The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.”
The most convincing piece of evidence for the resurrection is the empty tomb. The body of Jesus has not been discovered in 2,000 years. That is a historical fact. So what happened to it?
Matthew 28:5-6 says, “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.’” Why didn’t the women find Jesus’s body? Maybe they accidentally went to the wrong tomb. Well, if they went to the wrong grave, then Peter and John and all the apostles went to the wrong grave. Now wouldn’t you think that at that point Joseph of Arimathea, who was still alive, would say, “Hey, guys, here is the tomb that I loaned for Jesus to be buried in; it’s over here”? But let’s say even Joseph of Arimathea got confused about where the tomb was. Don’t you think the Roman officials and the Jewish officials would have said, “You idiots, come over here. The body is right here”? But they didn’t say that. It is not credible to say that the women went to the wrong tomb.
Well, maybe Jesus’s body was stolen. If that were true, then who stole it? Could it have been the Roman officials or the Jewish authorities? Not on your life. Matthew 27:65 says Pilate set a “guard,” or 16 Roman soldiers, to make Jesus’s grave secure. And along with the guard they sealed the grave with a large stone. They went to every length possible to make sure the body did not move so that nobody could claim a resurrection had taken place. No, the Roman officials and Jewish authorities didn’t steal the body.
Well, maybe the apostles stole Jesus’s body. That’s even more ridiculous. Remember what happened on Friday afternoon? All Jesus’s apostles had deserted him except for John. They were scared to death. You think suddenly in a couple of hours they got the courage to go to that grave, defeat an entire Roman guard, steal the body of Jesus, and perpetrate the lie that He had been raised from the dead? Why would they do that? Why would they willingly be beaten, tortured, and almost every one of them executed for their faith in a lie?
These apostles were transformed from cowards to courageous defenders of the faith for one reason only: they saw the resurrected Christ. When you add up all the evidence, the only plausible answer is Christ has risen, just as He said. That is the truth of the resurrection.
Now the question is: So what? What does the fact that Christ was raised from the dead 2,000 years ago mean to you and me? His resurrection proves that we have been declared not guilty. And because Jesus conquered the grave, one day you and I who trust in Him for salvation will also conquer the grave. The tomb is empty. Jesus Christ has conquered death, and so shall we.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Easter: Fact or Fantasy?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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