The resurrection of Jesus is, as stated last time, the cornerstone of Christianity; therefore, we will spend a few more weeks considering this vitally important doctrine.
Jesus didn’t merely say He had power over death, He demonstrated it. I love the story of Jesus raising a poor widow’s son from the dead (See Luke 7). They were carrying him out for burial, but Jesus stopped the procession, walked over to the casket of the young man, and said, “Rise!” The young man immediately sat up and was restored to his mother. Can you imagine the effect on that little village? Can you imagine how utterly astounded the people would have been?
Or think of Lazarus (See John 11). He had been dead for four days and his body had already begun to decompose. Suddenly Jesus arrives, but it seems that He’s too late. Martha says, Lord, what took You so long? If You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.
And Jesus answers, “He will live again.”
“Oh, I know that,” Martha responds. “I know he’ll live again at the resurrection on the last day, but what about now? What about my pain and grief today?”
Jesus looks at her and says, “Martha.” I imagine He said it like this: “Martha, I am the resurrection.” The resurrection is not merely an event, it’s a Person! Jesus was saying, “Martha, the resurrection will happen because of who I am.” Perhaps you know the rest of the story. Jesus cries with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” And that is exactly what he did. That’s history, that’s fact.
The ultimate proof that Jesus is the resurrection and the life was His own resurrection from the dead. He had said that the resurrection would prove His claim that He was the Savior of the world. When He drove the money changers out of the temple and they challenged His right to do such a thing, He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). John tells us that He spoke this concerning His body. The resurrection is the great sign, the final proof that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the only unique Son of God!
The skeptic might ask: How do we know the resurrection really happened? Isn’t it possible that the apostles fabricated the resurrection? Well, that is a possibility, but it’s not a probability. I say this for three reasons. First, the resurrection was predicted in the Jewish Scriptures long before it ever happened. David declared in Psalm 16:10 that the Messiah’s soul would not be kept in Hades nor would His body undergo corruption, or more literally, “decay.” God, speaking through Isaiah the prophet, said:
Therefore I will divide Him [Christ] a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many. Isaiah 53:12
What Jesus Himself Said
Jesus Himself said, “The Son of Man is going to Jerusalem. The chief priests and scribes are going to mock Him, scourge Him, beat Him, crucify Him, kill Him, and three days later, He’s going to rise again” (See Mark 10:33–34).
Over and over Jesus said these things, so much so that when He died and was buried, the religious leaders went to Pilate and warned him, “That deceiver said, … ‘After three days I will rise again’” (Matthew 27:63). Jesus even said that Jonah’s experience in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights was a prophecy of what He would experience, being in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (See Matthew 12:39– 41). The promise of the Messiah’s resurrection was woven into the fabric of the Jewish Scriptures.