1 Corinthians 15:7, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
The resurrection of Jesus has been attacked through the ages. Paul states that if the resurrection did not happen, then our faith is meaningless. If the resurrection did not happen, then Jesus was not fully God and fully man. It’s hard to believe that young men (Christ’s apostles) would risk their lives for a lie. Perhaps it’s even more difficult to falsify the resurrection by saying it’s “unbelievable.” Surely, unbelievable things have happened before your very eyes. A lie will always be brought to justice with the truth, and yet nearly 2,000 years later, believers everyday are proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus: that He is risen. Because of the resurrection, Jesus lives.
When I was a young man, my sister owned the record, Jesus Christ Superstar. She often played the song, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” and one particular verse always struck me:
I don’t know how to take this.
I don’t see why he moves me.
He’s a man.
He’s just a man.
And I’ve had so many men before, in very many ways.
He’s just one more.
When I was younger, these lyrics resonated with me. I had always thought that Jesus was a good guy whose teachings were great, but it didn’t occur to me that He was fully God and fully man. Even the great first century Jewish historian Josephus described Jesus as a teacher and a miracle worker, one who attracted a large following, who later revered Him after His death. Josephus acknowledged that Jesus Christ actually existed. But even he stops short at believing Christ was God. This is largely the view of the world of unbelievers. Non-believers claim that Jesus Christ was a great man with a great message, but this is where their faith stops.
How have I come to believe that the resurrection happened? My eyes were opened. Through the power of the Holy Spirit came my convictions. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18) Jesus had to die, and only His body through the resurrection could show His glory as God. In this verse, Jesus promises the Spirit of truth – the Holy Spirit. He also promises to come to each and every one of us, when the time is right. When Jesus touches you with His Holy Spirit, allow your eyes to be opened to the truth of His Resurrection.
Today we have a lot of conspiracy theories. Many people believe that the American government is covering up the existence of UFOs so as not to scare anybody. The same can be said of the resurrection. The only difference is this: there was a conspiracy to cover up the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jewish authorities tried to bribe Roman guards to proclaim that someone came and stole His body. But unlike the UFOs, after Jesus was resurrected, He showed Himself first to the apostles, and then to over 5,000 people. All bore eye-witness to the fact that Jesus, in His resurrected state, was at the same time both flesh and spirit.
In the Christian faith, the resurrection may be seen as a stumbling block, because it sounds like “make believe.” I agree, it is quite unbelievable! Jesus was in the ground for three days, and byJewish law, this means He was dead. But then He came back to life in a transfigured body – one in human likeness, but with spirit qualities. This wasn’t the first time Jesus revealed his transfigured state. Check out Matthew 17:1-13 to read this glorious mystery in its entirety. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+17%3A1-13&version=NIV
Some, when they hear spirit, immediately imagine a ghost. Jesus’ resurrection was not a ghost, but He was not completely in the flesh either. He bore the marks of the nails and the hole in His side from the spear at the Cross. Exactly what He was, I cannot say. In fact, I’m not sure anyone can say, which is why the resurrection is one of the greatest mysteries on which you must pray for answers. If you ask God to show you the truth behind the resurrection, He will.
This is our hope: that one day, we will attain this glorified state, and be one with the Lord. I’ll leave you with the words of Jesus: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)