If the resurrection of Jesus is true, then Christianity is true. The resurrection is one of the most important events to take place in the history of the world. The very linchpin of the gospel is the resurrection. Paul, the Apostle, in 1 Corinthians 15:17 says, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins.” Verse 19 of that same chapter says, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” So, as followers of Jesus, our hope and security rest in the fact that Jesus did rise from the dead.
With the Easter season upon us, though, this is the time of year when we see the critics come out to prove that Jesus did not resurrect. Many different theories and stories have developed throughout the years to try and prove that Jesus did not resurrect. Some of the more popular theories try to convince us that the resurrection is a fable, myth, or conspiracy. You will hear arguments that the “legend” of Jesus began shortly after His death and grew in stature throughout the years until the gospel writers began to write their accounts of the life of Jesus. Other arguments center around the conspiracy of the alleged resurrection. These stories sound like the disciples stole the body or Jesus did not really die on the cross. The critics and skeptics of the resurrection abound, and there are many different theories that try to explain the account of the resurrection of Jesus.
So, how do we respond? The truth is that a viable and factual case can be made for the resurrection of Jesus. Dr. Gary Habermas is a professor at Liberty University and has written and taught about the resurrection for a number of years. In his book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Dr. Habermas lays out five fact-based reasonable arguments for the resurrection:
1. Jesus lived and died by crucifixion.
2. The disciples believed in an encounter with a resurrected Jesus.
3. Paul’s conversion to Christianity.
4. James’s conversion to Christianity.
5. The empty tomb.
These five facts are well-accepted facts among critical scholars and are able to be made from history without using the Scripture as a source.
However, with the addition of the testimony of the Scripture, we can be certain that we worship a living God. He is not dead; He is surely alive!! This truth changed the course of history and the trajectory of my life and many other lives. As we prepare to celebrate together the resurrection of Jesus in just a few weeks, let us do so in confidence and let us do so with a passion to see the name of Jesus magnified across the globe. I look forward to gathering together these next two weeks as we celebrate Jesus together, but let us not end the celebration with the conclusion of Easter Sunday, but let the truth of the resurrection of Jesus permeate our lives each and every day!!