This week, Christians are celebrating an event that fulfilled ancient prophecy, surprised early believers, and validated the claims of Jesus. His Resurrection is so central to the Christian faith, that skeptics know instinctively that if it is proved to be a hoax, then Christianity falls like a house of cards. In fact, Scripture offers that point almost like an invitation to investigate: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain (1Cor15:14).”
As you might expect, it has been investigated. Christians have logical reasons to believe that Jesus came back to life after he died, even though believing the Bible is enough for most of us.
An early cover-up is recorded in Scripture. The people that won their capital punishment case against Jesus were so concerned about his claim to rise from the dead that they posted a guard to stop the theft of his body. These same guards later reported angels, earthquake, and an empty tomb, but received bribes to say Jesus’ body was taken.
His foes could have proved the Resurrection a hoax by simply producing Jesus’ body. They couldn’t, so they propagated their own deception to blame on his followers. At least we know that friend and foe knew that the body was gone.
But is the empty tomb enough to believe the resurrection account? Consider the behavior of the disciples. Immediately after Jesus’ death, they huddled behind locked doors fearful that they would meet his fate. Perhaps they just hoped to return to their former lives. What a defeated bunch!
Here is the illogic. Why would such a group concoct a cover-up and maintain it against the religious and political power-brokers that were determined to end Jesus and his following? Why not simply write down what he said as an inspiring teacher and avoid further controversy? Why declare in public venues and at their trials that Jesus was not just a good teacher, but arose from the dead and is the expected Messiah, the living God? They looked their accusers in the eye and said they would obey God rather than men. Would the eye-witness followers of Jesus have suffered and died for what they knew to be a lie?
Is the Resurrection just a metaphor, and did his followers invent the Christ of faith from the historical Jesus? It is far more logical that Jesus’ followers were emboldened by something shocking, terrifying, and exciting. Only a bodily Resurrection after a gruesome crucifixion and death could have transformed them so.
If he did return from death, then Jesus is as He claimed, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and our faith is not in vain. In His Name we find life, meaning, and the hope of eternity. Join the celebration!