Bible Society of South Africa

Jesus’ resurrection - 18 July 2023

By Mims Turley

Bible text(s)

14and if Christ has not been raised from death, then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe.

1 Corinthians 15:14GNBOpen in Bible reader

17And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins. 18It would also mean that the believers in Christ who have died are lost. 19If our hope in Christ is good for this life only and no more, then we deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world.

1 Corinthians 15:17-19GNBOpen in Bible reader

Once, a friend of mine announced that he no longer believed in the physical resurrection of Jesus. I was shocked. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but later, I found out that there has been a debate about this for centuries – even among Christians.

What does the Bible say? The gospel writers do not describe the resurrection itself, but they do give us a number of facts. Jesus really did die. Read John 19:33-35. All four gospel writers tell us that the big stone was rolled away from the tomb (Matthew 28:2). The body of Jesus in the tomb, carefully sealed and guarded by the Romans, was gone (Luke 24:1-3). Only the neatly folded linen cloths, with which Jesus’ body was wrapped, were there. The Bible also gives a list of witnesses who saw the resurrected Jesus, like the women who visited the tomb (Luke 24:10). Jesus appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus, to Peter, to the twelve disciples and, then, to “more than 500 of his followers at once, most of whom are still alive, although some have died” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

What do we do with these facts? Rationalists have offered various theories for the resurrection over the centuries. One is that the women simply visited the wrong tomb or could not remember the correct one. It is possible, but it means the Romans, the Jews and even the owner of the tomb that buried Jesus – Joseph of Arimathea – were all wrong. In the 19th century, there was a theory that Jesus did not really die. Read what historians say about the crucifixion and decide for yourself. There is also a theory that Jesus’ body was stolen. The Romans wanted Jesus out of the way and the Jews wanted him dead. That leaves us with the disciples. Would they have stolen Jesus’ body? It may be possible, but in my opinion, it would mean that they had to deliberately pretend, live a lie and also be prepared to be persecuted for their faith. Why?

There is another possibility for rationalists, non-believers and Christians who do not believe in the resurrection to consider – perhaps God the Almighty brought his Son back to life. Read our verse for today again. Without the resurrection, our faith is worth nothing.

I believe in Jesus Christ who on the third day rose again from the dead.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that we worship the risen, living Jesus. Amen

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