This week I want to look at 5 different evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Coming off of a fabulous Easter Sunday, I have read where many people claim to be followers of Jesus but do not actually believe He physically rose from the dead. Let me say this right up front, I’m not sure how a person can claim to be a Christian and not believe this most necessary tenet of the faith (He arose from the dead).
This is how Jesus proved Himself to be God. Not the miracles (those were certainly signs but there had been other miracle workers…whether real or not). Not His sacrificial death on a cross (that did prove His great love but many people have given their life in sacrifice). No, the Resurrection of Jesus proved His Divine Nature. Jesus is God. This is what a follower of Jesus believes.
Now, there is going to be no way that you can believe this by proof’s without faith. Scientific minds like to have hard proof and the honest truth is that you and I were not there so we must exercise faith in believing that Jesus indeed arose from the Tomb on that ‘first day of the week’. However, we do have some fabulous evidences to draw from…and I attest that these evidence’s are more than enough proof for me. Are they for you?
Evidence #1 is the transformation of His followers. To show you this evidence we will briefly look at one of His most famous disciples - Peter. Peter is known as the man with a foot-shaped mouth. He sometimes said things before fully processing. He seemed a bit rash. Follow his path of transformation with these scriptures:
1. Jesus promised His followers would have His power by The Holy Spirit once He died and rose again:
John 16:4-14 (excerpt) But now I am going to him who sent me…Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged…When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
2. Peter did not have this power while Jesus was living…in fact, He denied He even knew Jesus at the time of Jesus trial and Crucifixion:
Matthew 26:31-35: Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
Matthew 26:69-75: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
3. Jesus Rises from the Dead and appears to Peter…giving Him a Mission:
John 21: 1-19 (excerpt): After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” … 4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” …When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he …threw himself into the sea….14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead…15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, v“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
4. After Jesus has ascended to heaven, the disciples (including Peter) are given the Holy Spirit and Peter shows a new gift:
Acts 1:6-8: So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 2:1-41 (excerpt) On the day of Pentecost* all the believers were meeting together in one place.2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages,* as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability…14 Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, "Listen carefully, all of you…21 But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ 22 "People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene* by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed...32 "God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God's right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today…36 "So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” 37 Peter's words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter replied, "Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.
Now, the man who denied Jesus a few months earlier would not have had the power to preach in front of thousands. This is the evidence of transformation. It can be seen in each of the disciples. Truly, it should be seen in each of us as Jesus’ followers today.
Although we are each incomplete works in this area…we are also each evidencing the power of Jesus Resurrection when we live a life of faith. Have you ever thought of that? Let your faith grow as you look at the transformed life of Peter and as you experience a transformed life in Christ by His Powerful Holy Spirit!