A few years ago, I traveled to Jerusalem and toured the ruins of the tombs. There are two sites believed to be the location of Jesus’ tomb but no one can be certain of the exact location. One thing we know for sure, the tomb of Jesus is empty. He walked out of His tomb. The resurrection means Jesus rose from the grave and conquered death completely and fully. With the power of this promise, those who trust in the truth of Jesus’ resurrection will meet us again.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historic fact. The apostle Paul says this about Jesus,
“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 Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” - 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 (ESV)
You see, the Bible backs up this incredible claim with evidence and first-person testimony. Jesus, who was brutally murdered, appeared to many people after His death. And those who saw Him were willing to lay down their lives for this fact. The great writer C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing is cannot be is moderately important.”
The resurrection of Jesus is a promise. While talking to a group of people near the temple, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The people laughed, as this temple took 46 years to build. It involved the slave labor of thousands of people and untold amounts of money from the oppressive taxes of wicked King Herod. But Jesus meant His own body. The religious leaders of the day did everything they could to discredit Jesus and prove Him wrong. But still, He rose in three days as He promised.
The Scriptures overwhelmingly point to a Savior King to come. The people of God failed to understand the promise of the coming Messiah. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote,
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:3-12 (ESV)
The Resurrection is a promise that "by his stripes," you can be healed. You can be changed. You can experience forgiveness and acceptance. Christ can overcome the very person you really are and help you become the very person you ought to be. Any other change is cosmetic. You can shift the outside (get a new haircut, nice pair of glasses, improve your speech, lose some weight), but deep down inside you are that same person.
Historically, all of our existence centers on this one indisputable fact. No longer are we to fear death. At 51, I am more aware of my mortality than when I was in high school. Yet, I am more assured today of my future. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in me. And by faith, in you as well. As awful as death is – it is no longer the last word.
Christ's resurrection offers you something this world cannot offer, eternity with God. No more pain. No more posturing. No more division,. No more oppression. No more fear. No more death. May the hope of the Resurrection and the love of God fill you this Easter season.