God is not threatened by our questions, doubts, and critical spirit. From the moment Jesus said, “Repent and believe for the kingdom of God is at hand,” people placed his life under the microscope of suspicion. The miracle of the resurrection proved no exception to this rule.
Is the Resurrection Real?
No one in the ancient world thought Jesus would conquer the grave. Though we should commend the women who first arrived at the tomb for their expression of faith that first Easter morning, we should still note they arrived expecting to find a bloodied and decaying body. Luke 24:1 reported that the women walked to the tomb with “the spices they had prepared.” When they went and told the fearful disciples that Jesus was alive after encountering angels and the risen Jesus, the eleven friends of Jesus said the women’s account was “an idle tale (Lk 24:11). Though Jesus had spent much of his public ministry discussing his upcoming death and resurrection, no one believed God’s Word. Rather, they believed because they saw the empty tomb and the Jesus’s “hands and his feet.” The facts of the first Easter were historically verified Because they disciples doubted the possibility of the resurrection. The old preacher J.C. Ryle hit the easter egg on the head when he wrote,
The unbelief of the apostles is one of the strongest evidences that Jesus rose from the dead. If the disciples were at first so backward to believe our Lord’s resurrection and were at last so thoroughly persuaded of its truth that they preached it everywhere, Christ must have been risen from the dead.
If God can overcome the doubts of the apostles, he will not feel threatened by your doubts and concerns. I invite you to bring them to the tomb. Wrestle with the narratives found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Search for Jesus’s body. Look at the historical evidence in favor of the resurrection. Test and see if a man bloodied by a flogging, crucifixion, and a spear wound could remove a massive tombstone and overpower a Roman guard. Examine whether 500 people could hallucinate. See if the disciples had the weapons and skills necessary to steal the body. Come investigate the resurrection.
A Miracle Worth Believing
But do not stop there. Do not nominally agree with the miracle and then go on attempting to overcome the shame in your heart and that nagging fear of death that blinks in the back corner of your soul like a smoke detector with a low battery. You may smoother it with the pillow of good works and you may close the doors of religion behind you seeking acceptance, but death’s warning still beeps.
Instead, join the disciples and the women of the first Easter morning and believe in Jesus. Jesus explains the purpose of Easter in Luke 24:46-47 when he says,
Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
We fear death for we know we are not perfect. Though we make peace with our faults, we know in our heart of hearts that God does not. And we cannot rest peacefully at night not because of what our parents told us but because our hearts condemn us. Though we may have done many things right, we have all told a white lie, sent an angry text, or posted something on social media that we later had to remove. We have all messed up our lives, our world, and offend our neighbors.
God must deal with us. A God who sweeps sin under the rug like a parent who refuses to recognize the crimes of their drug addicted kid, pretending they have done nothing wrong, cannot be a good God. God must deal with our sin if he is good and loving.That dealing with sin results in our death.
But on the cross, Jesus dies. His gives blood, his life source, for our souls so that we might live. Jesus who was both fully God and fully man and who spent his life sharing truth, healing the sick, loving the oppressed, opposing demons, and feeding the hungry died upon the cross for our sins. This is the good news of the gospel. This is the news that should warm our hearts this Easter morning. Jesus who said he could deliver us from sin and death made good on his promise. The tomb is empty Jesus. All who believe on Jesus though they die, they too will be resurrected to eternal life. Jesus paid it all.
If you have questions about Easter, Jesus, and the Bible, I encourage you to bring them with to the tomb located in the gospels. Jesus is not threatened or put off by your doubts any more than he was stunted by the worries and unbelief of his followers that first Easter morning. He can withstand your questions. But I will warn you in advance, that your investigation may not go as planned. As the angels told the women that first Easter morning, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but he is risen!”
Christ the Lord is Risen Today!