it started. He was responsible for persecuting Christians and putting them to death because they followed the person he know as the dead Jesus. After a journey he was on to Damascus, he suddenly turned and became a Christian. Just to put this in context – this would be the equivalent of someone like Dawkins turning to Christianity today. What happened? What took someone who hated Jesus and turn him to a follower of Jesus who was prepared to and did give his life up for him? Read Paul’s own story in Acts chapter 26 as he stood before King Agrippa. He said “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven”.
What had happened to both these men? – they saw the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Peter was visited by Jesus after He was raised from the dead, Paul saw and spoke with Him on the Damascus road. Both men had their lives turned upside down by this person called Jesus.
The resurrection is crucial to the Christian faith. It is a vital part of what God did to save the world from their sin. As Christians we rejoice that Jesus conquered the grave!!!!
Don’t dismiss Jesus because of what you think you know – look into this person. Come along to our 2 Praise nights at TCF on the 23rd and 24th April. 7.30pm over the Easter Weekend. Hear words that could radically change your life!