A defining teaching

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Jesus Christ's resurrection is a defining teaching of the Bible. So let's examine it directly from Scripture, without traditions that were added later.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ formed a central part of the announcement that the apostles took to the world. Peter stated in his first recorded sermon: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it . . . 

“This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear . . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:22-36 Acts 2:22-36 [22] You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know: [23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [24] Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it. [25] For David speaks concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: [26] Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: [27] Because you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption. [28] You have made known to me the ways of life; you shall make me full of joy with your countenance. [29] Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day. [30] Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; [31] He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. [32] This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. [33] Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which you now see and hear. [34] For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, [35] Until I make your foes your footstool. [36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
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Over the next 40 days some of these men and women personally saw the resurrected Christ and heard His teaching about the Kingdom of God. They saw and accepted this as a fact that confirmed their faith and enabled them to take the gospel to the peoples of their day.

Their testimony, written in the book of Acts and the epistles of Paul, is firsthand evidence—eyewitness testimony of Christ's resurrection.

The apostle Paul showed that the resurrection is central to the Christian hope: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures . . . Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 [3] For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
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, 1 Corinthians 15:12 1 Corinthians 15:12Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
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Did it really happen?

The chief priests and Pharisees went to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to request security guards at the tomb so that Jesus' disciples would not come and steal the body to claim He had been resurrected. They remembered that Jesus said He would be raised after three days and nights in the tomb. Pilate gave them a guard detail, and the stone that had been placed in front of the tomb entrance was shut with a seal (Matthew 27:62-66 Matthew 27:62-66 [62] Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together to Pilate, [63] Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. [64] Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say to the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. [65] Pilate said to them, You have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as you can. [66] So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
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). The authorities knew this, both Roman and Jewish. Precautions were taken.

Matthew's account goes into detail to show there were eyewitnesses to an earthquake and that an angel had rolled back the stone covering the tomb entrance. The guards shook with fear to the point of being frozen into inaction (Matthew 28:2-4 Matthew 28:2-4 [2] And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. [3] His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: [4] And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
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These same guards—and keep in mind they were not Christ's disciples—went and reported what had happened, what they saw with their own eyes, to the authorities. They were bribed by the officials to keep quiet. This was a commonly known fact among the Jews for many years (Matthew 28:11-15 Matthew 28:11-15 [11] Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and showed to the chief priests all the things that were done. [12] And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money to the soldiers, [13] Saying, Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. [14] And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. [15] So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
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People knew about the resurrection of Jesus. There were multiple eyewitnesses.

Paul reported that the risen Christ was seen by all the apostles and that He was also seen by more than 500 others (1 Corinthians 15:5-8 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 [5] And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: [6] After that, he was seen of above five hundred brothers at once; of whom the greater part remain to this present, but some are fallen asleep. [7] After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. [8] And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
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)—these in turn having given eyewitness testimony to thousands!

The point is that this was not done in a corner, covered up and then dragged out to dress up an effort to create a new sect the disciples wanted to start.

Think about this. These unlearned fishermen, tax collectors and women were the least likely of people to start a new religious movement—especially one built on the story of a man who had been crucified as a criminal and then raised from the dead!

Paul makes the case to the Christians in Corinth that they have a Savior and a hope of salvation. He wanted there to be no doubt in their mind of this truth. For you and I there can be no doubt as well. “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty . . . And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:13-19 1 Corinthians 15:13-19 [13] But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: [14] And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. [15] Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. [16] For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: [17] And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. [18] Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
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Either Jesus Christ rose from the dead or He didn't. This is a deep issue of faith for a believer. Our modern world is geared to rip from our mind and heart any belief in God or that Jesus of Nazareth was the divine Son of God, sent to earth, born of a virgin, who died and was resurrected to life eternal and sits today at the right hand of God the Father, waiting for the time to return in all power and glory.

This is the most important of matters in this life for you and me to resolve!

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