Well, the week after Easter. What an appropriate time to read the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How do you know Christianity is true? Think about it. There are thousands of religions in the world. Each of these religions have a dynamic leader who taught about their god and how to live. These religions have religious practices, worship services, a system of right and wrong, and a belief that their view is true. The fashionable thing to say in this age is that all of them are right and true. But Christianity claims that only those who trust Christ will find heaven and eternal life. That’s a pretty bold statement, in light of the fact that there are so many religions. So how do we know?
The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the answer! This event split all of history and defines all that is. When you read of the resurrection of Jesus, you are not reading some quaint Sunday School fairy tale that makes for a good holiday with eggs and bunnies. The resurrection of Christ is the pinnacle of history and defining moment. It is the point in history that God ordained to prove Himself and to accomplish victory over evil, death, and the grave. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historical fact (if you doubt that the resurrection really happened, take time to read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel).
Why does the resurrection prove the truthfulness of Christianity? First, it proves that Jesus is exactly who He claimed to be. As you have read the book of John, you found out that Jesus claimed to be God. He did not tell us He would show us about God or teach about God, He WAS God in a body, living among us. Some people think Jesus was a good man, but nothing more. But only God can pull off the resurrection of Christ. Only God can take a man who was viciously crucified, and bring Him back to life with a healed and resurrected body. If Jesus was a liar and a crock, He would have stayed in the grave, but He didn’t.
If we took a world tour to visit the graves of the famous religious leaders in the world, here is what you would find. We could go to the Far East and find the grave of Buddha. There would be a tombstone with a birthdate and a date of death. Go visit the grave of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons, and he has a similar grave stone. We could check out Mohammed’s (the founder of Islam) or any other great religious leader’s grave, and we would find a tomb with a stone that tells us when the person was born, and when they died. We could see a shrine or statue to honor the remains of the person, which prove that the great religious leader is dead. But go to Jerusalem, to Joseph of Arimathea’s borrowed tomb (how do you borrow a tomb, unless you are Jesus and plan to give it back), and you will find the stone rolled away, because Jesus is alive! Only God could do that, and it proves that Jesus is exactly who He claimed to be.
Second, the resurrection affirms where Jesus is going. The world is so interested in finding out if there is life after death. They consult mediums who talk to dead aunts and cousins to find out what the afterlife is like. They participate in seances to communicate with the dead or project themselves into the other realm. If you really want to know that the other side is like, ask someone who has actually been there. Only Jesus has been to death and back. He knows what is on the other side. When He promises eternal life, He knows.