For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NASB1995).
There are many reasons to doubt, but one historical fact overwhelms them all – according to the scriptures, on the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead!
A betrayal in a relationship, a bad diagnosis, an untimely death, inadequate funds for bills, or abuse from a spouse are all difficult, and a cause for questioning. But we don’t have to grieve like those without hope, because…
According to the scriptures, on the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead!
Paul continues his preaching about the resurrection with this statement…
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain; your faith also is vain (1 Corinthians 15:14).
How do we know that Christ has been raised from the dead?
From time to time, I pull a coffee-stained book written by N.T. Wright off a bookshelf. N.T.’s book is entitled The Resurrection of the Son of God.
In this book of 817 pages of small print, Wright writes thousands of words debunking every objection to the resurrection of Jesus. Yes, every one. The ones that you might have, ones from an atheist like Richard Dawkins, or ones heard from a former agnostic college professor.
Yes, I have read all 817 pages, even perusing the index. And even more kudos to N.T., this book is Volume Three that he wrote. And yes, I have read all three volumes.
The next time you see me say, “Wow!”
I quote N.T. from page 685 …
The historical datum now before us is a widely held, consistently shaped, and highly influential belief: that Jesus of Nazareth was bodily raised from the dead. This belief was held by virtually all the early Christians… the question we now face is obvious: what caused this belief in the resurrection of Jesus?
Read quickly through another 22 pages of evidence to page 707:
The early Christians did not invent the empty tomb and “sightings” of the risen Jesus in order to explain a faith they already had. They developed that faith because of the occurrence of the empty tomb and sightings… To suggest otherwise is to stop doing history and enter a fantasy world of our own!
Now just another two pages to page 709:
For all these reasons I conclude that the historian, of whatever persuasion, has no option but to affirm both the empty tomb and the sightings of Jesus.
One humorous conclusion of mine while reading Wright’s book on the resurrection – you must read almost seven hundred pages before you get to the good stuff!
But it’s really good stuff!
A more serious conclusion: the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact that overturns all our doubts. Yes, we can have questions, but the historical resurrection of one person gives us hope.
As the Apostle who saw Jesus alive himself writes…
Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O, death, where is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)