Redemption Hill will offer two worship services this coming Easter Sunday: 9:00 am and 11:00 am as we celebrate the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST.
John 20:1 says, “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.”
The first proof of the resurrection was the empty tomb.
Josh McDowell has provided great background detail to the tomb. He said:
“A Roman guard of strictly disciplined men was stationed to guard the tomb. Fear of punishment produced flawless attention to duty, especially in the night watches. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, a stamp of Roman power and authority.
“The seal was meant to prevent vandalizing. Anyone trying to remove the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.”
In his book, The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell wrote of the theories that have been advanced in an effort to show that the resurrection of JESUS was a fraud. Here are the theories:
1. The wrong tomb theory. Advocated by Kirsopp Lake, he declared the followers of JESUS went to the wrong tomb. But, as McDowell stated, If this theory was true, then Jewish authorities would have led them to the proper tomb in order to squelch any rumor of JESUS’ resurrection.
2. The swoon theory. This theory was proposed by a person by the name of Venturini several centuries ago. He claimed JESUS never died, but rather passed out of fatigue and blood loss. Someone on site gave him CPR, and so he was resuscitated.
3. The stolen body theory. Someone proposed that the disciples stole the body of JESUS while the guards slept, and then they announced his resurrection. This theory, as McDowell claims, would render these godly disciples to be blatant hypocrites.
4. The twin brother theory. JESUS, according to one source, had a twin brother. When JESUS died and was buried, this twin brother showed up to pay his respects. When the disciples saw him and heaped adulation upon him, this person acknowledged himself to the be resurrected LROD in order to receive all of the praise and adoration.
In responding to these theories, when one seeks to verify the truth of a claim (in this case the resurrection), he/she must have evidence.
For the disciples, they didn’t have to look for evidence. The evidence, the resurrected JESUS, came to them!
John 20: 19-20 says, “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, JESUS came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the LORD.”
Need further evidence? Look no further than I Corinthians 15. The resurrected JESUS was seen by Cephas (vs. 5), the 12 disciples (vs. 5), 500 persons at the same time (vs. 6), James (vs. 7), the apostles (vs. 7), and by Paul (vs. 8).
What is the proof of the resurrection? The tomb was empty. JESUS appeared to his followers.
We will gather this Easter Sunday as followers of JESUS to celebrate His resurrection. As the angel said to Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary,” “He is not here; for He is risen.” Praise GOD!! JESUS is alive!!