Portrait of Christ Part 3: The man Who Died Yet Lives
It looked like any other ordinary morning. There was a golden sunrise the kind most people post on Instagram. In the news, there was an accident involving two donkeys, and king Herod was hosting a delegation from Syria, Egypt or some other place.
None of the news channel run the story that Jesus had risen from the dead.
The women had gone to anoint the dead body as a final act of devotion to this great religious leader whom all their hopes had once lied. He was the embodiment of love and personification of power. He had astonished everyone and silenced his critics with his unmatched wisdom.
He served everyone with absolute kindness and purity. They had watched him cleanse the leapers, heal the sick, make the dumb speak, feed multitudes even raise the dead. Some of them remembered how freely they had felt when demons were cast out of them. They were hoping against all hope that somehow, they could hear his words again- but he was dead!
They wished someone recorded his messages. Some remembered his mockery of a trial, the judgement and crucifixion. They had felt the earth shake and seen the three-hour darkness. As they went they asked, who will roll the stone from the entrance of the tomb? But when they got there it was open!
There were angels, bright light and confused guards. If what they were experiencing was true, something significant had happened in Israel. No other event of such magnitude had ever happened in their lifetime. As they were contemplating how they’ll tell what they had seen to the disciples, peter and john arrived at the tomb, and looking at the neatly folded piece of linen cloth that wrapped Jesus’s head they knew he had risen!
The theory that started making rounds after was that someone had had stolen the body of Jesus. But then, if that was the case, the clothes would be in disarray and not the way it was neatly folded. Peter, looking at the clothes realized that Jesus had diffused from the clothes around him.
When Thomas heard the news, he couldn’t take the matter lying down. He said until he put his fingers on the wounds of Jesus, every other thing was just a story. For he did not believe that the just shall live by faith. It had not yet been written in Romans 1:16 but was in Habakkuk. He did not also know that we walk by faith not by sight-for 2 Corinthians 5:7 had not yet been penned.
People all around Israel were congregating in small groups speaking in hushed tones, that Jesus had been seen by his disciples and even ate fish and bread. With time the news came that he had appeared to a group of five hundred- then he went to heaven.
The Jewish leaders were too embarrassed to admit this truth, so they devised a rumor which Mathew reports in 28:11-15 that the body of Jesus was stolen by his disciples. They even went ahead to bribe the soldiers manning the tomb to back up their claim that while they slept, the disciples came and stole the body of Jesus Christ.
You can imagine the shaken disciples stealing Jesus’s body from a tomb being guarded by roman soldiers ‘when they were sleeping’! That story was ridiculous! For if they were asleep, who saw the disciples take the body?
Paul comes in latter and abets the Jewish leaders plan by cracking down and persecuting the followers of Christ peddling the resurrection story. But then he meets with Jesus on the road to Damascus and his life his utterly changed. He becomes the most ardent follower of this Jesus planting churches all over including Corinth as recorded in act 18.
He learns that some in the church of Corinth did not believe that Jesus rose from the dead. He poses this question. If Christ is preached as having raised from the dead, how can some say he was not raised? That is like asking; Who are they anyway, what logic have you applied, which books have you read to support that belief and which youtube channel have you been viewing?
On this question whether Jesus rose from the dead or not- Christianity stands.
Paul says without resurrection we are to be pitied more than everyone else. For every pleasure, we have forsaken in pursuit of this Jesus is all for nothing.
There are people who have done great research and written books to that effect even at the height of their unbelief;
- The case for Christ- lee Strobel
- Christianity on trial- mark Lanier
- Evidence that demands a verdict- Josh McDowell
For those who claim that he merely fainted, the scourging left many people dead at the whipping post. Let alone the agony of crucifixion which was beyond survival. The word excruciating was derived from the pain gotten from crucifixion. With the nails on the wrists and feet hanging on the cross, one would die for lack of breathing because the carbon dioxide would increase in the blood and one would succumb to cardiac arrest.
These are the arguments that Jesus rose from the dead;
- The empty tomb-the writers of antiquity were silent on the whereabouts of the body of Christ.
- Testimony of eyewitnesses-Jesus appeared to the five hundred and none of them contradicted that fact.
- The stories are factual
- The first witness to see Jesus were women- women’s testimony wasn’t admissible in court at that time. So, it would beat logic to have women be the first witness if you wanted to manufacture a truth. It would make more sense if peter was the first one at the tomb.
- All the disciples including Paul died for this testimony- it doesn’t make sense for the very people who denied him before his crucifixion suddenly had a change of heart to the extent of being scourged, poisoned and crucified for something that wasn’t true.
- Even liberal scholars believed that Paul was really lived- he was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a man of impeccable faculties as evidenced by his writings of the epistles which had the most incredible prose.
- Testimony of changed lives- how do you explain the modern-day change in people when they encounter Jesus even after correctional institutions fail to turn them around?
- The character of the witnesses- those who saw Jesus were people of stature in society during their time Paul included who was an intelligent man in his own right.
All these arguments about Jesus’s resurrection give credence to the implications to;
- To assure you that you believe in something attested by history.
- Jesus truly died and rose from the dead
- His resurrection proves God accepted his sacrifice
- We also will rise from the dead, Jesus being the first fruit.
- The same way he went is the same way he will come back.
- We can walk in the power of resurrection which is resident in all of us.
That same power God used to resurrect Jesus is in all of us believers. It is the power that makes you know you will be healed, it is the same power that makes you know that every barren area of your life can be brought back to life if you can only tap into its power. With that knowledge, you and I should walk like the child of the most high God and that our belief stands on solid ground that Jesus is alive!
November 26, 2017
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