The Reality of Salvation: He Rose
By Henry and Melvin Blackaby
CBN.com - Excerpt from the book Experiencing the Resurrection.
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:26)
People have always been haunted by the thought of death. But now that Christ has been resurrected, there’s no need to fear death anymore. Death has lost its sting; we can escape everlasting punishment for sin and, with it, eternal separation from God.
Physical death is now but a transition into our new and glorious existence in God’s presence; it’s the shedding of our weak and frail bodies and the receiving of new resurrection bodies. That is, if we choose to accept the gift of salvation, to repent of our sin, and to make Christ the Lord of our lives.
Our resurrection life hinges on the fact that Jesus really did rise from the dead to new life. And if that fact isn’t established, our faith is in vain.
So did Jesus rise? Did He truly die and then come back to life? This is a valid question that must be addressed.
The fact that Jesus lived has been clearly established. He’s not a figment of the imagination but a historical person. No educated person contests this fact; Jews, Muslims, and atheists all believe as a fact of history that Jesus lived. So there’s no need to argue this point. But many deny that the historical Jesus was the divine Son of God, and they deny He rose from the dead.
There are many approaches to answering such objections. Before we consider a quite unique and rather unexpected approach to this which we find in Scripture, let’s approach the issue from a purely historical examination.
Jesus died on the cross. This needs to be established because some argue that Jesus didn’t actually experience physical death on the cross. They suggest that He passed out, then later woke up in the tomb and walked out. They suppose that after all the torture and physical suffering He went through, He awoke from His stupor, unwrapped Himself from the burial wrappings, rolled away the stone, and left.
Not likely! But for those looking for a rational explanation, they’ll even hold on to the irrational rather than accept the miraculous. The physical suffering Jesus endured left Him in a physical condition of injury and trauma that was inescapable. His suffering began in the Garden of Gethsemane, where His sweat became like drops of blood, a detail recorded by the physician Luke in Luke 22:44. Jesus endured a medical condition known as hematidrosis, in which tiny capillaries in the sweat glands rupture, causing the skin to be extremely fragile and sensitive to the touch. This condition is rare but has been known to occur when a person is suffering under extreme amounts of stress.
Shortly thereafter, Jesus was arrested, then questioned in a series of “trials” that lasted through the night. He was whipped with a cat-o’-nine-tails that would have torn open the skin of His back (John 19:1). Soldiers pressed down upon His head a crown of thorns that would have cut deeply into His scalp (verse 2). He was beaten at the hands of the Roman soldiers (verse 3). Then they placed a heavy cross upon His back as they led Him to Golgotha (verse 17). It was there that the soldiers nailed Him to that cross with thick iron spikes in His hands and feet (verse 18). And the world watched as His tortured body hung there for hours for all to see. The word excruciating — which literally means “out of the cross”—is a fitting description of the ordeal of crucifixion.
After such an ordeal, can you imagine Jesus having the strength to loosen Himself from under a hundred pounds of burial spices (verse 39), unwrap Himself from the linen strips that tightly bound Him (verse 40), and roll away the stone that sealed His tomb (20:1)? Neither can we.
Others say that Jesus never made it to the tomb, but orchestrated an elaborate plan to make it appear as though He died and rose again. Perhaps He had a twin; perhaps they substituted Judas; perhaps the sponge filled with sour wine given to Jesus on the cross was really a sedative that made Him sleep; perhaps the soldiers were paid off to lie about His death. Perhaps…
People who don’t want to believe that Jesus is the Son of God will conjecture anything to try to disprove His death and resurrection.
The enemies of Jesus, however, proved that He really died. They verified His death. A crowd of people witnessed the entire ordeal (John 19:20). A Roman soldier pierced His side on the cross, causing water and blood to come out (verse 34). The blood had started to separate, signifying that physical death had already occurred. A centurion, a man well acquainted with the signs of death, verified that Jesus was dead (Luke 23:47). There was no doubt in the executioners’ minds that Jesus was dead.
The friends of Jesus agreed. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial; they knew He had died. Disciples who didn’t want to believe He was gone were absolutely convinced He had died.
Jesus was crucified…and He died on the cross.
JESUS WAS BURIED
After Jesus died, He was quickly prepared for burial and then laid in the tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57–60).
Some concede this fact, but then argue that His disciples stole the body of Jesus and propagated the myth of resurrection.
But again, His enemies ensured that this couldn’t happen. The body of Jesus was placed in a tomb that was then closed off with a huge rock and sealed by Roman soldiers. The seal was a cord placed across the tomb with wax over the cord. The Roman seal was imprinted in the wax, and Roman soldiers were placed by the tomb to guarantee that nobody stole the body. They knew it was predicted that Jesus would rise after three days, and they didn’t want His disciples to steal the body and cause an uprising (Matthew 27:63–66). The enemies of Jesus ensured that Jesus would stay in the tomb and that nobody was going to take away the body.
They did a good job; nobody stole Jesus’ body from the tomb.
THE EMPTY TOMB
Jesus died and was buried, yet three days later His tomb was empty. Not many argue this point. Everyone recognizes that something happened to the body. For on the Sunday after Passover, some women went to put spices in the tomb and found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Jesus wasn’t there. But they didn’t understand what had happened and surmised that somebody had taken the body (John 20:2).
These women were “Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them” (Luke 24:10). They went back and reported to the disciples what they had seen. The disciples were also startled and couldn’t believe the body was gone. They had to see this for themselves.
Peter and John ran to the tomb. Inside they saw the linen burial clothes—not ripped open or stolen away with the body, but lying there in an orderly manner (John 20:6–7). The body had not been stolen but had passed through the clothes…and was alive.
If the physical evidence wasn’t enough, God sent angels to explain it (Matthew 28:5–7; Mark 16:5–7; Luke 24:4–7; John 20:12). So the resurrection was confirmed not only by physical evidence but also by divine messengers.
It was also confirmed by many personal appearances of the risen Lord—the most convincing evidence of all. The disciples saw Jesus alive for themselves.
Still, some argue that the disciples only thought they saw Jesus; it was actually an illusion or a daydream. But this so-called illusion was far too widespread to be an imaginary vision.
Jesus was seen on the day of resurrection by Mary Magdalene (John 20:14–17), ten disciples in the upper room (verses 19–23), and two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–31). Eight days later, Jesus was seen by Thomas and the other ten disciples, again in the upper room (John 20:24–29). A short while later, Jesus was seen by the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (21:1–14). He was also seen by a crowd of disciples as He ascended into heaven, forty days after Passover (Acts 1:3–11).
Paul later records that the resurrected Jesus was seen by Peter and the disciples, by His brother James, and by more than five hundred people at one time (1 Corinthians 15:5–7).
Jesus was seen in many places, by many people, on many different occasions. This had to be real and no illusion; the same daydream doesn’t happen to hundreds of people at the same time!
How to give your life to Christ:
1. Admit you are a sinner and need forgiveness.
2. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and
rose from the grave.
3. Through prayer, confess that Jesus Christ is the only
way to God and commit to live for Him for the rest of your
What to Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe
that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave
to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now
I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please
forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In
Jesus' name. Amen.
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Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. We would love to talk
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walk with the Lord.
How you can know you are forgiven:
The Bible, God's Word says: You were saved by faith in
God, who treats us much better that we deserve. This is God's
gift to you, and you have done nothing on your own (Ephesians
For those who put their faith in Jesus: He gave them
the right to be the children of God... God Himself was the
one who made them His children (John 1:12-13).
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