Matthewby Mike Raiter
How can we be sure that the foundation of the Christian faith is a solid one? How can we be sure that Jesus is God's Son and the world's Saviour? How can we be confident of our eternal destiny? The answer is the resurrection.
On the Sunday morning after Jesus' death, two women, both named Mary, go to the tomb (v. 1). Nobody expected Jesus to rise from the dead. The last we heard of the disciples was in Matthew 26:56, when ″all the disciples deserted him and fled″.
″Suddenly″ (v. 2 NLT) everything changes, forever. After an earthquake, an angel appears with the momentous news, ″He is not here . . .″ (v. 6). Matthew then gives us three reasons why we can believe in the truth of the resurrection.
First, ″He has risen, just as he said″ (v. 6). Jesus told His followers repeatedly that He would rise from the dead (Matthew 16:21; 17:9, 23; 20:19; 26:32; 27:63). Jesus never lies and He has the power to accomplish whatever He promises. We have seen these truths demonstrated repeatedly throughout the gospel.
Second, Jesus met them (v. 9). Jesus knew we would not believe the women's testimony alone. Thus He appeared, not just to the women, but also to the disciples and many others, again and again. They physically touched Him and spoke with Him (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:13-43; John 20:19-29; Acts 1:3-11; 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7).
Thirdly, Matthew describes the lie the Jewish leaders were spreading, that Jesus' body had been stolen (v. 13). It should have been the easiest thing in the world for them to disprove the resurrection: just produce His corpse. But they couldn't, because the tomb was empty.
There was no way that, following torture and execution, Jesus could have just revived in the tomb and then appeared in perfect health before others. Nor was it possible that the disciples had simply stolen the body. Nor could it be that they merely believed He had risen metaphorically. No, Jesus said He would rise from the dead. He appeared before many people. He conquered death and rose bodily from the tomb.
By raising Jesus from the dead, God has spoken. Jesus said He was the Son of God. Now, God says, ″Yes! He's my Son.″ Jesus had said that He was the Saviour of the world. Now God says, ″Yes, I forgive your sins because my Son died for you.″ Since this is true, there is nothing more important than for every single person to follow the risen Lord Jesus.
Do you think it would have made a difference to our faith if Jesus had not risen from the dead?
What excuses have you heard people give for not believing in the resurrection of Jesus?