Easter is one of the busiest seasons in church life.
But sometimes with the busyness of the holiday we forget what Easter is all about:
The resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Throughout the holiday we are bombarded on social media with pictures of Easter egg hunts and kids in their Easter Sunday outfits.
But among family photoshoots, gatherings and festivities, Jesus often gets left backstage.
With all that busyness now behind you, take a moment to meditate on these very important truths:
- Jesus really died and rose from the dead
- His resurrection changes everything
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is the entire reason why the church and Christianity even exists.
The resurrection is the foundation of our faith.
Paul says if Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christians “are of all people [the] most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
That means Christians need to know the facts about the resurrection and meditate on what it means for their lives.
But when you think about it, saying Jesus rose from the dead is a really bold claim.
A little crazy even.
So the question is, how do we know it really happened?
Well that’s one of the beautiful things about the Bible.
It is not a collection of spiritual sayings or mythology.
The Bible claims to be real, factual history.
So that means we can actually research the resurrection like any other event in history and see if it truly happened.
For most of this article, I will give you 5 pieces of evidence, among many, of why we can believe Jesus’ resurrection was a real event in history and then we see how the resurrection changes our lives today.
Jesus really rose from the dead
1) No one ever produced Jesus' body
For the enemies of Christianity (and there were many) one of the easiest ways to discount the resurrection would be to show Jesus’ dead body to the people.
If his body could be found, the claim of the resurrection would be null.
Christianity as a “movement” never would have gotten anywhere.
But we have no record, in the Bible or through first century historians, that record such an event.
That means either the disciples stole and hid the body really well (which we will cover in the next section) or Jesus really did rise from the dead.
2) A historical account of the disciples confessing they lied about the resurrection has never been found
Several theories surrounding the resurrection point to the disciples somehow stealing the body from the tomb and telling others that Jesus rose from the dead.
If this were true, then all the disciples would know they were spreading a lie while travelling from city to city.
These theories speculate all the disciples were able to keep the same story, and that none of them ever broke, over their entire lives and ministries.
Charles W. Colson, who was involved in the Watergate scandal, powerfully points out how unlikely that kind of conspiracy would be:
I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me.
Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it.
Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison.
They would not have endured that if it weren't true.
Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks.
You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years?
It is highly improbable that the disciples would maintain such a lie over those 40 years through low social status, pain and torture.
3) Women were the first ones recorded seeing the empty tomb
During the first century, women were not well-regarded and they definitely weren’t taken seriously.
They typically weren’t educated and their testimony was meaningless in legal courts.
That’s why it’s strange that while the men are afraid hiding in the aftermath of the crucifixion, women are the first to see the empty tomb in the gospels.
If the authors of the gospels were lying about Jesus’ resurrection and wanted to appeal to their cultural readers, they would have had the men see Jesus first.
If they wanted to write a convincing story, they would not have women be the first witnesses.
Since all the gospel writers show the women being the first witness (even though though that could potentially discredit their message) that means the gospel authors were telling the truth.
4) The grave clothes were still there
John 20:5-7 describes how Jesus’ linens were still lying close to the place he had laid.
And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
This fact poses questions to a few theories of how Jesus rose from the dead.
First if Jesus never fully died, how could he, bloodied, hungry and thirsty, think to take off the linens and place them in the approximate locations of where he lay?
Second, if the disciples stole the body, why would they take a smelly, disgusting body out of the linens to carry it away, and leave it on the place he lay?
The fact the linens stayed where they were support the fact that Jesus came fully back to life and wasn’t stolen or walked away from the tomb.
5) There are multiple eyewitness accounts to Jesus’ resurrection in the Gospels
The first 4 points looked at very specific bits of evidence.
This final one is broad-sweeping.
We often forget that when Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were penning their respective gospels, they weren’t working for a modern publishing company printing Bibles like we see them today.
They were each writing their own historical account of Jesus, his life, death, and resurrection.
What they have written are 4 separate accounts all testifying to the same fact, that Jesus rose from the dead.
The mere fact that we have 4 different gospels sharing the facts surrounding Jesus’s resurrection is a powerful testament to the fact that it actually happened.
The Resurrection Changes Everything
The resurrection is a fact.
It’s a fact backed up by excellent historical evidence.
So what does the resurrection mean for us today?
Let me put it this way.
The #1 problem facing all humanity is this:
But if Jesus really did rise from the dead, that means he defeated our greatest threat!
Why do people die?
Because of sin.
And the consequence of sin is death.
But Jesus died without sinning.
He took our consequences for us.
But since he died without sinning, “death could not hold him” (Acts 2:24).
Jesus broke the power of sin and death and offers eternal life as a free gift to anyone who will have faith in him.
Jesus’ resurrection is the most important event to happen in history!
So what does Jesus’ resurrection mean for you today?
Jesus’ resurrection means you can have real hope.
Jesus’ resurrection means you can have real peace.
Jesus’ resurrection means you can have real freedom from sin.
Jesus’ resurrection shows that you are really loved by God.
The resurrection is incredibly good news and that good news should be shared with everyone!
Simply put, Jesus changes everything.
Even though the Easter season is over, the Resurrection is just as meaningful.
It’s just as true today as it was 2,000 years ago.
And it’s changing more lives than ever.
Will you let it change you?
Luke is currently a Senior at Grand Valley State University where he is studying Computer Science with a minor in mathematics. He loves being with friends at college but loves being home with his family and girlfriend too. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the future but is excited to see God move and work in his life.