The Encourager

The Encourager

“Jesus is Alive! - by Jeff Curtis”

Jesus Is Alive!

By Jeff Curtis

Tombstones proclaim, in whatever words are inscribed, “Here lies one who lived is now deceased.” Jesus’ tomb, in contrast, was empty; it proclaimed a different message. The day Jesus died was the darkest day in history, but three days later that changed. Paul wrote that, if Jesus is still dead, then “we are of all men most to be pitied” (1Corinthians 15:19).


Upon what legitimate basis can we place our confidence in the resurrection?


The resurrection was prophesied (Matthew 28:6). It was prophesied in the Old Testament (Psa. 16:8-11; Isa. 53:10-12; Hosea 6:2), and Jesus often spoke of it Himself (Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 27:40,63; John 2:19).


The resurrection was proven (Matthew 28:7-10). It was confirmed by eyewitnesses, and the empty tomb was proof. In addition, the transformed lives of His disciples gave evidence that Jesus had risen from the dead. The church stands today as a testimony to our risen Lord.


The resurrection was received with skepticism (Matthew 28:11-17). In spite of the proofs, from the beginning people doubted. Many efforts have been made to explain away the resurrection.


After Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried the body of Jesus in Joseph’s tomb, they went home to prepare for the Sabbath. If that was the end of the story, we would have every reason to be sad – because we would be living in a world without hope. Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth about the resurrection (1Corinthians 15:19). Why? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, our faith and our preaching are in vain, the apostles and others who said they saw Jesus alive after His resurrection were all liars, we are still in our sins, those who died in the Lord have perished, and this world is still without a Savior (1Corinthians 15:14-18). To the contrary, Paul asserted, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (1Corinthians 15:20). In other passages he tells us that Jesus “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4).


The day Jesus died was literally and figuratively the darkest day in human history. Even those closest to Him didn’t believe they would ever see Him again. His disciples went into hiding in an upper room somewhere in Jerusalem (John 20:19). They didn’t really believe that He would return to life, even though they had seen Him raise others from the dead. However, on the first day of the week, all of that changed as reports began to circulate that His body was missing from the tomb. One by one his followers began to share amazing stories of having seen Him alive. Some walked with Him, talked with Him, and even ate with Him. It soon became evident that these were not the reports of a few fanatical followers hallucinating because of their deep grief. Jesus was really alive. That one fact dramatically changed everything.


What difference does the resurrection make? It makes an eternal difference in the lives of those who believe and accept it.