A Note from Michael Gossett
Dr. Michael Gossett

“Consider the Resurrection”

Have you ever doubted whether the resurrection of Jesus really happened? If you have, you are not alone. A study conducted by Lifeway Research says among U.S. adults, 66% of Americans believe that Jesus was resurrected, 14% are not sure, and 20% say that Jesus was not resurrected. Why is it such an important fact for us to know? It is the pillar on which all Christians stand. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” If there is no resurrection, there is no hope. If there is no resurrection, you have no hope of being forgiven of your sin because the Savior, who was supposed to save those who believe in Him, is still dead. Paul goes on to verse 20, which says, “But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead.” The testimony of Paul is one of the greatest historical accounts that proves the resurrection. But what would you say is the greatest historical evidence?

I would say the greatest historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus (outside of Scripture), is the empty tomb. Every Easter, our gaze is rightfully set on the empty tomb of Jesus. But why would anyone claim this is the greatest evidence of the resurrection? First, we know that Jesus was executed in Jerusalem and was buried outside the city walls. The Biblical record reveals that the Romans allowed the Jews to follow their custom and give Jesus a proper burial before sunset. With this fact being known, the Romans would have known exactly where Jesus was buried. So, when there were reports of Jesus being alive, the Romans would have known where the corpse had been and could have checked exactly where Jesus was buried and could immediately renounce any claim of Jesus being alive. With this fact known, the death of Jesus does not even come into question.

Some skeptics have argued that Jesus didn’t really die, suggesting that Jesus was perhaps unconscious, or drugged, or some other natural cause, but not fully dead. This argument is off the table because we know that when the Roman guards came to Him to break his legs, as they routinely did to end the lives of those crucified, there was no need to break Jesus’ legs because the Roman Centurion certified that He had already died. Furthermore, there would have been no burial if Jesus was not dead. The Roman guards would have taken no chances of allowing a living person to be taken from the cross. They had to be sure of the death before they were removed.

The empty tomb is enemy attested. The enemies of Jesus never talked about the body being found or the tomb still being occupied. This, in and of itself, proves the resurrection of Jesus. They realized the tomb is empty and so they are forced into creating narratives to help explain the empty tomb. The narrative was that the disciples stole the body. This was still the narrative even in the 2nd century. Rome, as well as Jewish leaders, were doing everything possible to make sure they had a plot to explain why the tomb was empty.  In other words, NO ONE was talking about an occupied tomb. Another aspect of understanding the empty tomb is the use of women as primary witnesses. In the first century, women’s testimonies were viewed as useless, or at the very least, unhelpful. If you were going to make up a story, no one, especially Romans, would use women as a vehicle to spread this narrative.  The fact that women were testifying to the tomb being empty is even more evidence that it really was!

You may be able to look at the Word of God and recognize that Jesus is risen. Scripture is clear on this. However, to deepen our faith even further, when we think about the resurrection of Jesus, we can know without any doubt from God’s word or historical evidence, that when we consider the resurrection of Jesus, we can know it is true. Because it is true, we have hope. We can know without any doubt, that Jesus is who He says He is. He is the Savior of the world, the righteous One, the spotless lamb, the son of God, the atonement for our sin, the security for our life, and the keeper of our souls.

As we approach Easter Sunday, remember the cross and consider the resurrection and the life it brings for those who believe. I want to invite you to start your Easter celebration with us tonight at our Good Friday service at 6:00pm at our Tyler Campus, our Flint Campus, and our Español Campus. This is a service designed to help us set our hearts rightly on the death, burial, and resurrection of the one true Savior of the world.

We start our Easter Celebration on Sunday with a Sunrise Service at Cathedral in the Pines Memorial Garden at 7:00am.  Then, we will have 3 worship options available to you at the Tyler and Flint campuses at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am and then at 11:00am in Español. I cannot wait to worship the risen Lord with you!

You are loved and prayed for!

Michael Gossett