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Did Jesus really come back from the dead?

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ was most certainly resurrected from the dead. We can find the eyewitness accounts of His resurrection in Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; and John 20:1–21:25. Acts 1:1-11 tells of the resurrected Christ appearing before His disciples, teaching them more about the kingdom of God and promising the arrival of the Holy Spirit. In the apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church, he states that the resurrected Lord had appeared to more than 500 people, many of whom were still alive at the time he was writing the letter (1 Corinthians 15:6).

What other evidence shows that Jesus came back to life after His crucifixion?

An Empty Tomb & Many Witnesses

After Jesus' body was taken down from the cross, they prepared it with aromatics and wrappings, then laid it to rest in a sealed tomb (John 19:38-42). This tomb was slightly underground, and a giant stone was rolled over the entrance to ward off thieves. Three days later, the tomb was discovered open...and empty. Sure, it's possible a group of people could have moved that enormous stone. After all, Mary Magdalene suspected that someone had stolen Jesus' body and ran to get the disciples (John 20:1-2). But why would thieves neatly fold all the death cloths and remove the body without a sign (John 20:5-7)? Surely any thieves would have desecrated the tomb to make their point.

Mary and the men they didn't understand that Jesus had come back to life, and the disciples left her there to weep (John 20:8-10). In her grief, Mary must not have recognized the angels who appeared, declaring that Jesus had risen from the dead as He'd promised (Matthew 28:5-7). But soon Jesus Himself walked up to Mary, proving that He was indeed alive! (See John 20.) Over the next 40 days, Jesus appeared to many, many more people (Matthew 28:5, 9, 16-17; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:13-35; John 20:19, 24, 26-29, 21:1-14; Acts 1:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:5-7).

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." —John 21:25

The Disciples: a 180 Attitude Change

Jesus' disciples were a bit scattered and frightened after the Lord's crucifixion. They were actually in hiding when the risen Christ first appeared to them (John 20:19-20). They quickly became strong and courageous witnesses, sharing the gospel everywhere they went.

The book of Acts records much of what the disciples did so fearlessly to spread the news about their risen Lord. What else would give them such renewed bravery and strength other than seeing Jesus appear alive and well before their eyes, confirming that He truly was the living God?

Paul: from Persecutor to Apostle

The apostle Paul is known as one of the greatest Christian missionaries. His inspired writings are responsible for a huge portion of the New Testament. But did you know that he used to be one of THE most zealous persecutors of Christians and the Christian church? He admits in Galatians 1:13, "How intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it."

In those days, his name was Saul. On his way to Damascus, where he planned to arrest more Christians, something caused Saul to make one of the most dramatic changes of character in recorded church history (Acts 9:1-9; 22:6-11; 26:12-18). He changed his name and became a passionate proponent of the Christian faith (Acts 14:19; 16:22-24; 2 Corinthians 11:25-26). What could have made him change his life's goal and purpose so radically? Let's hear it directly from Paul's account to King Agrippa:

"I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? ...'

"And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?'"

"And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'" —Acts 26:12-18

What Jesus' Resurrection Means

The disciples' emphasis on the resurrected Christ became THE pivotal proof that Jesus was exactly who He said He was. 1 Corinthians 15 does an excellent job explaining why the Christian faith hinges completely upon believing in the risen Lord. Here's a breakdown:

  1. If Jesus didn't come back from the dead, believers won't either (1 Corinthians 15:12-15).
  2. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, His sacrifice for sin was not sufficient to cover the sins of the world (1 Corinthians 15:16-19).
  3. If Jesus had died and stayed dead, it would mean that God rejected Jesus' sacrifice.

But Jesus DID come back to life! His resurrection proved that His death was accepted by God as the atonement for our sins. Now believers are forgiven for their sins, and they will NOT stay dead after their bodies stop (1 Corinthians 15:16-19, 24-34). And now we are assured that there IS such thing as eternal life (John 3:16).

A Promise of Resurrection

"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." —1 Corinthians 15:56-57

The Bible tells us that, just as Jesus was risen from the dead, believers will also have victory over death, as we will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 says, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

Every person has an opportunity to be a part of this glorious transformation. All you must do is believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised from the dead, proof that God accepted His sacrifice on your behalf (Romans 10:9-10). When you accept this truth, then your heart is made new, and as you live your life for Jesus, you'll experience spiritual renewal, according to God's will (2 Corinthians 5:17-19). After physical death, you will be raised in glory as an everlasting son or daughter of the Creator of the Universe in eternity (Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 6:4-5).

TL;DR

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. We can find the eyewitness accounts of His resurrection throughout the New Testament. The dramatically changed lives of Jesus' disciples and later of the apostle Paul are evidences that something significant happened which strengthened their faith in Jesus to incredible depths. Jesus' resurrection proved that His death was accepted by God as the atonement for our sins. Believers are now assured forgiveness for their sins, promised spiritual resurrection, and can confirm there IS such thing as eternal life.

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.


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