But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. Luke 24:1-12
It is dawn on a Sunday morning. It looks like any other Sunday dawn but on this particular day something will happen that has never happened before or since. A body will be resurrected from death and that body will never taste death again. Up until this day people have been brought back to life. Jesus did this on many occasions. Old Testament prophets had raised the dead. Paul would later raise the dead. But each and every one of these people would eventually die again and this time they would not come back to life on this earth. What happened on that Sunday was different.
When Jesus was resurrected He would never taste death again and He showed all of us that death no longer had hold of His followers. Yes, each of us will die but we will each be resurrected to live eternally with Him. So what evidence is there for the resurrection? We have four different accounts from different eyewitnesses to the events around the resurrection. All written within the lifetime of people who lived at the time of the crucifixion. Then we have the writings of Paul. Paul wrote his letters within twenty years of the event and possible earlier. Finally we have the empty tomb.
Had Jesus’ body still been in the tomb Christianity could have been stopped in its tracks by the Jewish priests. All they need do was show the body. Yet the priests who did all they could to wipe out the Jesus movement somehow managed to forget that all the needed to do was show people Jesus’ tomb, body still there.
Next we have the many appearances Jesus made after the resurrection. Paul tell us that Jesus appeared to over 500 many who were still alive at the time of his writing. Jesus appeared to the disciples multiple time and He also appeared to the women. The appearance to women is especially interesting because if you were trying to convince people of something in the first century the last people you would use as witnesses was a bunch of women. Back then women were not considered credible witnesses.
Then we have the change in the disciples. They went from a cowering bunch to bold proclaimers of the message of Jesus raised. In fact so changed were they that ten of the remaining eleven went to martyr’s deaths. All any of them had to do was deny Christ and they could have lived. Had the disciples knew that Jesus had not been resurrected they would never had died for a false cause. Yes, I know people die for false causes all the time but not when they know the cause is false.
We have the emergence of the Christian church. From a small Jewish sect in Palestine Christianity spread across the Roman Empire eventually converting the Roman emperor Constantine. It then spread across the Western world and into Africa and Asia to become the largest religion in the history of the world.
Lastly, something happened to cause a bunch of Jews to change their day or worship from Friday evening to Saturday evening to Sunday. For the entire history of the Jewish people they worshiped on the Jewish Sabbath. Suddenly the Jewish followers of Christ change days of worship. Something big had to have happened to make such a big change. Jesus’ Sunday resurrection is the cause.
He is risen,