April 8, 2023
How odd that his enemies understood him better than his friends! His enemies placed a guard and sealed the tomb. His friends ran away. One denied him three times. At first reports, they regarded it as nonsense and did not believe (Luke 24:11). They didn’t understand the scripture (John 20:9). They were afraid of the Jews (20:19). Their hearts were hard (Mark 16:14). In a sonnet, D.A. Carson captures the mood:
No heroes, these: defeated followers all,
Their nurtured faith extinguished, snuffed the flame
Of courage. Quite abandoned now the game
Oneupmanship (“Not I, Lord; I’ll not fall!”),
Displaced by furtive fear’s disabling pall.
More crippling than the sickening fear, the shame;
And cowed by common cowardice, they came
Upstairs together, spiritually mauled.
Reports come in of shattered, vanquished Death,
Of Life’s appearance in triumphant mood.
Begins the birth of hope, the death of death,
Of failing, faithless men with faith endued.
Arranged of old, unqualifiedly new:
Such change is what an empty tomb can do.*
Their unbelief, cowardice, and misunderstanding are hardly résumé enhancements for religious leaders. Their unflattering testimony about themselves is unlikely to have been made up. So, how do we account for the dramatic change in their lives from cowards hiding from the Jews to courageous proclaimers of the resurrection of Jesus. C.F.D. Moule stated it this way:
If the coming into existence of the Nazarenes, a phenomenon undeniably attested by the New Testament, rips a great hole in history, a hole of the size and shape of Resurrection, what does the secular historian propose to stop it up with?
The explanation for the change from “old” to “unqualifiedly new” is best explained by “what an empty tomb can do.” Jesus was raised from the dead.
But the “unqualifiedly new” of the Apostles and early Christians was no minor affair. The dramatic event of the resurrection brought a dynamically different life in the disciples. The New Testament can talk about crucifying the old self, putting on the new self, and newness of life. That’s spiritual major surgery not a Band-Aid. Jesus was not a religious good luck charm to be dragged out of the drawer a couple of times year. Jesus became their life and their Lord. What about in your life? “Such change is what an empty tomb can do.”
*D.A. Carson, Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century (Baker Books, 1994), p. 67.
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Posted by Russell Holden
April 21, 2022
Our faith and our salvation are built upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The historical fact of His resurrection cannot be over emphasized. There is no way in which we could speak of it too often, for it is a key and critical component to everything we believe. As Paul writes to the church at Corinth (who were doubting the resurrection of the dead), “But if there is no resurrection from the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain… and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 17-19, NASB) Without the resurrection of Christ, our faith is meaningless, we are still in our sins, and we have no hope for the future.
“But the fact is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20, NASB) This is the glorious fact! Jesus was raised! There are many powerful and convincing proofs of this fact. There are many eyewitness accounts of this fact. We can be assured that His resurrection is real, and our faith can solidly rest in this reality. And because He is risen, we are no longer in our sins! Because He is risen, we have hope of seeing our loved ones again! Because He is risen, we too will be raised with a glorious new body! Christ is the first fruits of those who have died. He was the first to rise, never to die again, and we will follow after Him.
Because of the resurrection, there is a momentous day coming for us. The Lord Jesus is going to return from heaven, and when He does, we will all be changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:52-53, NASB)
Are you ready for that day to come? Will you be found in Him on that day? Those who are in Christ in this life will share in His glorious resurrection. Let us praise God with all our hearts today because Jesus is risen!
Leave a Comment » | 1 Corinthians 15:13-19, 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:52-53, resurrection, resurrection of Christ, resurrection of Jesus, resurrection of Jesus Christ | Permalink
Posted by Scott Colvin
April 14, 2017
Because of Easter, some may be thinking about the resurrection of Jesus. For some it may be a strong belief. Others may view it as a myth. Among the latter, there may be some who still cling to the Christ of faith, which means Christ as some sort of ideal although they believe the historical Jesus is moldering in a grave somewhere. Others who hold a mythic view of the resurrection may wish the whole things would disappear into the dustbin of history. The most rabid of this sort may even view religion as dangerous. And of course, there may be some who believe, if asked, but for whom such belief doesn’t have much impact on life.
C.S. Lewis wisely observed, “One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”* In other words, I think the importance of the claim about Christ means that everyone should seriously investigate the case for Christ. And this also means examining our own presuppositions and worldviews that might get in the way of such an investigation. Skeptics have examined and become believers. But upon belief, we should never take it lightly.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, ESV). Although we must read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for the eyewitness testimony, I’ve found the serious studies of others have helped me sharpen and strengthen my own belief in the resurrection. One of the first books that I read of this type was Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison. Frank Morrison is the pen name of Albert Ross. Ross set out to write a book that would disprove the resurrection. He ended up convincing himself of the truth of the resurrection and writing a very different book. First published in 1930, the book continues to be in print. Here is a list of helpful books.
- Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morrison
- The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence by Simon Greenleaf. Greenleaf was a law professor at Harvard. For those who can wade through 19th century prose, it has helpful insights into looking at the evidence of the gospels.
- The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. Strobel was a newspaper reporter for the Chicago Tribune. When his wife came to belief in Jesus, it upset his perfect atheist marriage. He used his investigative talents as a reporter to attempt to disapprove the resurrection. He ended up becoming convinced of the resurrection.
- The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona
- Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith by W. Mark Lanier. Lanier is a successful trial lawyer. His book brings his experience with evidence to the task of examining Christianity. This book begins with questions about God and morality before dealing with Jesus.
- Cold-Case Christianity by Wallace J. Warner. Warner is a LA homicide detective. He also began as a skeptic, but examined the case for Jesus using his skills as a cold-case, homicide detective. He became convinced of the resurrection.
The evidence of this case demands to be examined by everyone. The resurrection of Jesus changes everything.
*C.S. Lewis, “Christian Apologetics,” God in the Dock, p. 101.
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Posted by Russell Holden