But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words (Luke 24:1-8)
All of Christianity is summed up in one verifiable historical event. And this event changes everything. Jesus of Nazareth, a maverick Jewish rabbi and prophet, who claimed to be the Messiah that the ancient Hebrew Scriptures foretold, was arrested, condemned in an illegal trial and crucified. A Roman soldier had pierced Jesus' side with a legionnaire"s spear and blood & water flowed from the wound bearing testimony to the final collapse of our Savior's lungs. He was
Days after his body had been prepared and placed in a sealed tomb, some women went back to that very same tomb and found the Roman seal broken, the stone rolled away, and Jesus body had mysteriously dissaperaed. The vertex soldiers who had stood guard, keeping the Governors seal intact, had fled in fear of something greater than the certain knowledge that their lives would be forfeit for abandoning their posts.
Soon after that day, over 500 people gave eyewitness testimony to having seen Jesus, the very same man whom everyone knew had been killed upon Golgotha's height, alive, visibly resurrected from the dead! Others claimed to have seen him ascend into heaven before their astonished eyes. Most of these witnesses were still alive at the time of the writing of the four Gospel accounts of Jesus life, ministry and final vindication. If the words of this "Good News" were not true, any one of those witnesses could have easily refuted the Gospel writers.
Those who committed to following Jesus early on gained no visible benefit from following him, no wealth or power or earthly possessions. Rather, many of them were themselves beaten, stoned, tortured and crucified. Yet Christianity has persisted on through the relentless march of centuries and is experiencing explosive new growth in our own day.
And finally, because we know that this account of Jesus' death and resurrection is factual, we can also know that his promises are completely certain. The innocent Lamb of God who died as a criminal in order to pay the price to redeem us from our sins has risen from the dead and is even now preparing a place for us. One day, we will be made alive again with him and join him in festal celebration for all eternity.
He has risen, he has risen indeed!