By: Ng Shaowen
I’m gonna expound amateurishly on the various topics of theology systematically, so what better way to begin than the topic of resurrection, which is the cornerstone of our Christian faith.
Of the many ways that I’ve tried to laugh at this topic, I can’t. It’s not funny, we murdered God.
As a comparison, there are more books about Jesus’s death than His resurrection. But if Jesus is dead, then Christianity is dead as well.
Paul says in 1Cor 15:17, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
If there’s no resurrection, there’s no Saviour, there’s no salvation, there’s no forgiveness of sin, and no hope of eternal life, because then, Jesus was human.
Thankfully, Jesus’s not. He died on Friday, and rose on Sunday, in accordance to the Scriptures. In doing so, Jesus completed all that He needed to do to reconcile us back to the Father, and paid the ransom for our sin.
The truth is, He died in all physical sense. The truth is, also, that He also rose back to life in the physical state.
There are of course, tons of biblical evidence for Jesus’s resurrection, but there are 3 that are perhaps more compelling:
1. Jesus appeared physically, not just spiritually, three days after his death.
Mat 28:9 “And behold, Jesus met them (the disciples) and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.”
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
John 20:27-28 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus was emphatic with His resurrection and went out of his way to prove it for 40 days, as seen in Acts 1:3. Paul says that He also appeared to crowds as large as five hundred at a time. 40 days is a long time for a “dead” person to be “seen” or “perceived”, isn’t it?
2. Jesus’s resurrected body was the same as His pre-resurrected body.
That guy who appeared after Jesus’s death, who looks like Jesus, is in fact, Jesus, risen to life.
John 20:16 “Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).”
Mary recognized Him.
John 21:6-7 “He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. “That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.”
John recognized Him.
If in any case, Jesus did in fact, change His bodily appearance, would His disciples have recognized that it was Jesus who resurrected?
Luke 24:42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
I’m sure spirits can’t eat.
The only thing that’s different about Jesus’s body at that point of time was the fact that His resurrected body was perfected to its glorious state by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus being able to be at anywhere, anytime.
3. Paul became a Christian
The great apostle Paul became a christian after seeing Jesus resurrected.
Paul was a devout Jewish Pharisee and killed Christians as seen in Acts 9:1. Philippians 3:4-6 “though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.”
Remember that Jesus’s ministry was full of accusations and proclaimed woes to the Pharisees. After an encounter with the risen Christ in Acts 9, Paul was converted and becomes the major author and defender of the christian faith.
Acts 9:5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
He was definitely in the know about Jesus’s persecution. And again, once Jesus rose from the dead to prove Paul wrong, He was instantly converted. Imagine a devout Pharisee becoming a person who insists that Jesus had risen in almost all of his letters in the New Testament. That’s a huge turnaround.
Of course, Jesus’s resurrection will definitely have huge impacts, and there’s 3 that stand out from the bible.
1. Jesus’s disciples became loyal to their victorious Messiah after the resurrection.
A “messiah” liberates or saves. There are tons of modern day messiahs in our midst, fighting poverty, terrorism, etc. However, once a messiah fails, he/she is forgotten. However, the disciples knew that Christ, through the accomplishment of the cross and coming back to life, has conquered and has achieved total victory over sin.
Jesus is our victorious Messiah, and because of that, we can follow Him, because, honestly, a failed Messiah is a forgotten Messiah.
2. Jesus’s disciples were transformed drastically.
Prior to the resurrection, only John had the courage to stand in front of cross where Jesus was nailed to. Peter repeatedly denied Jesus, and the other disciples were hiding.
However, once Jesus appeared to them repeatedly after His death, and the endowing of the Holy Spirit, they became bold witnesses, even to: an upside-down crucifixion, put to death, crucified, died in a faraway country, stoned and then had his brains dashed out, and mostly martyred only because:
They all knew where they were heading after their death.
3. Christianity continues to spread with no bounds.
There were 3 men who died at the same place on that day. Only One is worshiped til this day. He’s Jesus. Why? Because Jesus alone died and rose and left the Church in his wake.
There are of course, numerous explanations and heresies regarding the resurrection. Worse still, there are “Christians” who don’t believe the resurrection.
The claim is staggering, the event is unbelievable, but all of us who claim to be Christians must receive is as truth, because being indifferent will simply be a rejection to the Christ who gives us eternal life through His amazing love.