Today is the resurrection Sunday! We greet each other saying “He is risen. He is risen indeed!” with joy and excitement. Easter is the most important day for Christians who believe in His resurrection, but Easter is not only for Christians. If Jesus is risen from the dead, it matters to all people. Tim Keller says, “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that He said; if He didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what He said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like His teaching but whether or not He rose from the dead.”
In the New Testament, there are five chapters recording the resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20 & 21). Those five chapters make the Bible different from any other book in the world. In Matthew’s account, we can see proofs of Jesus’ resurrection.
When two women came to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday morning after the Sabbath, they encountered an angel of the Lord. There was an earthquake and the heavy stone was rolled away. The angel said to the women; “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay”(Matthew 28:6). It sounds like the stone was rolled away, not to help Jesus to escape, but to show us the empty tomb. Jesus was surely dead on the cross and buried in the tomb as recorded in all four Gospels. His dead body was there, but now it was gone. All four Gospels also say the first witnesses were women. If this story was fabricated by Jesus’ followers, women would not be chosen to be the witnesses as they were not considered credible at that time.
Jesus appeared to His disciples as it is written: “And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him” (Matthew 28:9). He was not a hallucination or ghost. He was a person with a physical body that you could touch. In 1 Corinthians 15:6, Paul wrote “Jesus appeared to more than a hundred brothers at one time.” He not only rose from the dead but spent time with His disciples and others.
Followers of Christ
There is another important proof of Jesus’ resurrection. We need to look at the people who met the resurrected Jesus. After the crucifixion of Jesus, disciples were hiding behind the locked door disappointed and scared. The same disciples were radically changed once they met the resurrected Jesus. They went out and preached the good news to the fellow Israelites first, then to the Samaritans, and then to all Gentiles around the world. Many of the disciples were severely persecuted and even martyred. The only logical explanation for why they became so bold and loyal is that they knew Jesus is alive.
The empty tomb, the resurrection of Jesus, and the transformation of Christ’s followers give us hope for the future and the purpose in our life. He is inviting us to join His mission to fill this earth with His witnesses!
“The resurrection completes the inauguration of God's kingdom… It is the decisive event demonstrating that God's kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven. The message of Easter is that God's new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you're now invited to belong to it.” – N.T. Wright
He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay.