Evidence of Christ's Resurrection
1. The Empty Tomb
a. mary magdalene visits jesus' tomb
Key Scripture (John 20:1-2): Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
b. john sees and believes
Key Scripture (John 20:3-10): So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
response to the word
Jesus' disciples knew, as we do, the finality of death as the end of a person's existence in this world. They could not take the resurrection of Jesus for granted, and more than we can. Jesus died and was buried. People who die and are buried do not ordinarily come back to live, but Jesus did. He rose from the dead. John knew the moment He began believing this miracle had occurred. For our sakes, to give us everlasting life, Jesus' resurrection was the greatest miracle of God in all of human history. While we certainly do believe God raised Jesus from the dead, we must never take this for granted, because of the miracle it is. Believing the miracle of Jesus' resurrection, we also believe the miracle that we have eternal life through him.
2. Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
A. mary fails to recognize jesus
Key Scripture (John 20:11-15): Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
b. mary recognizes jesus
Key Scripture (John 20:16-18): Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Response to the word
Jesus, the incarnate Christ, voluntarily limited Himself to live in a human body that could be present in only one place at at time. The resurrected Jesus Christ can be present everywhere at once. This was the new reality those who knew the incarnate Christ needed to grasp. For us, the spiritual presence of Jesus Christ is all we have ever known. The Apostle Peter said about this, "Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:7-9). Jesus lives in us by His Spirit.
3. Thomas Sees and Believes
A. jesus appears to thomas
Key Scripture (John 20:24-29): Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 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.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
b. the purpose of the gospel
Key Scripture (John 20:31-31): But these are written that you may believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
response to the word
Jesus, the resurrected Lord, is no longer visible. Yet, people continue coming to saving faith in Christ by hearing the Gospel. Why does this happen? Because, as the Apostle Paul said, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). God's Holy Spirit-inspired Word is powerful. Therefore, when the Gospel is made known to people, the Holy Spirit works with the Word to convince people to believe in Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord. This being so, we should be ready to share the Gospel with others, at every opportunity.
On Your Own...
Jesus' Resurrection: Vital Heart of Christian Faith
Everything we believe about Jesus, that makes us Christians, is dependent on the fact of His resurrection from the dead. The Apostles knew this, as articulated by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). In his sermon, spoken to the large crowd of devout Jews present on that day, Peter said:
"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear [the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of Jesus' disciples]. . . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ [Messiah]" (Acts 2:32-33, 36).
What we believe about Jesus that makes us Christians is that, He is God's eternally begotten Son, who lived in this world as God incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of God in heaven. God, by raising Jesus from the dead, proved Him to be all we believe Him to be--Lord and Messiah-Savior of all whom will trust in Him for eternal salvation.
Take away the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and everything we believe about Jesus that makes us Christians, falls down. The unbelieving world knows this, and is the reason why they so strongly oppose our belief that God raised Jesus from the dead. Without the resurrection of Jesus, there was no virgin birth of Jesus, he did no miracles, he died in vain on the cross, and He cannot save us from sin and death. This is why the resurrection of Jesus is the vital heart of the Christian faith.
The Apostle Paul knew this, when he wrote to the Corinthians, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. . . .ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished" (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17-18). Can we be Christians without the resurrection of Jesus? No. But Jesus Christ did rise from the dead, and all we believe about Him is true. We can be Christians, because Jesus Christ is alive forever.
Daily Bible Readings
Monday: Jesus' Appearance on the Mountain
Tuesday: Jesus' Appearance on the Emmaus Road
Wednesday: Jesus' Appearance to the Eleven
Thursday: Jesus' Appearance to Seven Disciples
Friday: Jesus' Appearance to Multiple Disciples
Saturday: Jesus' Appearance to Paul