My mind is still dwelling on the miracle of the resurrection even though we celebrated Easter last Sunday. Christ's raising from the dead is the greatest miracle of all history because it was the dead raising the dead. But how can we know if the miracle really happened? In other words what are the proofs of it as we look back 2,000 years? While none of us were there to witness it, here are some simple evidences that have endured.
The empty tomb: The body now is mysteriously gone. This is the first and most powerful evidence of the resurrection. Virtually everyone in the account confirm it: The angels, the soldiers, the women, the disciples, the Sanhedrin, and Pilate.
No body was ever found: There were speculations of body snatching but no body was ever found. If it had been found you would expect it would have been clearly heralded.
Many witnesses saw Jesus alive after the resurrection for 40 days; The appearance to the disciples is recorded in all four Gospels. Paul was a great enemy of the Gospel until Christ also met him in Acts 9. Later in I Cor. 15 Paul records the account of those whom Jesus appeared to from Jerusalem to Galilee. One of the appearances was to a group of 500 people. These people continued to speak of this the rest of their lives.
Witnesses also saw Christ ascend: At the end of the 40 days the disciples also saw Him ascend to heaven as He said He would (Acts 1). This made it clear His earthly ministry was over and the Heavenly one was beginning. He was very much alive to never die again.
The church soon started and continues 2,000 years later: Human organizations rise and fall quickly, but multi-millions of people and churches worldwide gather to remember the resurrection each Easter. It is because the tomb is empty and Christ is alive. If you were in church last Sunday you are another aspect of that proof.
What should you do if the resurrection is true? Paul made that very clear at the conclusion of 1 Cor. 15 where he gave reasons for why it was so important. He concludes in verse 58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. " That is what the early church did and what we are to continue to do until He comes again.
This Sunday, April 8, I'll be speaking from Mark 16 about this very topic.