I Believe in the ResurrectionMarch 28, 2018 The Apostles' Creed
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Many people question whether the resurrection happened or not. I'd like to address two questions:
- Did the resurrection happen?
- Why does the resurrection matter?
Did the Resurrection Happen?
Acts 1:3 tells us:
After His suffering, He (Jesus) showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.
Luke tells us that after dying, Jesus showed Himself several times and gave many convincing proofs over a 40 day period. This means many people saw Him, talked to Him, and even touched Him (John 19).
What would convince you if someone was alive again after they died? The most convincing proof would be if you literally saw the person and interacted with him. This is what Luke is referring to here.
The Bible mentions at least 10 times when Jesus appeared to different people in different places at different times. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 Paul says that Jesus appeared to Peter, the 12, to more than 500 at the same time, most of whom are still alive, to James, the apostles, and even to himself.
Paul makes this point by telling his audience (the church of Corinth) that if you don't believe me that Jesus is alive, go ask these other 500 people who saw Him. They can tell you!
The Scriptures are more than enough to prove Jesus rose again (1 Corinthians 15:4). However, there are people who don't have a high view of Scripture. If you believe Scripture is not God's Word or has errors in it, then you may question the resurrection. There are many other proofs that reveal that Jesus rose again. The many eyewitness accounts is one, and there are others (for more proofs read the book The Resurrection Factor by Josh McDowell).
Why Does the Resurrection Matter?
Let me ask it this way, "What would happen if Jesus stayed dead?"
1. If Jesus stayed dead, we must expect to stay dead too.
That fact that Jesus rose again from the dead, tells us that when we die, we too will rise. The resurrection tells me there is more to life than this. The resurrection tells me there is Heaven that is waiting for me, and Jesus has made way for us to be there.
Jesus has defeated death, and if we believe in Him, we will defeat death too (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-22, 55-57).
We will also receive new, glorified bodies when He returns. DA Carson says:
“As we get older our hairs fall out, we may suffer dementia. Our resurrection existence (of new bodies) begins to look good indeed. Our hope is not to survive to 70, 80, or 90. Our hope is to finally have a body like Christ’s resurrected body (New City Catechism)."
2. If Jesus stayed dead, our faith would be useless.
1 Corinthians 15:17 says, "If Christ has not been raised your faith is futile; you are still in your sins."
Out faith would be useless, worthless, lacking strength or force if Jesus had not been raised from the dead. Who wants a dead and useless faith that has no power to it? Not me.
The resurrection puts us as Christians on the winning side. We go from being hopeless to hopeful because we know if Jesus has the power to conquer sin and death, He also has the power to defeat Satan one day and bring us into His Heavenly Kingdom.
3. If Jesus stayed dead, He would not return.
The fact that Jesus rose again from the dead and ascended into Heaven tells me that He is alive and active. He is ruling and reigning. He is waiting for His return when He will destroy all of His and our enemies.
Death could not keep Jesus down. Satan will not defeat Jesus. Jesus will return one day with full force, wipe Satan out, and make this place beautiful (Revelation 20:7-10; 21:1-5). If He stayed dead and didn't resurrect from the grave, none of this would take place.