As we celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ this
Easter, it is important to note that He was more than just a great
teacher. He proved that He is God’s cherished Son, by coming back to
life from the grave, and it is this truth that separates Him from every
other religious leader in history. In fact, it is our Lord’s own
resurrection that establishes His power to grant us eternal life.

There were too many eyewitnesses for us to doubt the reality of the
resurrection — hundreds of them, in fact. I Corinthians 15:6 tells us,
“… He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once …”. John
20:10-31 also recounts the fact that many individuals saw Jesus after
His death on the cross. Not only that, but His followers were so
committed to this truth that they preached it — at the risk of death —
at every possible opportunity.

The Bible explicitly states that Jesus’ gravestone had been moved and
that our Savior’s body was missing (Matthew 28). An angel of the Lord
had, in fact, rolled back the stone that sealed the grave not to let
Jesus out — because He was already gone — but, to let us
in to see for ourselves the evidence of the empty tomb. This
amazing truth still resonates in our souls today: “He is not here; He
has risen, as He said.” (Matthew 28:6)

Among all of the religious leaders who have ever lived, Jesus Christ
is unique. He is the only one of whom His followers can claim — with
remarkable confidence — that He died and, three days later, came back
to life. The Christian faith stands or falls on the validity of this
seemingly outrageous claim. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, our
faith is empty — nothing but pious sentiment based on a myth. The
Apostle Paul admitted this in I Corinthians 15:17: “And if Christ is
not risen, your faith is futile …”. On the other hand, if Jesus
did walk out of the tomb, then He is exactly who He claimed to be
— the very Son of God.

The story that Jesus would return from the dead did not begin to be
told after the fact. Jesus had stated all along that He would die and
rise again (Matthew 20:17-19), going so far as to point out that His
resurrection would be the only sure sign that He really was the promised
Messiah (Matthew 12:38-40).

In fact, prior to Jesus’ burial, there was already so much talk about
this claim that the authorities did all they could to secure His body.
The religious leaders asked Pilate to guard Jesus’ tomb in order to
prevent the disciples from stealing the body and then spreading the news
that their Lord had been raised from the dead (Matthew 27:62-66).

But there is no way for skeptics, either at that time or today, to
explain-away the fact that the tomb was indeed empty following Jesus’
resurrection. When the women came to anoint Jesus’ body on the third
day, concerned as to who might be available to help them roll away the
heavy stone, an angel informed them that their beloved Master was gone
(Mark 16:6).

We know that Jesus’ body had been placed in a tomb and that the tomb
had been sealed. And we know that three days later that tomb lay open
— and empty. Many people have tried to explain-away this phenomenon —
but there is no plausible explanation other than the fact that Jesus
arose just as He promised He would.

The evidence is clear: Jesus did arise from the grave — not just in
a spiritual sense but physically as well. The authorities did everything
they could to prevent this miracle but the risen Christ burst forth from
his tomb, rejuvenated and glorious. Among all the religious leaders who
have lived in bygone centuries, Jesus is unique — He is the only One
who still lives.

That is the true story of Easter.

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