Resurrection of Jesus

A resurrection is a rising up from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus was a singular event in all of history. No other individual predicted his own death, the time they would spend in the tomb, and their own resurrection--and pulled it off.

You can look at any other person who created a great religion and find their tombs. You can see the tomb of Buddha , the prophet Mohammed, or Confucius. But, the tomb of Jesus is empty.

Jesus predicted his own death and resurrection.

Over the course of his ministry Jesus gave increasingly clear indications that he would die and would be resurrected to life. Sometimes those who heard him thought he was talking about something else entirely. Other times people simply didn't understand what he was saying.

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 12:40

Jesus claimed the power to resurrect others.

As Jesus was nearing Jerusalem for his final confrontation with the religious establishment he came to the area where his friend Lazarus had died and was entombed. Lazaras' sister was sorrowful that Jesus had not been available to heal Lazarus and prevent his death. But, Jesus gave her a different hope, a hope of the resurrection.

Then Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here my brother would not be dead. But I am certain that, even now, whatever request you make to God, God will give it to you.

Jesus said to her, Your brother will come to life again.

Martha said to him, I am certain that he will come to life again when all come back from the dead at the last day.

Jesus said to her, I am myself that day and that life; he who has faith in me will have life even if he is dead; And no one who is living and has faith in me will ever see death. Is this your faith? John 11:21-26

At another time Jesus forcefully cleared the Jewish Temple of business people who sold animals for sacrifices. When questioned about his authority for doing this Jesus replied:

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

John 2:19

But the people thought he was talking about the destruction of Jewish Temple rather than his own body. This comment was brought up as his trial.

Later in his ministry he began to be more clear about his meaning.

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Matthew 16:21

That Jesus died is attested to by both his followers and his assailants. That he died is not in dispute.

His followers were disheartened at his death. They fully expected Jesus to lead a revolution to restore the government of Israel and overthrow the Roman occupation.

And, much to their surprise, the disciples experienced a risen Jesus.

One of the first occasions on which Jesus appeared to the disciples was a Sunday evening. The disciples were not praying for or seeking a vision of Jesus. They were in fear of the Jews and had closed the door to the room they were meeting in. In spite of the closed doors, Jesus appeared in the midst.

At evening on that day, the first day of the week, when, for fear of the Jews, the doors were shut where the disciples were, Jesus came among them and said to them, May peace be with you! And when he had said this, he let them see his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. And Jesus said to them again, May peace be with you! As the Father sent me, even so I now send you.

John 20:19-21

The disciple Thomas was not with the group during this first appearance. And, next week when they all met together Thomas was neither praying for nor seeks Jesus. In fact, he thought the other disciples were making the whole thing up. The appearances of a risen Jesus were certainly not simple halucinations of emotionally distraught seekers.

Rather they were appearances of an actually risen Jesus.

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, named Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, If I do not see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails, and if I do not put my hand into his side, I will never have belief.

And after eight days, his disciples were again in the house and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were shut, Jesus came, and taking his place in the middle of them, he said, May peace be with you! Then he said to Thomas, Put out your finger, and see my hands; and put your hand here into my side: and be no longer in doubt but have belief.

And Thomas said in answer, My Lord and my God!

John 20:24-28

The resurrection of Jesus gives authority to his message. His resurrection gave hope and encouragement to his disciples.

That hope can be yours, too, if you become a follower of the resurrected Jesus.

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