The Resurrection Of Jesus

W. Terry Varner
April 20, 2014

Today throughout the religious world people observe Easter as the day Jesus rose from the dead. Church attendance will be larger today than most Sundays. People inconvenience themselves to attend services today. Today the city of Jerusalem is filled with pilgrims. The radio, television, and newspapers will declare “Jesus is risen.”

On the other hand, there are who deny Jesus rose from the dead. It is interesting that the early Christians believed the evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. The Bible claims He rose from the dead. People of that day had every opportunity to show He had not risen, but did not and were unable to do so. However, people today who deny the resurrection of Jesus from the dead are in essence saying the early Christians were wrong. They claim to know better about Jesus’ resurrection than those who lived at the time. When over 500 saw Jesus at one time (1 Cor. 15:6), does it really make sense to deny what they saw? Consider the power of the resurrection of Jesus based on “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8).

Sufficient Strength. The early Christians had an unshakeable conviction in the truthfulness of the resurrection of Jesus. Consider the spirit of those early Christians. They were men of simple background—they had been put to flight by the threat of danger—BUT who, after the fact, NOW stood before the very Jews, who crucified Jesus, fearlessly proclaiming Jesus has risen from the dead (cf. Acts 4:5-12; 5:26-32). When the Jews put Jesus to death, the disciples cowered in their locked room “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). The evidence that Jesus had risen from the dead gave the early disciples sufficient strength of conviction and willingness to suffer martyrdom (cf. Stephen in Acts 7; cf. Rev. 2:10).

Sufficient Presentability. Consider these early Christians. They were common people like you and me. They were fishermen, tax-collectors, et al. However, they declared a hither-to-unheard-of event of cosmic and universal significance. They had the audacity to proclaim within walking distance of the burial sight that Jesus had risen! They faced severe and public disapproval of religious authorities and the general public if their proclamation was untrue. BUT, the evidence that Jesus had risen convicted thousands (cf. 2:41, 44. Later, “a great many of the priests” were convinced to obey the gospel (Acts 6:7). Within a few years following the resurrection, Christianity had spread to the city of Damascus (Acts 9) and within 20-30 years to Rome the capital of the Roman Empire. By the seventh decade Christianity and its foundational doctrine— the resurrection of Jesus from the dead—became a target of blame for Nero the Roman Emperor.

Consistent Moral Quality. The early Christians professed the divine compulsion to tell the truth (cf. Acts 5:41-42). The preaching of the apostles of a risen Savior disturbed the Jews (Acts 4:1-2) who commanded the apostles to cease preaching the risen Jesus (Acts 4:19-20). BUT they did not cease to do so by stating, “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our Fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered ... [for] the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:29-31). These early Christians possessed a personal conviction, honesty, and assurance that they were right concerning the resurrected Jesus from the dead. Do you live as convinced as the early Christians?