February 25, 2001
Witnesses to the Resurrection
KEY VERSE: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations. . . . And ye are witnesses of these things. --Luke 24:47-48
Skeptics doubt the resurrection of Jesus. They stop short of the empty tomb and suppose that the cross is actually the end of the story. Then without a risen Savior they try to construct a Christianity built on the wise teachings of Jesus. He was a good and humble man worthy of being studied along with other great religious prophets and teachers.
But without the resurrection the Christian faith is a farce. The New Testament is filled with myths and fairy tales. The Christians who died a martyrís death in the first century were victims of a huge hoax. And Christís promise of eternal life to his followers has no meaning for any of us who believe.
But thanks be to God, we do not have to accept the word of skeptics. We can accept the New Testament as a faithful record of reliable facts. Jesus lived. He died on the cross. He was buried in a borrowed tomb on Friday. On Sunday an angel sent by God rolled the stone away. God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus appeared to his disciples and assured them that he was indeed alive.
He calmed their fears and gave them his peace. He showed them the wounds in his hands and his feet. He ate broiled fish and a piece of a honeycomb with them. He explained to them how the events of his life had fulfilled the prophecies of Scripture. He helped them understand why he had to suffer and die, and then be raised from the dead.
He called them together and commissioned them to preach the gospel in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. He impressed upon the disciples that they were to be witnesses of his life, his teachings, his death, and his resurrection.
Jesus admonished them to wait until they had received the power of the Holy Spirit who would enable them to proclaim the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth.
All this happened as the Bible says it did. It is true, absolutely true. Because those first century disciples believed it, and were faithful witnesses to the gospel, the church of the living God has spread across the world. Now in these days it is our turn to believe and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be faithful witnesses to the gospel. In doing so we are empowered by the strengthening presence of the risen Savior.
Thatís how I see it. What about you?