The Resurrection Claim

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36)

The tomb was empty on Easter. There are four possible ways to account for this.

His foes stole the body. If they did (and they never claimed to have done so), they surely would have produced the body to stop the successful spread of the Christian faith in the very city where the crucifixion occurred. But they could not produce it.

His friends stole it. This was an early rumor (Matthew 28:11–15). Is it probable? Could they have overcome the guards at the tomb? More important, would they have begun to preach with such authority that Jesus was raised, knowing he was not? Would they have risked their lives and accepted beatings for something they knew was a fraud?

Jesus was not dead, but only unconscious when they laid Him in the tomb. He awoke, removed the stone, overcame the soldiers, and vanished from history after meetings with his disciples, during which he convinced them he was risen from the dead.

Even the foes of Jesus did not try this line. He was obviously dead. The stone could not be moved by one man from within who had just spent six hours nailed to a cross and been stabbed in the side by a spear.

God raised Jesus from the dead. This is what he said would happen. It is what the disciples said did happen. The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian church supports the truth of the resurrection claim.

The church spread on the power of the testimony that Jesus was raised from the dead and that God had thus made him both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). The Lordship of Christ over all nations is based on his victory over death.

This is the message that spread all over the world. Its power to cross cultures and create one new people of God was strong testimony of its truth.