While I initially planned a post on Jesus's birth and early years following the last installment in this series, I thought the time was right to publish something on the Resurrection, since we have entered the Passion Week (Of course, a separate Easter post will be featured on Sunday!).
Meanwhile, here are notes from another Sunday School lesson I took last year at my previous congregation:
Jesus Christ rose again from the dead on the 3rd day. But how can we believe such an amazing thing? Here are 3 points to think about:
The Empty Tomb
On the Sunday after his crucifixion, early in the morning, the tomb of Jesus was found to be empty. We know this because:
· Women went to the tomb-At that time, women were not considered equal to men. If this was a made up story, the writers would have never mentioned women because nobody would believe them.
· The disciples initially did not believe that Jesus had really risen from the dead (Matthew 28:17, John 20:9, 24) Later on, the disciples became the leaders of the church. Once again, if the empty tomb was a made up story, the disciples would not have been shown in this light.
· The Jewish leaders had to make up lies (Matthew 28:11-15)-If the tomb was not empty, why would they to make up stories to explain the missing body?
Visions of Jesus
At different times and different occasions, the risen Jesus appeared to many people (Luke 24:13-35, 1 corinthians 15:6). Were these hallucinations? No, because different people do not hallucinate at the same time. Moreover, Saul (who latter became Saint Paul) was at first an enemy of the Church. Then how come he saw the risen Jesus (Acts 9:1-5) if Jesus wasn’t actually alive?
The Preaching of Disciples
Finally, the disciples who were in hiding suddenly started preaching that Jesus had risen from the dead. What made them so brave? Another thing to notice is that the tomb of Jesus was in Jerusalem and the disciples preached the message of resurrection in Jerusalem. If Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, then the disciples would have no chance of being successful. However, they managed to convert thousands of people within days (Acts 2:41, 47)
We also have to look at the changed lives of the disciples:
- Peter denied Jesus 3 times, but ended up converting 3000 people in one day
- Thomas doubted Jesus, but he traveled all the way to India to preach the message. The St.Thomas Church in Chennai was built in his name
- Paul wanted to finish the Church, but ended up being its greatest martyr and missionary. He planted more churches than anyone else, and wrote the most number of books in the Bible.
If Jesus of Nazareth didn’t rise from the dead, how do you explain all these things?
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