Wednesday, April 8

Resurrection: Evidences

I am sitting in the Chattanoogan Hotel wondering what God wants for us next. Technically this is Maundy Thursday the celebration of all Jesus did in the upper room. He instituted the Lord’s Supper, he washed the agonized in a garden and he was betrayed by his team.

What I want to focus on are evidences for the Resurrection. What evidence was there for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?
*The seal on the tomb was broken
*The tomb was empty
*The large stone in front of the tomb was moved
*The grave clothes were left in the tomb
*He was seen by more than 500 witnesses

All of these are “proofs” of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. BUT, probably the most compelling is the changed lives of the disciples. How can you explain a group of followers denying the Lord on Friday that are willing to stand in front of large crowds declaring that they saw Jesus alive. How do you describe the change in Peter who denied Jesus 3x to save his skin but after the resurrection allowed himself to be crucified upside down rather than deny him.

Consider this from Josh McDowell:

The most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ?
Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts--prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits--we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this "risen Christ ."
As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking.
Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.

Read: Acts 2:22-32, 36-37
22"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25David said about him:
" 'I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will live in hope,
27because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
28You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.'
29"Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
36"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

You just read Peter’s first sermon to his own people. This message includes several important things:
1. Evidences of God working through Jesus (v.22)
2. The crucifixion of Jesus (v.23)
3. The resurrection of Jesus (v.24)
4. OT Proof that Jesus is God as a result of the resurrection (v.25-31)
5. His proof that he saw Jesus and is now a witness of this fact (v.32-33)

Jesus declared that he was the only way to God. He said he would prove this by being raised from the dead. His disciples never really Got it UNTIL he actually rose from the dead. Of the original 12 disciples, 10 of them were murdered for their testimony that Jesus was God and that he was raised from the dead.

You can choose from thousands of religions. They are essentially the same works-oriented movements. They are people trying to bridge the God-gap. In Jesus Christ we have God himself closing the gap. He comes to a world that he created and that world rejects and murders him. But death could not hold him down. God raised this Jesus from the dead.

That demands a response. Some might ignore it, some might get angry. Still, others are going to be cut to the heart and respond to God (v.37). We are not called to get results just to share the story of our Lord raised from the dead!

Have you accepted the fact that Jesus is God and your only solution for the God-gap? Have you accepted the fact that Jesus is raised from the dead and has thus proved who he is?

Take some time to ask God to give you boldness through the Holy Spirit to speak when given the opportunity. Maybe you can ask a co-worker, neighbor or friend what Easter means to them. Make sure to tell the about your resurrected Lord. They might be searching.

Listen to the song "Lord when thou Ascended" in the Worship Center below. Be warned, this is a form of Gregorian chant. Very old church soud but worshipful. Listen to the words! Blessings!

DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.