What do you think of when you see a cross? For many, the cross is a symbol of Jesus’ crucifixion and his resurrection from the dead. Three days after his death, it was rumoured that Jesus’ tomb was empty. So what happened to the body? Either Jesus faked his death, the Romans or disciples stole his body from the tomb, OR Jesus actually rose from the dead. So, could Jesus have survived the crucifixion? The Romans had perfected the cruellest form of public execution in history, which included suffocation and a spear in his side (John 19:34). Surviving this would have been a miracle in and of itself!
Question to consider:
How much of your faith is shaped by the resurrection?
"If Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is useless and we are to be pitied above all people." What do you make of this statement? See 1 Corinthians 15:17-19
In the video, Jonny mentions three possible explanations for the empty tomb; Jesus faked his own death, the body was stolen, OR Jesus actually rose from the dead. We've heard a response to the first theory - crucifixion was designed to kill slowly, no one survived that kind of torture. So, if he really died, maybe the body was stolen and the disciples lied about the resurrection. Why then, would they choose women as their key witnesses (see Matthew 28:5-8)? In the first century, the word of a woman was not considered legal testimony. As for the Romans and the Jews, they both had strong motives for keeping Jesus in the grave - and yet, neither group produced the body when rumours of resurrection began to circulate. We are left then with the third theory, that Jesus really did come back from the dead and that changes everything!
If considering the resurrection of Jesus is new to you, do you find it helpful to explore these theories about what happened? Do you still have doubts or questions? If so, what are they? Write them down if that is helpful or send us an email. Last week we thought about the historical evidence for Jesus and prayed that the Holy Spirit would help us as we weighed up the evidence. The same is true here, where we can consider the case for what might have happened to Jesus, with the help of the Spirit.
If you are convinced that Jesus rose from the dead, why not try writing out the explanations of what could have happened, along with answers. Commit them to memory and allow them to give you confidence in the truth of the gospel and help you as you share your faith with others. Finally, as you read 1 Peter 1:3, pray and give thanks to God for the risen Jesus; our Living Hope.