Featured in the April, 2007 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News
Is your Jesus dead or is He alive?
The crucifix is a cross with the corpse of Christ still hanging on it. He is still dead.
The empty cross is a symbol of the risen Redeemer. He is once dead but He is now alive!
The four Gospels contain the record of Christ’s resurrection (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20). The
theological explanation of Christ’s resurrection is given by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15.
By the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we mean that His physical body that died upon the cross and was buried in Joseph’s tomb came out of the grave on the third day. This
resurrection is actual, literal, and bodily.
I am aware I am overworking the language with the use of these synonyms, but I want to be crystal clear. It is not merely that the spirit of Jesus lives. It is not just
that His influence lives on through His followers or that His teachings continue to live. His spirit was never dead, nor was His influence, nor His teachings. It was His
body that died and it was His body that was raised. All of this fits with the historical report.
The birth of Jesus was a literal, physical birth. His life on this earth was an actual life in a real body that ate, slept, talked, and was seen by multitudes. His death
was an actual physical death, which was legally certified by Pilate who was the proper
authority (John 19:38). It was his dead body which was entombed by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:38-42).
This was the body that rose on the third day. It was the same body in which Christ ascended into heaven in the presence of His disciples (Acts 1:9-11). This is the Jesus
who will physically return to this earth (Acts 1:11) to stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4) and rule from the city of Jerusalem.
It was a bodily birth, a bodily death, a bodily resurrection, a bodily ascension, and it will be a bodily return to this earth.
At the risk of their lives, the apostles preached the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ as did Peter on the day of Pentecost saying, “God has raised this Jesus to life
and we are all witnesses of the fact” (Acts 2:32). Paul never tired of preaching the resurrection and rested the doctrine of Christ’s deity on the fact of Christ’s
return from the dead (Romans 1:4).
The historical fact of Christ’s physical resurrection is attested to by pagan Romans (Matthew 28:4-11), by hostile Jews (Matthew 28:12-14) and also
by bewildered disciples
(Luke 24:10-12). The vacated sepulcher is the answer to vain skeptics.
Not for lack of data, documents or details does one fail to believe. The evidence is so abundant that scholarship encourages faith. No one’s intellect keeps him from
believing in the risen Redeemer. The problem is moral and practical.
When you acknowledge His resurrection then you must concede that He is the very Son of God and the only Savior of sinners. Then you know there is no choice but to repent
of sin and to commit yourself to Christ as His servant.
No one will go to heaven without believing in the resurrection because the only Savior to believe in was the one who was raised from the dead and this is why Paul writes,
“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” (Romans 10:9). Christ’s
resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection, for did He not say, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).
The broken seal, the dislodged stone, the fleeing soldiers, the empty sepulcher, the victorious Savior, all witness against you if you refuse Christ.