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Matthew 28:1-6-1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

The women were invited to “Come and See” the place where His body had been to prove to them that Jesus had risen from the dead. There was a lot of evidence for the Resurrection that a person could “come and see.” A violent earthquake was something that had to have been felt. The fact that Matthew recorded it tells me he felt it, or the women felt it, or many felt it.  It’s described here as violent, so it had to have been experienced by several people.

The stone had been moved, so clearly something had happened. It was very heavy, so it wasn’t easily moved. The women weren’t the only ones to see the angel at the tomb. Roman guards were there, and they basically fainted when everything went down. 

A reading of the account from John’s gospel, in chapter 20, reports that the grave clothes Jesus had been wearing, the linen strips that had been around His body and His head, were lying in the same position they had been in when Jesus had been placed in the tomb. The only plausible explanation is that His body simply passed through those grave clothes.

John 20:8 tells us that when John went into the tomb and saw the evidence of the grave clothes, he believed. He saw the evidence, and he believed.

What other evidence is worth a look?  Well, the guarding of Jesus’ tomb was a big deal. It’s talked about in Matthew 27. His tomb was sealed by the heavy stone which would require several people to move it in or out of place. It was a physical barrier for Jesus’ followers.

The tomb was also secured by a Roman seal, a symbol of human authority. The guards knew their very lives and at the minimum, their livelihoods, would be on the line, if that seal was broken. That Roman seal carried legal authority. 

In addition to a physical barrier and the barrier of legal authority, there were the soldiers themselves, human barriers, who would have been fully equipped with swords, shields, spears, daggers and whatever else they had at their disposal. They were going to guard the tomb with every ounce of strength and military prowess they possessed.

There is a lot more evidence that can’t be dismissed. Jesus appeared multiple times to many people. Twelve times to be exact. His followers claim to have seen Him alive and not for a short time, but repeatedly over 40 days. They didn’t just have a dream about Him or a vision of Him. They touched Him. They talked to Him. They ate with Him. In Luke 24, Jesus took a post-Resurrection walk with two of His disciples. In one of the Jesus-sightings, there were 500 people who saw Him.

There is tremendous historical evidence, extra-biblical evidence, that most, if not all of the apostles, were killed for their witness. By extra biblical, I mean people outside of the Bible writers, wrote about those happenings. Why would so many people undergo tremendous suffering for a lie? If the Resurrection had been a hoax, there is no way they would have given their lives to continue to tell the story!

What about the conversion of Paul? Read the books of Acts. He vehemently opposed Jesus’ followers. Paul persecuted the early church. He was glad for them to be killed. He lived to make life hard for Christians. He was committed to stamping out the Jesus movement…until he met the Resurrected Christ for himself. This is weighty evidence, friends.

“Before we can reason the resurrection out of history we must reason Paul and Christianity out of existence. We must admit the miracle or frankly confess that we stand before an inexplicable mystery.”—Dr Philip Schaff

The only explanation for Paul’s conversion, devotion to preaching the Gospel and the writing of much of the New Testament is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The fact that Christianity spread so quickly should be further proof to us all. There was an explosion of growth as people began to believe in Jesus for salvation. Be reminded, that the growth happened in the very place where He died. Wouldn’t people have been trying to distance themselves from Jesus out of fear that they would be Rome’s or the Jewish religious leaders’ next targets?

Some of the greatest evidence for the Resurrection, in my opinion, began even before the crucifixion. Jesus prophesied about His death and resurrection three times. (Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23 and 20:17-19.) How could He have predicted what would happen and then somehow control the place and manner in which He would die? Those who sought to kill Him wouldn’t have catered to His wishes. They wouldn’t have wanted to help His cause. He wasn’t in cahoots with His enemies, and yet He foretold what would happen to Him, and all happened as He said it would.

You may know that there are prophecies in the Old Testament about the manner in which Jesus would die. They were written down hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth. Did you know that crucifixion wasn’t even a thing at the time in which those prophecies were written? Those prophecies were recorded at a time when no one had ever seen a crucifixion. Enter that into the evidence for Jesus being Who He said He was.

How much evidence does a person need to believe that Jesus rose from the dead?

Paul said this in I Corinthians 15:13-14-13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  Why would Paul and the other apostles give their lives for a useless cause?  What you believe about Jesus’ death, burial AND resurrection isn’t inconsequential. It has lasting, eternal consequences.

When God raised Jesus from the dead, He was declaring His satisfaction and approval of the payment Christ made on our behalf on the cross. On the cross, Jesus cried, “It is finished.” He did what He came to do. When Jesus rose from the grave, it was as if God the Father said, “Your finished work was accepted.”

There is no spiritual life, no living hope, no eternal life in Heaven without both the Cross and the Empty Tomb. The Resurrection changes everything. Because of the Cross and the empty tomb, we can have a full earthly life and perfect everlasting life.

Jesus rose, and because He did, you and I can, too.  I am a Christian today because I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I have a personal, daily relationship with Him through the forgiveness of my sin and the dedication of my life to Him. Because I have given Him my life, He has made His home inside of me.

A story is told of an African Muslim who became a Christian. His friends asked, “Why have you become a Christian?” He answered, “Well, it’s like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and you didn’t know which way to go. There at the fork were two men, one dead and one alive—who would you ask which way to go?”

Some of you are at a fork in the road. What you have been doing, the path you have been traveling, it isn’t working for you. You have an opportunity to encounter One who has overcome everything life brings, including death itself. As for me, I am going to follow the One who once was dead, but is now alive forevermore. 

Luke 24:13-35 chronicles one of the many Jesus-sightings that took place after the Resurrection. It tells the story of two
John 10:11 and 14-18-11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  14 “I am the good
James 5:14-16 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint