WHY WOULD SOMEONE BELIEVE in Christ's resurrection? Is there any reason to believe He really rose from the dead? Many facts surrounding the resurrection of our Lord attest to its truth. In Matthew 28, when the angel appeared and rolled back the stone sealing the entrance to Jesus' tomb, the soldiers who were guarding the tomb trembled. They witnessed the angel's explanation to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, that Jesus had risen from the dead. They saw that the tomb was empty when the angel moved the stone!
But the soldiers went and reported everything to the chief priests, who along with the elders told them to fabricate a story that Jesus' disciples had stolen the body. Now, when Jesus died, the disciples had left the scene in anguish. There is no evidence that they stole - or were capable of stealing - the body. In addition, Matthew 27 tells us that the chief priests and Pharisees had made every effort to prevent them from doing it, by sealing the tomb with an enormous stone and posting a guard of Pilate's soldiers.
Paul tells us in I Corinthians, "...that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep." (I Corinthians 15:3-6). More than five hundred bore witness to the resurrection of Christ. The detail which Paul added for the benefit of the Corinthian church was that many of those witnesses were still alive when he wrote. That is not insignificant. Paul was in fact saying, "You can verify my words."
Books have been written detailing the facts which testify to the reality of the resurrection. So why do people find it unbelievable? The proofs in a thousand books are insufficient to prove the resurrection to someone who chooses to believe that such supernatural acts are impossible. Listen. The reason that people do not believe is not because of a lack of evidence, but because the greatest proof is the Holy Spirit bearing testimony to our Spirit that we are the children of God. It is impossible to believe in the Resurrection without the regenerating work of the Spirit of God. For to those who are perishing, the truth of the resurrection is folly. Paul says, "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (I Corinthians 1:18) Or again, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (I Corinthians 2:14) If men refuse to believe in Christ, his death, burial and resurrection, the reason is simple. The gospel is veiled to them. "In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, in the face of Jesus Christ." (II Corinthians 4:4) Each person is blinded because of his or her own sin, and the only One who is able to open the eyes of the heart is the Spirit of God.
The greatest proof, then, for the Resurrection is to be found in the lives of those who have been forever changed because of it. Peter says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (I Peter 1:3) The same power God exerted to raise Jesus from the dead, He uses to raise us from being dead in our sins, to being alive in Christ. Without new life in Christ, we are unable to perceive, understand or believe the truth about what the Scripture says with regard to the resurrection. Those upon whom the Spirit of God has descended, and to whom He has brought new life, are now living witnesses to the truth of the risen Christ. The best proof we can offer of the Resurrection is that we "may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death." (Philippians 3:10)
So as we seek to show that Christ is alive in our lives, let us also pray that God, by His Spirit, would transform those around us that do not know Him, that they may by His work come to know and love Him to the glory of God.