Luke 24:1-12 – “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. 3 And they entered in and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulcher; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”
I Corinthians 15:20-26 – “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
It takes faith to be a Christian. I’m not talking about the every day, “day-in-and-day-out” faith that we must have to continue to believe anything at all in this broken world that does not make sense most of the time. I’m talking about “threshold faith.” It’s that “leap of faith” we must take to embrace the supernatural and believe that a virgin could conceive and that her Child is God become flesh.
There are no “how-to” books or “multi-step” programs to enlighten us on accepting what is impossible in the natural world. Perhaps the answer comes to us when another supernatural thing happens and the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and convinces us that there is only one answer to all of life’s questions and mortality’s dilemma – believe! That leap of faith is demanded of us prerequisite to salvation because the initial step to the new birth is to believe that Jesus, being bludgeoned and nailed to a cross did, after three days in the tomb, rose from the grave (Romans 10:9,10).
Skeptics have always pounced on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even those who followed Him found it hard to believe that even this One Who walked upon the sea and turned water into wine, could escape death and the tomb. When faithful ladies who, at the empty tomb received the glorious message that Jesus had risen, told the disciples that He was alive, the disciples accepted their testimony as if they were “idle words” (Luke 42:11). Perhaps they thought that grief had driven them to delusion.
Mary Magdalene had another explanation. She thought that someone had stolen His body. Supposing Jesus to be the caretaker, she requested Him to tell her where they had laid Jesus so she could take Him away (John 20:11-15). It was only when He spoke her name that she realized that the One Who addressed her was her risen Lord.
Thomas will ever be remembered as the doubter who demanded the physical proof of His pierced hands and feet and His wounded side before he would believe (John 20:25). A week later, he knelt at those wounded feet and declared the resurrected Jesus to be both Lord and God. Jesus told Thomas that those who would not have the physical evidence in future generations would be blessed for their faith in the resurrection as declared by the scriptures.
No other doctrine of the Christian faith is more central to the validity of our salvation than the resurrection. It is also integrally connected to the future resurrection of the dead in Christ. “If Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain and we are of all people the most miserable.” (I Corinthians 15:12-20).
Nineteenth-century infidel, Robert Ingersoll, declared that, if the resurrection of Christ could be disproved, then all of Christianity would fall like a house of cards. Unbelieving men have tried to discredit the truth of the resurrection ever since it happened. The chief priests bribed the guards to say that His disciples had stolen His body (Matthew 28:11-15). One critic theorized that He had merely swooned on the cross and was revived by the cool environment of the tomb. But how could He, in such a weakened state, have rolled away the stone? Perhaps we should put all ICU units in cool, damp caves.
Another skeptic concluded that His followers had simply gone to the wrong tomb. Are we to believe that His body was so well hidden that He would not be found in two thousand years? They have tried to find the bones of Jesus but they have always failed. He took them with Him back to heaven!
Today, we celebrate again the wondrous reality, first told to a few faithful women, that a search for Jesus in the tomb will prove fruitless. He is not in the tomb. HE IS RISEN JUST AS HE SAID HE WOULD! On the day of Pentecost, Peter proclaimed that Jesus had risen, “having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24). Your faith is affirmed again! JESUS IS ALIVE!