This Easter Sunday, after an amazing time of worship led by the Rock choir, Pastor Miles answered the question, "Did Jesus Really Rise?"
Miles recently went apartment shopping with his parents, who are visiting from Florida. He was surprised to find that many apartments offer multiple perks, such as workout rooms, spas, and two hundred dollars off monthly rent. When he rented his first apartment, all he got was a room and a key.
Miles learned that when you look for an apartment now, you need to know the perks. The same thing applies to God. People worship many gods today, whether money, health, or themselves. But only God offers the best perk of all-eternal life.
If God promises eternal life, we need to know that he can deliver. If he is still in the grave, we are doomed. Miles offered eight reasons why it is clear from the Bible that Jesus is risen.
Eight Reasons why Jesus Really Rose From the Dead
1. He rose because he said he would.
Matthew 20:17-19 states, Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"
Just as Jesus prophesied his death, he prophesied his resurrection. God and the Bible cannot be true only some of the time. If Jesus lied about his resurrection, he is not God, and there is no Christianity.
2. The tomb location was known and it was empty.
Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy follower of Jesus, asked Pilate for the body of Jesus and then buried Jesus in his own tomb. Everybody knew exactly where Jesus was buried. When Mary Magdalene and Jesus' mother went to anoint him with spices on the third day, the large stone in front of the tomb was rolled away, and an angel sitting in the tomb spoke to them.
Mark 16:6 states, "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
3. Women were the most unlikely people to provide the testimony of the Resurrection.
Matthew 28:8 states, So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
In Jesus' day, a woman's testimony was not valid in court. Men were not supposed to be caught in public with a woman. Yet the first bearers of the news of the resurrection were women! If the gospel writers were making this up, the last thing they would have written was that women were the first witnesses. But the disciples were bound by Christ to be truthful, and they recorded the truth in the Bible.
4. Testimony of many who confessed they encountered a risen Savior.
After he rose, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the disciples, two men on the road to Emmaus, and over 500 people at one time. He spent forty days verifying his resurrection by these appearances. Even Thomas, who refused to believe the testimony of the others at first, encountered the risen Jesus when he appeared to him by entering a locked room.
John 20:27-28 states, Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Like Thomas, we must stop doubting and believe. Jesus is alive today. Do you need to encounter the risen savior?
5. Sunday becomes a day of worship.
For thousands of years, Jews worshipped on the Sabbath-Saturday. After Jesus rose on a Sunday, early Christians, who were Jews, began to celebrate his resurrection every week on Sunday. Such a dramatic change would only occur if the resurrection was common knowledge at that time.
6. His body was never found.
The simplest way to squash early Christianity would have been to present Jesus' dead body. But instead, people began killing the Christians to try to stop the spread of the news of then resurrection. Many people had every religious and political motivation to find the body, but no one could.
7. A renewed confidence in the disciples.
When Jesus was arrested, the disciples deserted him out of fear for their lives. Shortly thereafter, they were recognized for their boldness. In Acts 4, Peter and John were questioned by religious leaders. Peter stood his ground, pointing to a crippled man that had been healed and proclaiming that it was in the name of Jesus, who died and rose from the dead.
Acts 4:13 states, When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Something amazing had happened in the lives of those fearful men in the weeks after Jesus' crucifixion-they had encountered the living, resurrected, eternal God. If your feet are on the rock, you will never die. The disciples knew this, and every single one died a brutal death because of his faith in Jesus.
8. Holy Spirit power was given to those who believe.
John 16:5 states, But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
Jesus lived thirty-three years on earth, died, was buried, rose, and verified his resurrection for forty days. Then he returned to heaven, where he began a new chapter in his relationship with us. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our paraclete, or one who comes alongside. We are never by ourselves because the Holy Spirit is with us.
The Bible says that the penalty of sin is death. Jesus died and conquered death for us and offers us eternal life. If you realize you are a sinner and believe that you will be held accountable for those sins, surrender to Jesus today.
Romans 10:9 states, That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.