Jesus is Alive

April 1, 2018

Many of the skeptics say that Jesus is not alive. They subscribe to the Swoon Theory which is the belief that Jesus merely fainted on the cross and was revived after he was laid down at the tomb. This theory is faulty in that there were many people involved in making sure that Jesus was dead. Pilate himself instructed the centurion to check if indeed Jesus was dead before his body was released to Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus. “One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side bringing a sudden flow of water and blood” (John 19:34). The chief priests and Pharisees also made sure that the body of Jesus was in the tomb, had the tomb sealed and posted a guard to make sure no one would steal the body.

The truth as emphasized in the gospel is that Jesus died and on the third day he rose again. The first evidence of the resurrection of Jesus was the empty tomb. When a group of women went to look for Jesus at the tomb, they were met by an angel who told them, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matt. 28:6). Indeed, there were many other pieces of evidence that proved that Jesus was alive. Aside from the women, he also appeared to Peter, to the apostles and to five hundred of the brothers. He even appeared to Thomas, a skeptic, and rebuked him for his unbelief. Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27). After Thomas finally believed, Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (V. 29).

Why would the proponents of the Swoon Theory want us to believe that Jesus did not die? Well, if Jesus did not die, then there was no resurrection that happened. This is very critical because the apostle Paul said, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:14-15). It was the death of the Lord Jesus Christ that brought salvation to us, because the penalty of sin is death. He died on our behalf. Therefore, the apostle Paul said further, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

But what is the significance of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ to us who believe? Firstly, it tells us that Jesus has overcome death. In his epistle, the apostle Paul said, “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him” (Rom. 6:9). To further explain this, Paul, quoting the prophet Isaiah, said, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55). His death and resurrection are the ultimate victory over death.

Secondly, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus signifies our justification before God. We have been forgiven of our sins and made right before God through Christ. The apostle Paul said, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). It is clear in Scriptures that no one can be justified by doing good work or by the observance of the Law; it is only through faith in the risen Saviour.

Thirdly, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ signifies that He is the Son of God. Speaking through the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul said, “and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:4). If Jesus did not resurrect, then he is still dead and cannot be worshipped as God. Only a living God deserves to be worshipped, for how can a dead God save? Jesus testified, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Rev. 1:18).

Lastly, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ tells us that there is life after death. Jesus said, “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). This truth should encourage us to press on in our spiritual walk. We need to hold on to our faith in the Lord Jesus who justified us through his death and resurrection. While the penalty of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died and was raised to life again. Hallelujah!