Evidence of The Resurrection
 

Ultimate Victory of
The Resurrection

First of all, let's look at the ultimate victory of the Resurrection in the Gospels as presented by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

According to the New Testament, Christ Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless live, healed the sick, raised the dead and preached the good news. His enemies judged , arrested and crucified Jesus Christ, but they could not keep the Lord Jesus Christ in the grave!

Three days later He rose again from the dead!

Appearance of Christ to Witnesses:

1. Mary Magdalene

The first witnesses to see the risen Christ was Mary Magdalene after Jesus' death and resurrection.

It is touching that He appeared to her after He had risen from the dead.  You see, she had found out that his body was missing and she wanted to recover it.  So she had really come seeking Jesus with a heart full of love.  Read more about this encounter in Mark 16:9.

John 20:11 gives more information about Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Christ and the ultimate victory of the Resurrection.

These facts are from a different perspective, but they're not contradictory.   She waited outside the tomb while John and Peter went into it and then left. She looked into the tomb and was startled by meeting two angels who asked her why she was crying. She replied that she was looking for the Lord Jesus. When others ran from the empty tomb, she stayed on. She did see Jesus, but she thought He was a gardener. Jesus asked her why she was crying.

Thinking He Was the gardener, she asked where the body of Jesus was so she could take Him away. Jesus spoke her name and immediately she realized who He was. If this had been a ghostly visitor, she would have recognized a demonic manifestation for she was well-versed in demonic activity. But she knew it was her Lord when He spoke her name. She immediately went and told the disciples she had seen the Lord. With triumphant joy she exclaimed, "He’s alive! I’ve seen Him!

Although the disciples doubted her testimony, Mary Magdalene was convinced she had seen the Lord!

She had experienced first hand Jesus' ultimate victory of the Resurrection!

2. Other Women

In Matthew 28:9 we discover that Jesus revealed Himself alive to two or more other women as well.  Again we notice that the second appearance was to women whose testimony wouldn't have counted in a court of law of their day. So if this was merely a legend, why choose women as the first witnesses?

Jesus met them and said, “Rejoice!" They too saw the Lord. They came and held Him by the feet -- the wounded, bleeding feet of Jesus. He was probably bare-footed or wore sandals, so the scars on His feet would have been visible.  These women worshipped Him for they knew He was their Lord! If Jesus wasn’t truly God, He wouldn’t have accepted their worship.

The risen Savior is to be worshipped!

3. Peter

In Luke 24:34 we see that the resurrected Christ had a private meeting with Peter after Jesus' death and resurrection.

We’re not told a thing about this interview. In Mark 16:7 a special mention is made of Peter because of his threefold denial of Christ.  You see, Peter had miserably failed the Lord, but Jesus brought him back to Himself.  The Lord went to him personally and privately and restored him.  During this precious private interview, Peter confessed and was restored.

4. The two on the way to Emmaus

In Luke 24:13 we read of this encounter that happened on the day of the resurrection.  Two followers of Christ were talking together of all the things that had happened. One of them was named Cleopas. As they were talking, Jesus Himself joined them. During their walk, Jesus open the Bible to them from the beginning and shared what Scripture prophesied about the Messiah.  When they arrived at their home, Jesus acted as though He would go on.  But they urged Him to eat with them.  When He broke bread and passed it to them, their eyes were opened and they knew that this was Jesus alive!

As soon as they recognized who He was, He vanished from their sight. That's because in His resurrection body, He could be present or vanish instantaneously.  These followers were convinced that they had really seen Jesus for according to Luke 24:33 -- they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem where they found the eleven.  With joy they share the great good news and were informed -- the Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared to Simon. The two on the way to Emmaus were absolutely convinced that Jesus was alive!

5. Ten apostles (first appearance to them).

Jesus appeared after his resurrection to 10 of his disciples at one time.  This is recorded in  John 20:19.  Thomas was missing on that occasion.  This was the same day -- resurrection day -- in the evening at the close of the day when the doors were shut. The disciples were hiding because they were afraid of what the Jewish leaders would do to them.

