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Infallible proofs of Jesus’ resurrection (I)

Each time I hear any controversy over whether Jesus actually died on the cross or not or whether he actually resurrected or not, I always tell people that such a controversy is not anything new. It is understandable if people in our day express such doubts because even those who lived in the day of Jesus did exactly that.

The Scripture above tells us the situation at the time Jesus resurrected, a time when the incident was still fresh. Though Jesus resurrected and showed himself to different people, some still doubted. Isn’t that a surprise? These were people who lived in the day of Jesus Christ. They saw Jesus physically alive after he had been killed and buried yet they doubted his resurrection. Even Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples doubted until Jesus revealed himself to him. “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’  Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:24-29 NKJV) 

It is easier for us today to call Thomas “Doubting Thomas” but there is no guarantee that we would have fared better if we were in his shoes. Once Jesus showed himself to Thomas who wasn’t with the group when he had appeared to the other disciples earlier, Thomas believed. I believe Jesus appeared again to the disciples when Thomas was there so that none of the remaining eleven disciples (excluding Judas who anyway had committed suicide) would come up with “a minority report” – a testimony that would contradict that of others about the genuineness of the resurrection story. Church history says that Thomas later went to India where he did a powerful ministry. 

 

Why would those who recognized the Jesus who was killed still doubt his resurrection having seen him alive thereafter? I believe that the effort of the religious leaders to discredit Jesus’ resurrection by bribing the guards at the tomb contributed to the doubts many people had. “As the women were on their way into the city, some of the men who had been guarding the tomb went to the leading priests and told them what had happened. A meeting of all the religious leaders was called, and they decided to bribe the soldiers. They told the soldiers, ‘You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you and everything will be all right.’ So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.” (Matt 28:11-15 NLT) Did you see that? The propaganda of the religious leaders who conspired to kill Jesus was very pervasive and some people, no doubt, believed their story.

But any sensible person would know that the story they asked the soldiers to tell lacked credibility. How could all the soldiers specifically posted to guard the tomb have slept at the same time? This is against the backdrop of the fact that the reason they were posted there was to forestall the alleged plot of the disciples of Jesus to steal his corpse and lie about his resurrection.  “The next day — on the first day of the Passover ceremonies — the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, ‘Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will be raised from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he came back to life! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.’ Pilate replied, ‘Take guards and secure it the best you can.’ So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.” (Matt 27:62-66 NLT)

With this awareness of the possible theft of his body, was it possible for professional soldiers to have all slept the same time?  Were they posted there to sleep or to prevent his body from being stolen? Let’s even assume that they all slept at the same time. How did they know that it was Jesus’ disciples that came during the night to steal his body? Did they see the disciples in their dream while they were sleeping? I’m sure the governor, Pilate, knew the truth of what happened having, in the first instance, released Jesus to them reluctantly to kill; he had confessed that he was innocent of the charges against him.

Jesus rose from the dead! Hallelujah! He left many infallible proofs after his resurrection. He didn’t ascend to heaven in a hurry. He took his time! He appeared to those who would testify to the authenticity of his resurrection.  The writer of the Book of Acts writes, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:1-3 NKJV)

Unfortunately, there were many at the time of Jesus’ resurrection who chose to believe the lie that he didn’t resurrect. That lie still persists today in some quarters. The early apostles had to contend with that propaganda and that was why their preaching put emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus. 

Next week, by the grace of God, I shall be discussing these infallible proofs that Jesus actually resurrected. I hope that if you’re one of the doubters you will change your mind and believe. But if you choose not to, you won’t be doing anything strange as I have said. But it won’t be wise because you’ll, unfortunately, be joking with your salvation. I pray you’ll be wise not only to believe that Jesus resurrected but to accept him as your Lord and your Saviour. 

 

TAKE ACTION!

If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: “O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.” 

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.

 

 

 

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