Mark 15-16, Psalm 102
He is Risen! These are the 3 most important words for every Christian. If this fact were not true, we would have no hope. If His body was not raised from the dead, we would be placing our hope in a dead Savior who would be powerless to save anyone else. His resurrection proves the validity of His sacrifice and that it was acceptable to the Father. This topic is the center of any attack on our faith. Former atheist, Chicago Tribune journalist, Lee Strobel angry at his wife's becoming a Christian set about investigating every aspect surrounding this event. He interviewed experts to evaluate the medical, historical, textual, circumstantial, etc evidence and eventually realized the facts were the facts and His resurrection could not be disputed. He became a Christian through the process. If you have friends and family who are agnostic or atheistic you might want to buy them Lee Strobel's book, "The Case for Christ". If you know they won't read it you can rent the well done movie with the same title which was released in the past year. Another good book written by a former, vocal atheist, cold case homicide detective, J. Warner Wallace, who wrote, "Cold Case Christianity". After his investigation, he too became a Christian.
One of the most incredible proofs surrounding this event and the events surrounding His crucifixion is the words of the prophets being fulfilled. For those unfamiliar, please take the time to read Isaiah 52:13-53:12, written by the prophet Isaiah over 700 years before these events unfolded. Also take the time to read Psalm 22, written by King David, over 1000 years before these events occurred. The purpose of our Messiah dying for our sins is spelled out in Isaiah 53:5,6,8.11,12. His beating described in Mark 15:19, "Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him;..", along with the same treatment done by the Temple guards in Mark 14:65, was prophesied in Isaiah 50:6, 52:14, 53:5. Every Jewish man in those days had most all of Scripture memorized. When Jesus, from the cross cried out in Mark 15:34, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" He was directing the Jewish audience to Psalm 22, which were the opening words to this Psalm. In this Messianic Psalm it discusses the type of death the Messiah would suffer in the form of crucifixion. This was not a form of execution until popularized by the Romans over 800 years from when the Psalm was written. Let's also not forget that Jesus, Himself, before these events occurred foretold of His own resurrection. In Mark 10:33-34, He described for the third time His death and resurrection, "...and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."
For those who want to hold with the lie that He never really died, this is impossible. The success rate of crucifixion was 100%. In John 19:34, we read of the soldier piercing Jesus with a spear, showing the separation of His blood which showed His death. We also read the account in Mark 15:45-46 by the Roman centurion who was the overseer of the crucifixion affirming His death. Realize if the centurion failed, and Jesus was still alive, the centurion would suffer the same fate as the "criminal". Lastly, for those who state that the disciples stole the body, we must ask the question, why? In the Jewish movement over 1000 years earlier, there were earthly benefits to siding with Moses. The freedom from Egyptian slavery, the promise of entering a land of milk and honey where you would be given land, etc. For Islam in the time of 600 A.D., Muhammad was forming militarily a caliphate, where you would gain land, wives and possessions for joining his movement. The early Christians received no earthly benefits for their belief. Solely a Jewish movement for the first 15 years after His resurrection, if you became a Christian you would lose your job, your family, you would be kicked out of the synagogue and possibly lose your life. In fact, for the first 300 years after His resurrection there were no earthly benefits to becoming a Christian with an estimated 7 million martyred for their faith. So, as we step out in faith and share with the unbelieving world around us, realize we have irrefutable evidence to support the truth behind the statement, "He is risen".
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: