Monday, June 3, 2013

What If Jesus Never Resurrected?

Those who opposed Jesus believed His talk of resurrection from the dead was an absolute hoax. When Jesus died, they were convinced of one thing - His dead body would be still in the tomb after three days. This popular Jesus movement would then die out fast. They had only one concern. His followers might fake His resurrection by stealing the body! That would be big trouble for them.

So....PLAN 'A'.... seal the tomb and place guards there. The chief priests and Pharisees convinced Pilate to do just that. (Matthew 27:62-66)

Nice try, guys. But no match for the spiritual realm, for the supernatural, the power of God!  The guards didn't do so well, and on the third day after Jesus died, here's what happened.......HE RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD!!

"There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men." (Matthew 28:2-4)

JESUS 1 -  CHIEF PRIESTS 0

After that episode, the chief priests were in a panic. Now what? If the news got out about the disappearance of Jesus' body from the tomb, it would spark a resurgence of the movement.

So...PLAN 'B'.....Lie! That's right...lie. Bribe the soldiers to spread a fake story that the disciples snuck into the tomb and stole the body. Then maybe that would squelch the movement.

When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed...." (Matthew 28:12-15)

Of course, that backfired. The soldiers could lie about the body of Jesus being stolen from the tomb, but that would only work until either the body was found, or Jesus was actually seen alive. And guess what? JESUS WAS SEEN ALIVE! And not just on one occasion or by one person. He was seen on several occasions by several persons. He even appeared to over 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6).

JESUS 2 -  CHIEF PRIESTS 0

Think about it. if Jesus never resurrected from the dead.........

1. We would not have a Savior
If Jesus was still in the tomb, then Christianity wouldn't exist today.  His prophecy, "after three days I will rise again", would be in error. Jesus would not be who He claimed to be, and we would still be waiting for a Messiah.

2. We would not have real faith
If Jesus did not come back to life, we would be worshiping a false Lord. Our faith would be useless. "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins." (I Corinthians 15:17).

3. We would not have forgiveness
The same verse above states that if Jesus never resurrected, then His death on the cross is futile also. In other words, if He didn't resurrect, our sins are not forgiven!

4. We would not have new life in Christ
Christianity is all about new life - a change from the old to the new. But this new life is dependent on the resurrection.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Peter 1:3)

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6:4)

5. We would not have hope of Eternal Life
If He hadn't come back to life, we would have no hope at all. No hope that God is able to do all things. No hope of heaven. No hope of seeing our faithful loved ones again. Without hope, our lives would be terrible. We would be living for today only. If Jesus didn't resurrect from the dead, then He was defeated by death, and therefore, death defeats us too.

The good news is this....Jesus DID resurrect from the dead. He is who He says He is. In Him we have faith, and hope, and forgiveness of sins, and new life. In Him we are resurrected from the dead and have the promise of eternal life with Him. 

And here is even more good news...... if Jesus resurrected from the dead, then He's still alive! He is "seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven" (Hebrews 8:1)  He is our mediator. He is our High Priest. He will never leave us or forsake us, and He is coming back some day to gather His church. 

If the chief priests would have been right and Jesus was a fake, then the Jesus movement would have died out long ago. But they were wrong, and the one who was victorious, not just over them, but over death itself, was Jesus. When He actually came back to life, that was the knock out blow for all the non believers, especially the chief priests and the Pharisees.

JESUS 3 -  CHIEF PRIESTS 0 
Final Score

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." (John 11:25)

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