Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?

Although there's nearly a foot of snow on the ground here, it really is Easter week. Next Sunday, we'll celebrate the greatest miracle of all -- the resurrection of Jesus. Without the resurrection, there is no salvation. Without the resurrection, Jesus was just another guy who claimed to be God. Without the resurrection, we remain lost and separated from God.

Yet the resurrection is the most questioned piece of the redemption story. It is the one thing that doubters have tried to poke holes in throughout history. His disciples stole the body. It was a mass hallucination. The women went to the wrong tomb. When these theories are examined in the light of the historical record, though, they don't hold up.

One of the most common arguments against the resurrection is that Jesus' disciples stole his body so that it would appear He had risen again after three days. Yet, this feat would have been impossible to carry out. Jesus' tomb was covered with a huge boulder that would have been extremely difficult to move. On top of that, the tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers. Now, Roman soldiers weren't people you wanted to mess with. They were the most highly trained soldiers of their day. And the disciples were mostly fishermen. The thought that these untrained men could take out the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb is laughable.

The idea that Jesus' resurrection was a mass hallucination doesn't hold water either. Hallucinations aren't mass events. If you hallucinate, it's highly unlikely you're going to have the same hallucination as the person next to you. And Jesus appeared to hundreds of people over a period of 40 days. Hallucinations don't usually last that long.

The last idea that the women went to the wrong tomb doesn't hold water either. These women had given up a lot to follow Jesus. They were headed to the tomb to perform a final act of service to Him. Even in their grief, they would have known which tomb to go to. If you were going to the funeral of a loved one, wouldn't you get directions to the cemetery if you didn't know where it was?

The only logical explanation for what happened to Jesus' body after He died is the one given in the Bible: "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." (Matthew 28:6) As we celebrate Jesus' resurrection this Sunday, be ready to answer your kids' questions about the event. Because it's not just a story; it's not just a myth. Jesus' resurrection is true, and it is the lynchpin of our salvation.