Jesus, on at least four occasions in the Gospels, told his disciples that he was going to Jerusalem where he would die and then rise again. Here’s how Mark 10:33 records Jesus’ words, “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” And yet, in spite of his clear teaching, the disciples had a hard time grasping the fact that Jesus would die on the Cross for their sins and then rise again from the dead three days later. Mark 9:32 points out that, “They didn’t understand what he was saying, and they were afraid to ask him.” 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is, without question, one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith. The Apostle Paul pointed this out in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile (empty) and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

Many people accept that Jesus died on the Cross, but there are many who question whether he actually rose from the dead. They have a problem with the “Empty Tomb.” They would say that it is just a story that his followers made up, a myth. Here’s one reason to consider that it’s not a story, but rather a historical fact. 

In the Gospel accounts we see that the first witnesses to the empty tomb were women. In Matthew 28:1-8 it says, “Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.’ So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.”

In that time a woman’s testimony could not even be used in a court of law. You can be sure that if the Resurrection was a story made up by the disciples, they would nor have used women to be the first witnesses to the empty tomb, including Mary Magdalene who was the first to see Jesus alive. Countless lives have been transformed by the risen Christ, from the early disciples to people like the brilliant, Oxford-educated and one time atheist, C.S. Lewis. It behooves us, as well, to consider the evidence for the Resurrection. Perhaps your life will be transformed by Him as, well!

Why not join with us as we gather on Rocky Hill for the Community Sunrise Service to celebrate our risen Savior this Sunday morning at 6:15 a.m.? There will be singing, a brief message from God’s Word and the spectacular beauty of the sun rising over the Sierras as we gather around the Cross.

Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of area churches. 

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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