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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jesus IS Alive (Jesus Is Resurrected: What It Means)

The Bible is a history book.  Even non-believing historians acknowledge that the Bible is the most historically accurate book ever written.  With that in mind, this historically accurate book says that Jesus—this real human being—died and rose again.

Skeptics accept that Jesus died.  They accept that the tomb was empty.  They accept that He was seen alive again.  They accept all of this as fact.  Skeptics try to explain away these facts, but they do not question the authenticity of them.  They have yet to present a single shred of proof that it did not happen.  All evidence says that it did.

I’m through trying to prove Jesus.  Christianity isn’t about following some entity blindly.  The proof is there for all see.  In his book The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel writes that “Christianity can stand up to rational analysis and rugged scrutiny…(as)…no discovery has ever disproved a biblical reference.”  The burden of proof now lies with the skeptic who insists on fighting the resurrection.  We move on to a much larger issue: What does it all mean?

The resurrection is the centerpiece of the Christian faith.  It is impossible to not believe the resurrection and be a Christian.  There is no maybe.  There is no middle ground.  If you don’t believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, you’re not a ChristianPerry Noble.

If Jesus does not return to life on the third day, Christianity ceases to exist.  The disciples were scattered.  Hiding.  Afraid for their lives.  There was no intention to continue Jesus’s mission.  Even if there was, who would listen?  Everyone would point to the tomb and say, “Your leader is dead!!  What makes your message so special?”

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that “if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.”  If Jesus stays dead, the New Testament is never written.  Christianity doesn’t become the most-followed religion in the world two thousand years later.  Jesus doesn’t become the most famous man in history.

If Jesus only died, a few billion people today would not worship him.  Two men were crucified with Jesus, and people aren’t trying to figure out more about their life.  We know nothing of those men.  We don’t even know their names.  Why?  They died.  Jesus rose.  That made him distinct and uniqueMark Driscoll.

Jesus did rise, and His resurrection is arguably the greatest proof we have that He is who He said He is: God.  Man can kill man.  Man cannot kill God.  Matt Perman writes, “If He is God, He speaks with absolute certainty and final authority.  Therefore, what Jesus said about the Bible must be true.  Surely you are going to accept the testimony of one who rose from the dead over the testimony of a skeptical scholar who will one day die himself—without being able to raise himself on the third day.”

Why is Christ’s resurrection so important?  Because it validates everything He told us, including, “Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:26).  Jesus promises us life.  A gift we don’t deserve.  Adam and Eve were never intended to die.  Sin brought death into the world.

The price of sin is death.  Since we are all sinners, we have a debt to pay.  However, Jesus—the only human to never sin—gave His life for us.  He paid that debt for us.  The flogging across His back?  The nails in His wrists and feet?  The spear in His side?  That is the punishment that you and I deserve for our sins.  That is how much God detests sin.

But as much as God loathes sin, He loves us infinitely more.  He loves you and me so much that He was willing to put His Son through all of that pain and anguish so that we didn’t have to (1 John 4:10).  Jesus loves you and me so much that He willingly suffered to that extent.

His death was in our place, solely for our benefit, and without benefit for himself.  He took the penalty for our sins so that we don’t have to suffer that penalty.  The wrath of God that should’ve fallen on us and the death that our sins merit instead fell on JesusDriscoll.

Jesus rose again to show us that death is not the end (Revelation 21:4).  Christians follow Christ.  We follow Him to the cross.  We follow Him into death.  And through Him, we follow into eternal life (1 Thessalonians 4:14).  We celebrate the resurrection because it is a celebration of our promised resurrection.  Perry Noble writes, “The end of our lives on Earth is the end of a chapter, not the end of everything.”

Imagine a life without fear.  We do not need to fear death.  You have life because of Jesus.  This is a gift He has given to you for no other reason than He loves you.  It’s not because you did something that impressed Him.  It’s not because you’re a better person than the guy or girl next to you.  It’s not because you avoid rated R movies and violent video games.  It is simply because Christ loves you this much.  All you have to do is accept that gift.  Accept His sacrifice.  Accept His love.

If you have never done so, and you want to know more—or you’re ready to do so now—please contact me.  Message me here or on Facebook.  We’ll talk it out.  We can meet somewhere and do it that way if you prefer, but don’t let another second go by without knowing this love.  This peace.  This joy.

I know that John 3:16 is an overused, clich√© verse, but read it again with fresh eyes and a new heart.  Let the words—the meaning of the words—truly sink in for the first time.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

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