April 3, 2010 in Features

Faithful can rejoice in proof of Jesus’ resurrection

By The Spokesman-Review
 

He has risen!

The truth of these three simple words changes everything.

Futility becomes purpose, because he has risen.

Sorrow becomes joy, because he has risen.

Despair becomes hope, because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.

This weekend marks the happiest anniversary on planet Earth, the remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross and his visible, literal resurrection from the dead.

The empty tomb sets Christianity apart from any religious ideal put forward by man. No other person claimed to be the way to God, the truth of God and the life of God, and actually came back from the dead to prove it.

That’s why the empty tomb changes everything.

And I’d like to encourage you this weekend to enjoy the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I’d like to encourage you to believe in him.

You’ll notice at the bottom of this column that I am a pastor. But please don’t dismiss these few words as a rehearsal of tomorrow’s sermon. I mean this for you, today. I invite you to wrestle with this truth about Jesus Christ.

We live in a world whose various cultures claim various paths to God, various ways to heaven. Oddly, the idea that everyone is right, that all beliefs lead to God, seems sensible to many today.

Don’t be deceived.

The empty tomb destroys that idea, tossing it into the rubbish heap of vain human philosophy. Jesus claimed to be the one way to God, the one way to heaven.

Even the Bible remarks on the senselessness of believing Christ’s claims had he not risen from the dead. “… if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God …” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15 – NIV).

Yes, Jesus’ claims would have been bizarre, even worthy of ridicule, if his life had ended at Calvary.

But it didn’t. He has risen.

Jesus was seen not by one or two fanatical followers, but by people like you and me whose belief ultimately found its footing on the empirical evidence: Jesus talked to them, touched them, taught them, even ate meals with them.

Their interaction with Jesus after he rose from the dead was not brief, but lasted 40 days. Think about that: For more than a month, the risen Christ interacted with the very people who saw him die, who saw his tomb sealed.

Hundreds of people saw the risen Christ.

Overjoyed with the reality of his resurrection, Christ’s followers began to believe his claims.

Because he has risen, Jesus really is the eternal son of God, who took on human form, and died to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin – sin that separates us from God, sin that keeps us from going to heaven.

Heaven? Yes, heaven.

Jesus’ resurrection proves that there really is a life after this life. In fact, the Bible tells us it is a literal, tangible, unending life in God’s presence for those who trust that Christ died for their sins.

Because he has risen, we really will see our loved ones who have died before us – death is not the last word. There is a heaven, a sinless, painless, blissful existence beyond this life. Jesus proved that.

Jesus was glad that his resurrection helped his followers believe in him. And he thought of you and me when he he said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29 – NKJV).

He has risen.

The truth of these three simple words changes everything.

Do you believe?

Steve Massey is the pastor of Hayden Bible Church in Hayden, Idaho ( www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or steve@haydenbible.org.


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