He Rose from the Dead

The followers of Jesus made an extraordinary claim: Jesus rose from the dead. They did not say that they saw visions of him or that his spirit appeared to them. They claimed and passed along that Jesus died on the cross. He was dead. He was buried. Then he was alive again, not just a spirit but his body too.
It’s not hard to understand why people are skeptical about this claim. They were skeptical then too. Ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus is a matter of faith. It cannot be proven to be true. New Testament historian Bart Ehrman is right when he claims that historians can only talk about probabilities and miracles are, by definition, improbable.
While we cannot prove the resurrection of Jesus, there are still good reasons to believe it. These reasons may not convince a skeptic, but they certainly demonstrate that is reasonable to trust the evidence of the gospels about this all-important historical event.
The most powerful reason to believe in the resurrection is the existence of the Christian faith. Jesus’ disciples were defeated and distraught after his death. The women went to the tomb to anoint a dead body. The other disciples were in hiding. What changed the disciples’ outlook? The dramatic change was produced by a dramatic event. The Jesus they were mourning, suddenly, he wasn’t dead anymore.
Bishop N. T. Wright suggests another reason why we should trust the history of the resurrection accounts. The Jews of Jesus’ time believed that God would resurrect the dead, but they believed that this resurrection would come at the judgment and that everyone would be raised. They did not have any ideas about one man being raised from the dead. Therefore, Wright argues, they would not have made this up because it would not have occurred to them. Until Jesus arose, they did not think God’s plan involved the Messiah dying and being raised again.
Such reasons will not change the minds of anyone who cannot believe in miracles. To many people, the resurrection of Jesus is merely wishful thinking. But if we can allow ourselves to receive the grace of God and trust that He raised Jesus from the dead, we will find the hope of resurrection in the many struggles we have each day and in an eternity where we never die.
Love in Christ
Greg W. Burriss
Pastor, Rocky River Baptist Church


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