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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Every year Christians gather for a 'special' Sunday service called Easter Sunday.  The roots of the chosen time of the year comes from a annual pagan celebration of fertility that the church wanted to "Christianize" and have their own in contrast.  It was very controversial in the church to celebrate the passion of Christ during that pagan holiday but the church remained unified and agreed on the season.  So now as culture and church blended we have Easter bunnies and colorful eggs in our Easter Sunday church services.  As society becomes more secular and the church blends more into the world the true meaning of the celebration of the passion of Christ is hidden behind the popularized pagan symbols. 

The church needs to refocus its attention away from fun loving cultural symbols and on the person and work of Jesus Christ during this season.  It needs to celebrate the meaning of the cross for all the world to see.  It is not Easter Sunday but Resurrection Sunday.  It is not about eggs symbolizing fertility but The Cross; Christ's death and resurrection.

This is what we celebrate in the week (Holy Week) leading up to and on Resurrection Sunday:
  • Sunday before Resurrection day is the remembrance of Jesus Christ's entry into Jerusalem known as Palm Sunday.
  • Thursday is remembrance of the Last Supper and the commission of Communion.
  • Friday is the remembrance of Christ's crucifixion and death on the Cross known as Good Friday.
  • Saturday is self reflection and rest and remembrance of Christ resting after finishing atonement.
  • Sunday is the celebration of Christ's resurrection from the dead!
Dates for Resurrection Sunday:

2015 – April 5
2016 – March 27
2017 – April 16
2018 – April 1
2019 – April 21
2020 – April 12

But why is The Resurrection so important?

1 Corinthians 15:14,17
"if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain...if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins."

The resurrection event is fundamental to all mankind.  Without it, the world still has their sins to pay for themselves and the belief in Jesus is pointless.  Christianity is pointless.  Christianity is vain, just like all the other religions without the resurrection.

In 1 Corinthians 15 we see that there were people that did not question the existence of Jesus, but questioned the resurrection.  They knew he existed.  They talked to all kinds of eye witnesses about him but they just couldn't fathom a person so close to them and so real to them, came back from the Dead.

The Resurrection is the cornerstone and key element of The Gospel message that brings people to salvation.  Without that key element, there is no salvation.  Please read our page on the essentials of The Gospel Message.

So how can we be confident, in our time, the resurrection is true?

A)   The eyewitness testimony circulating at the same time as the eyewitness lived.  They could have been easily shunned and exposed as obvious liars.  All the opponents needed to do was present the body of Jesus- they never did.  A copy of The Gospel of Mark has been discovered dating to the mid 1st century.  The Gospel of John can be dated to the late 1st century. 

B)   The Jewish Talmud also validates the death of Jesus.  It states: "On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu* [= Jesus] of Nazarath. And an announcer went out in front of him for forty days, saying: 'He is going to be stoned, because he practised sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead in his behalf.' But not having found anything in his favor, they hanged him on the eve of Passover."  The Toledoth Yeshu ( a later written manuscript) a Jewish anti-Christian writing records the empty tomb and missing body but tries to explain it away.

With eyewitness accounts on both sides- the body was gone and not in the tomb.

What then happen to the body of Jesus?

A)   Again, the consistent eyewitness testimonies of the apostles and others say that he rose from the dead then ascended to heaven with the promise of returning.

B)   A rabbi named Eliezar, writing in the late 1st century, says this: "he says he is God he is a liar. And he will lead men astray, and say that he will depart and will return at the end of days."  They were fully aware that Jesus taught he will "depart" but "will return".  Would they have stolen his body?  Of course they would have loved to have his dead body!  To disprove his third day resurrection and to prevent his bodily departure.  They would have rubbed that all in the faces of the apostles and publicly exposed them as idiots for believing Him over them.  Everyone would have seen the apostles as frauds and liars and their attempts to gain followers would not work- their creditability would be shot.  But, again, they didn't have his body.  Not to mention Jewish tradition blames the apostles for stealing Jesus' body.

Could The Apostles have stolen the body?

A)  The eyewitness accounts name drop witnesses of the resurrected Jesus.  From members of the Jewish Sanhedrin, Jewish slaves, to Roman citizens and soldiers.  All these people were made eye witnesses by Jesus appearing to them and them seeing him with their own eyes.  Their names are recorded.  They record Jesus appearing to 500 people.  And those 500 individuals are fully aware of who else they saw there with them as they all saw Jesus himself.  If the apostles stole the body in secret, how then are all these other people made eyewitnesses and their testimony made public?

B) The Jews knew Jesus taught he would rise from the dead on the 3rd day; they would then watch and keep an eye on the tomb in case the followers of Jesus tried to do something. 

C)  Grave robbing and tampering was a executable offence under Rome.  Jesus was a high profile character that caused a uproar in Jerusalem.  Everyone would have known where Jesus was buried so Rome would have ensured that the grave would not be messed with to keep any more riots and disturbances from happening because of his followers.  The tomb would have been sealed and it would have been guarded and watched by Roman guards.  The Jews didn't trust Rome so they would have kept an eye on the guards and Rome didn't trust the Jews so they would have guarded the tomb to keep the Jews from instigating riots. And neither one of them would have trusted the apostles.  So everyone would be aware and watchful of the other. 

The explosion of Faith in Jesus Christ as the Risen Son of God

Jesus was killed.  He was dead.  His body was buried.  But then his body came up missing.  These are historical facts validated by non-Christians.   Their arguments and theories as to where it went and how, do not add up and does not make sense.  But if Jesus is who he said he is than it makes perfect sense that He can do what he said he was going to do.  He did.  He made eyewitnesses of what He did as he said he was going to; those eyewitnesses became more than on-lookers but stout convinced believers!

After Jesus appeared and ascended to heaven; faith in Jesus exploded and spread throughout the region and now to the whole world. 

Easter is not about cute bunnies and colorful eggs but about the actual and historical resurrection of Jesus Christ.  His death paid for the sins of all who believe.  His blood paid the ransoms for all those who were slaves to sin that wanted freedom through him.  His resurrection brought new life to those who were made free.  He rose from the dead and defeated death, so that we might live now and forever more.  He was the Lamb of God, the perfect sinless sacrifice that atoned for the sins of all those who have faith in Him.  He was the propitiation on our account and gives us what we do not deserve; his righteousness.  We are redeemed, restored, and born again in new life with him.  THAT is Resurrection Sunday!  The world can have its bunnies and eggs; I want to celebrate the risen Christ!

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