Easter, thought not the best word, refers to the time of year we focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. The entire Christian message is built upon the resurrection of Jesus from death. History reveals that God came to earth in the form of Jesus and was born as a baby. We celebrate that event on what we call Christmas.
Then Jesus grew up like a normal person of His day. He faced the same challenges and temptations in life as we do. Yet we are told in the Bible that He did not commit any sin.
At the age of 30 he began a public ministry that lasted for 3 years. It ended in an ugly way. Because of His claim to be God he was crucified on a cross between two thieves. This took place on Friday. He was buried before the sun went down. Friday, Saturday Sunday. Three days later some of his followers came to his tomb to complete the burial process. Upon arriving they found an empty tomb. They were greeted by an angel who asked, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen just as He said He would”.
Let’s make an assumption. Let’s assume for sake of argument that the resurrection did happen. If it did, when Jesus Christ rose from the grave after being dead for three days this is what it did: IT PROVED HE WAS WHO HE SAID HE WAS
John 8:25 “Tell us who you are, ‘they demanded. Jesus replied, ‘I’m the one I’ve always claimed to be. When you have killed the Messiah you’ll realize that I am he.'” Jesus made some incredibly outrageous claims while He was here on earth. He said things like “I’m perfect… I’m the savior of the world… I’m the only way to Heaven… I’m God.” “Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to God the father except by means of me.'”
No religious leader ever made that kind of claim. No other leader claimed to be God. Buddha never claimed to be God, Mohammed never claimed to be God. Jesus made some outrageous claims. When He said, “I am the way, the truth, the life” — the only way to heaven, that doesn’t leave many options. There’s not a whole lot of middle ground there. You either say, “Yes, He was who He said He was” or “No, He’s not”. He’s either who He says He was ~ the Lord ~ or He’s a liar or lunatic. Jesus said “The way you’ll know that I am who I say I am is I’m not going to stay dead. I’ll come back to life after three days in the grave.”
He didn’t say, I am A way. He says “l am the way.” There are a lot of people who will say, “I believe Jesus was a good teacher.” There’s only one problem with that. He didn’t make that claim. He didn’t claim to be a good teacher. He claimed to be God. If He wasn’t who He said He was, He’s a fraud. If I say to you, “My name is Steve and I am a good teacher.” Some of you would say, “Yes, I could buy that!” But If I said, “I’m Steve and I’m God” that’s a whole different ball game. When Jesus made statements like “I’m God” He’s either who He said He was or He was the biggest fraud who ever lived.
He said in Mark 10:34 “They will mock and flog and kill me but after three days I will come back to life again.” Why did they crucify Jesus Christ anyway? They crucified Him because of what He claimed. He claimed to be God. The religious leaders had two options– fall down and worship Him or kill the guy ~ get rid of Him. There wasn’t any alternative. So rather that worship Him, they killed Him.
The only problem was, He didn’t stay dead. Now, not everyone believes that to be true. Not everyone believes he came back to life.
However, three days later He’s alive again. There’s some humor in the Easter story. Can you imagine being a religious leader? You’ve publicly executed this guy in front of thousands of people. Everybody knows He’s dead. He’s in the tomb. And three days later you bump into Him on the street! The Bible says that the Romans put a large stone in front of the tomb and they put a seal over it and they put a 24 hour guard around it. They were only postponing the inevitable. He said, “I’m going to come back to life.”
He said, “I am the Son of God. Don’t believe me unless I do the miracles of God.” Jesus said, “Here’s what I claim and here’s what I’m going to do to prove it. If I don’t do it, I’m not God. I’m a fraud.”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a matter of public record. This was not something done in secret. It was big headlines in the Jerusalem Times. The whole city knew about it. Eventually the whole Roman Empire did. It was big, big news. The guy was publicly executed and three days later He’s walking around again. If there had been major news outlets they would have had live coverage broadcasted to the world. There are at least 15 incidences in the Bible alone of what Jesus did after He came back to life. He walked around Jerusalem for awhile, He talked to people, He ate with people. They touched Him. This was common news.
George Gallup did a survey that found that 89% of Americans accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a historical fact. I believe he was exactly who he said he was and the resurrection is all the proof I need. Case closed!
Oh, wait a minute. So what? What difference does that make in your life?