Billy Graham has well said, "To the early apostles, the cross and the resurrection were their constant themes. The cross and the resurrection were linked together. Without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless; bones lie decayed in a grave, then there is no good news....the darkness of the world is indeed black and life has no meaning. The New Testament becomes a myth, Christianity is a fable and millions living and dead are victims of a gigantic hoax."
The most distinguishing fact of the Christian religion is the resurrection of Christ: Christianity begins where religion ends with the resurrection.
Easter is neither a dogma of the church or a date on a calendar. It is an experience that cannot be diagramed. If the cross is a symbol of love, the empty tomb is a symbol of hope.
Many worthy witnesses saw Christ alive those 40 days after He arose and before He ascended. Their eye-witness accounts that He is alive would stand up in any court.
There are many proofs of His resurrection. I list only a few:
1) Life and character of Jesus. Would He lie? The Bible always proves itself. Prophecies concerning Christ's birth were fulfilled and so were those concerning His death and resurrection.
2) Transformation of the twelve apostles. All but one died a martyr's death.
Would they have died to propagate a fraud?
They knew that He rose from the dead and they were willing to die for Him.
3) The New Testament churches, and churches today...
Would they have survived preaching a hoax?
4) Conversion of Paul. Who or what changed Paul? To all intellects and all sinners...if Paul could be changed, SO CAN YOU!
5) You and I are to be living testimonies that "He Lives". As the hymn records,
"He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me, along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart. You ask me 'how' I know He lives....
He lives within my heart!"
For those of you who need more proof, read the New Testament and be willing for the Holy Spirit to change you.
Josh McDowell's books are good also, especially 'Evidences That Demand A Verdict".
Also, Lee Strobel's "The Case For Faith", The Case For Christ" and "The Case For The Resurrection". Joe Stowell's books are good, also!
What should the resurrection mean to us?
1) It means the presence of the living Lord. (Hebrews 13: 5,8)
2) Gives purpose and meaning to life. (Acts 1: 8-11)
3) Our prayers are answered by a living Lord. (Hebrews 4: 14-16)
4) The power of the resurrected Christ is available to us. (Phil. 3:10)
5) The pattern of our new bodies assured. (II Corinthians 4:16 - 5:4 and I John 3: 1-3) If God can change a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, He can change this body into a new one for Heaven (I Corinthians 15: 35-38)
6) Promise of a returning Christ assured. (I Thessalonians 4: 13-18)
7) Promises of God are all underlined as being true. If Christ had not risen, we would have some doubts, but no doubts because He is risen!
(Read also I Kings 8:56....Romans 4: 18-22 and Acts 27:25)
8) Peace is ours, for the living Christ takes care of the past by forgiveness....the present by His presence....and the future by eternal life (John 14: 1-9, 27 and 16:33)
9) Proclamation of the Word that will not return void. (Isaiah 55:11)
The resurrection cheers the dying hours of the saved....assures immortality...is a Heavenly treasure and is the soul's sure anchor. The resurrection means God still cares -- a risen Savior for a fallen world.
With Christ, we have an endless hope....without Him, we have a hopeless end.
Which do you have? It's up to you.
Whosoever will, may come. Whosoever won't...(Proverbs 29: 1)
I'm sure you who know Christ experientially, will have a great Christmas, Good Friday and Easter every day of 2005!
Let us pray that many will join us. Truly Jesus is for everybody, everyday, everywhere and anytime!
Oh, how I wish many non-believers could read this wonderful belief of Christians. Certainly, it would take more than an article to many agnostics and/or athiests around, but if anything would make an impression, your article would carry impact--at least with one person (maybe). So happy to read it myself, for the poignant reminder.