By: Rev. Phil McCoy
Why do we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? The resurrection of Jesus is the center of the Christian faith. With it, everything stands or falls. Because of this, all skeptics through all the centuries since Christ have aimed their largest guns at the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ has been examined more carefully than evidence for any other fact of history. Let’s look at some of the evidences. There is the fact of the Lord’s Day. A group of early Christians who were Jews changed the day of worship from the seventh to the first day! Why did they change? Because the resurrection of Christ from the dead took place on the first day of the week. He appeared to His disciples on the first day of the week. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost took place on the first day of the week.
Then, there is Easter. What other fact than that of the resurrection can explain our celebration of Easter? What other fact than that of the resurrection can explain the existence of Easter, which goes all the way back to the time of the early church?
There is the fact of the Sacraments of the Christian Church, which not only point to the suffering and death of Christ, but also to His resurrection in power. There is also the fact of Christian Hymns. In the earliest days of the Christian church, hymns were sung to the resurrected Christ. There is the undeniable fact of the Christian Church. The Christian Church began in Jerusalem in A.D. 30 when the Apostles began to preach that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The heart and substance of the message of the early Christians was that Christ was risen from the dead. At Pentecost, the first message delivered was entirely about the resurrection of Christ; about the Old Testament prophecies that went before it; about the fact that they had crucified the Lord of Glory and God had raised Him from the Why Believe? dead; about the fact that they were the witnesses of these things; about the fact that the risen Christ had now poured out His Spirit; and about the fact that because He was risen, He could grant forgiveness of sins to those who would believe in Him.
The resurrection of Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. There is the empty tomb, the eyewitness testimony, He appeared to over 500 people who saw Him risen. The Apostles were transformed from timid, fearful cowards to confident, bold proclaimers of the Gospel. We have the faithfulness, the character, the suffering and death of many of these witnesses, most of whom sealed their testimony with their blood. And there are many more.
We, as Christians, can rejoice for Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!?
Rev. Phil McCoy is the pastor of First ARP Church in Statesville, NC.