Can a person be raised from the dead?
Has that ever happened? Is it even in the realm of possibility?
The answer is the key to Easter.
Almost everyone acknowledges that Jesus Christ walked the Earth about two thousand years ago. Many of those who deny His deity (that He was the Son of God and a part of the Trinity), still recognize that He lived. Most, including the Muslims, believe Jesus was a good teacher and perhaps a prophet.
We all know the story of what happened to Jesus. The Bible tells us that Mary, a virgin, gave birth to Him and he lived in relative obscurity in Egypt and parts of Israel.
At age 30, Jesus began His public ministry. His first miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana.
News of this miraculous teacher spread quickly and Jesus developed quite a following over the course of his three-year ministry. He recruited 12 disciples, men who were his closest confidants. One of them, Judas, would betray him and another, Peter, would deny Him three times (following his arrest by the Romans).
A week before the death of Jesus, He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and He was cheered by the crowds, who thought He was the “conquering Messiah.”
Instead, Jesus Christ was the “suffering Messiah.”
The Jewish religious leaders feared Jesus because they thought He was gaining more influence than them. Their theocratic stance was threatened and they were ready to commit murder to preserve the status quo.
Jesus was betrayed by Judas and severely beaten before a mock trial. He was not found guilty of any crime by the Jews or the Romans and yet he was sentenced to death on a cross.
Dying on a cross was a horrible way to end a life. It involved great suffering. Jesus willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice as a propitiation (or payment) for sin.
When Adam, the first man sinned, that sinful nature was passed down all of his descendants. God is a loving God but He is also righteous and holy. God will not allow sin in Heaven, so Jesus was sent to be a sacrifice to save mankind.
Any man or woman who will trust in Jesus can become a Christian or be saved. There is nothing you can do – no good deeds – that can accomplish what Jesus did on the cross.
Just as prophesied in the Old Testament, Jesus died on the cross. He was wrapped in burial clothes and laid in a borrowed tomb.
But that is not the end of the story.
On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrected Jesus appeared to His disciples and a host of people in Jerusalem. Then, Jesus ascended into Heaven where He sits at the right hand of God and intercedes on our behalf.
Easter revolves around the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It’s not about Easter eggs or bunny rabbits or ham dinners. It’s about the hope for mankind that comes from having a living Savior.
So, can someone be raised from the dead?
Science tells us no. Books have been written about how Jesus was “not really dead” but in a trance. That doesn’t make sense because a Roman soldier pierced His side with a sword to prove He was dead. If Jesus had shown signs of life, they would have broken both of his legs to speed his death.
If you base all you belief on science, you must conclude that Jesus did not come back to life. And if He is not alive, then Christians are wasting their time worshiping a dead Messiah.
God created this world. The intricacy and detail in our planet and its inhabitants were not accidents. More and more secular scientists are coming to the conclusion that the world was designed and that requires a Designer (God). This has spawned the theory of “intelligent design.”
If you buy the premise that God created the universe and the Earth, why is it so far-fetched that He could bring someone back from the dead?
This is a point where Christianity separates from all other religions in the world. No one thinks Buddha is alive. Muslims don’t claim that Mohammed is alive. Confucius didn’t come back to life.
The people who followed Jesus would not have submitted to be martyred if they knew that the resurrection was a lie. No, they died knowing that Jesus is alive.
This is the great hope. When we die in this life, we have eternal life in Heaven with God because of what Jesus did. We will be reunited with friends and loved ones who have passed on.
Jesus told one of the thieves who was being crucified on a cross next to Him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
That is the promise of a Living Savior.
Easter would be a great time to make sure you are headed down that narrow path.