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It was a Sunday morning over 2000 years ago. Yet it changed history. It can also change your life today. A man called Jesus was said to have risen from the dead. Was it true?
Today, we look at the facts about Jesus resurrection. Did it happen? Last week I challenged you to try to disprove it. Could you do it?
If this were a case in court, we would need to look at the evidence.
First of all, was Jesus even dead? Death on a cross was almost certain. Roman soldiers would make sure of it otherwise, if not. Jesus was nearly beaten to death before being placed on the cross. Then both friends and enemies saw Jesus die. Next, a soldier speared him in the side, while his body was still on the cross, to make sure that Jesus was dead. Both blood and water flowed from his side. The separated fluids help to prove his death (John 19:31-34).
Doctors today agree (See: JAMA March 21, 1986—Vol 255, No. 11). Jesus was dead, and if not, he would have died in the tomb.
Next, did people know where Jesus was buried? Could his followers have looked in the wrong tomb?
Many people knew the location of his tomb. A member of the Jewish Council, Joseph, donated the use of his tomb. The place would have been well known. Jesus’ enemies wanted people to know that he was dead. They could have produced the body if there was a question about the death.
Could his body have been stolen? (Matthew 28:11-15) No, the tomb was sealed with a huge stone and Roman soldiers guarded it with their lives. They were professionals. If the body had been stolen, there would have been an investigation.
Are there other reasons to believe that Jesus rose from the dead? Yes.
Over the next 40 days, it is recorded that Jesus appeared alive to over 500 people. He even appeared to groups of people all at once.
Also, consider the rapid change in Jesus’ followers. Something incredible happened. Just before Jesus’ death, his followers were afraid to live for him. They ran away when soldiers captured him. Peter denied that he knew Jesus. Later—after the resurrection—the same followers, including Peter, changed. They were now willing to go to death for Jesus. Most of them died for their belief in Jesus and his resurrection.
People are willing to go to death for something they believe to be true. But people are not willing to go to death for a lie.
Finally, before Jesus’ death, he claimed that he would rise from the dead. No other man has made such a claim and then made it happen. If the resurrection did not happen, Jesus was a liar. Then he would be no different than any other religious leader: dead in the ground.
But the facts are strong, Jesus words were true. We can trust him. Our faith can be based on fact. He can provide justice. He can provide forgiveness. He can give us peace and hope. He can change the world. He can change you.
I believe it. So can you.
It’s a fact. Case closed.
I’m Leon Smith.