The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central point of Christianity, and has been since the earliest days of the faith. Followers of Christianity do not have to take the bodily resurrection of Jesus on faith alone, says Dr. Jeremiah Johnston.
“The claim that Jesus was truly resurrected assumed a heavy burden of proof. What persuaded Jesus’ followers to speak of Jesus’ resurrection was their conviction that Jesus had died, had been buried in a known place, and had exited that place,” he says. “These factors, in combination with His appearances, convinced His followers that Jesus was indeed the bodily resurrected messiah.”
Early believers had little to gain in their society and everything to lose for believing in the risen Lord. Jesus was a pariah in both Roman and Jewish cultures. Yet, His resurrection gave proof that He was Lord, and that followers of Christ could experience eternal life as well. John 14:19: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
Johnston says, “I have great news for you today. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and He lives, and there are great evidences for that belief.”
He advises that 1) we must recover a resurrection-centric faith, 2) we should refresh our minds with evidence of the resurrection, and 3) we should recommit to live the mission of the resurrection.
“No matter what life throws at you, the resurrection promises that God is a God of new beginnings,” Johnston says. “The resurrection changes everything.”
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to disciples and followers changed the course of history, and Christianity continues to influence the world for good. The hope that is found through Jesus is the basis for the Gospel. Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (I Corinthians 15:14). He goes on to say, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20).
“Wherever you’re at, I pray this program equips you with evidence for the faith,” says Johnston. “Let the power of the resurrection fuel you this Christmas season to be bold for your faith.”