Suddenly Jesus appeared to them and greeted them, “Peace be unto you." Then he showed them His hands and His wounded side.  Then were the disciples glad when they saw their Lord.

6. Thomas (second appearance to the apostles)

Thomas was not with the other apostles when Jesus visited them. This meeting with Thomas happened on a Sunday a week after Jesus had appeared to the other 10 disciples.  Thomas didn’t go to all the meetings and therefore missed out. The ecstatic 10 men joyfully shared with Thomas that Jesus was risen! You see, they were absolutely convinced. There was no doubt about it.

"The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25).

Then saith He to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."

Jesus knew all about Thomas’ doubts. He came back and appeared this time just for him. Now it's doubting Thomas no more -- for he now believed. "My Lord and my God," he exclaimed. He was a doubter for one week only.

By the way, this section of the Bible proves the diety of Christ. If Jesus was not God, he would not have let Thomas worship him.

7.  Third appearance to the apostles

After Jesus had risen from the dead, the apostles returned to fishing.  They had fished all night but caught nothing.  Probably they were dependent on fish for their food. Jesus appeared to them again -- this time standing on the shore. He commanded them to cast their net on the right side of the ship.  Immediately it filled up with 153 great fishes. John said, ‘It is the Lord.” Then Jesus prepared breakfast for them and asked them to come and eat.

8. 500 believers

1 Cor. 15:5 was written about 20 years after the resurrection of Christ. This text states that Christ was seen of Cephas (Peter) and then the 12 and then about 500 brethren at once. Many were still alive 20 years later. You could go and ask these 500 eyewitnesses about the risen Christ whom they had seen.

If you have 500 eyewitnesses to an event -- that’s profoundly credible and compelling evidence! They were on hand for many years to give eyewitness accounts of the evidence of the resurrection of Christ!

9.  James

I Cor.15:7 tells us that the resurrected Christ was also seen by James. This apparently was another personal interview.  James was the head apostle in the city of Jerusalem. He was the chairman who many looked to for leadership.  This disciple was convinced Jesus rose from the dead. 

10. The ascension of Christ

Acts 1:10 recounts to us the ascension of Christ.  While they looked steadfastly toward heaven, Jesus was taken up and covered by a cloud. Then two angels appeared and told the crowd that Jesus would return the same way He went into heaven.

Yes, this same Jesus -- with the marks of Calvary -- will come again in the same way he ascended into heaven.

Were the disciples convinced Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven? Yes, they tarried at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. They went to the upper room and started praying. Then the Holy Spirit descended upon them and gave them power to preach the great good news of the living Christ starting from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth!

It's important to realize that prayer is based on the evidence and witness of a living Jesus. If He isn’t alive, prayer is worthless. But He is alive and He is seated in glory to hear the prayers of His people.

We are to work with the knowledge that Jesus is alive.

With great power the early believers gave witness of the resurrection. If Jesus was still dead, there would be no meaning to Christianity. But He is living and He is coming again! Think about what the ultimate victory of the Resurrection meant to these believers and what it can mean to you too!

11.  Paul 

Jesus showed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus -- Acts 9:3-9 and Corinthians 15:8.

12. Other appearances after Jesus' death and resurrection:

These are implied in Acts 1:3.





"But now is Christ risen
from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept."
1Cor. 15:20

What The Resurrection Means to Me

What does it mean to you that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead?

To me it means everything!

For example, I can enjoy perfect peace of heart and mind no matter what the circumstances, since Jesus is in control of my life. That is, I can enjoy this perfect peace if I trust Him instead of trying to figure things out on my own.

The most important change that has occured in my life because Christ arose is that He lives in my heart.

He is preparing a place for me in heaven because He died for me and rose again, so I don't have to dread death!