Christ's Predictions of His Own Resurrection
Frequently in the gospels, Christ predicts both His own death and His resurrection (Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:17-19; 26:12,28-29, 31-32; Mark 9:30-32; 14:28; Luke 9:22; 18:31-34; 'John 2:19-22; 10:17-18). The predictions are so frequent, so explicit, and given in so many different contexts that there can be no question that Christ predicted His own death and resurrection, and the fulfillment of these predictions verifies the accuracy of the prophecy.
U Jesus told his disciples he’d be raised after three days, but even though the tomb was empty after three days (and they made no efforts to bury him in the first place), he had appeared to Mary and the two men on the way to Emmaus, they still would not believer. It wasn’t until he opened their minds to the Scriptures that they believed. Jesus had to open their minds!
Proofs of the Resurrection of Christ
The New Testament presents overwhelming proof of the resurrection of Christ At least seventeen appearances of Christ occurred after His resurrection. These are as follows:
1. appearance to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-17; cf. Mark 16:9-11);
2. appearance to the women (Matt. 28:9-10);
3. appearance to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5);
4. appearance of Christ to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35);
5. appearance of Christ to the 10 disciples, referred to collectively as "the eleven" as Thomas was absent (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-24;
6. appearance to the eleven disciples a"'week after His resurrection (John 20:2629);
7. appearance to seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-23);
8. appearance to five hundred (1 Cor. 15:6);
9. appearance to James the Lord's brother (1 Cor. 15:7);
10. appearance to 11 disciples on the mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16-20; 1 Cor. 15:7);
11. appearance to His disciples on the occasion of His ascension from the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:3-9);
12. appearance of the resurrected Christ to Stephen prior to Stephen's martyrdom (Acts 7: 55-56);
13. appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6); Acts 22:6-11; 26:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:8);
14. appearance to Paul in Arabia (Acts 20:24; 26:17; Gal. 1:12,17);
15. appearance of Christ to Paul in the temple (Acts 22:17-21; d. 9:26-30; Gal. 1: 18);
16. appearance of Christ to Paul in prison in Caesarea (Acts 23:11);
17. appearance of Christ to the Apostle John. (Rev. 1:12-20).
The number of these appearances, the great variety of the circumstances, and the confirming evidences that surround these appearances all constitute the strongest kind of historical evidence that Christ actually arose from the dead.
In addition to the proofs provided in His appearances, much supporting evidence can be cited. The tomb was empty after His resurrection (Matt. 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:3,6,12; John 20: 2, 5-8). It is evident that the witnesses to the resurrection of Christ were not gullible, easily deceived people. In fact, they were slow to comprehend the evidence (John 20:9,11-15,25). Once convinced of the reality of His resurrection, they were willing to die for their faith in Christ. It is also evident that there was a great change in the disciples after the resurrection. Their sorrow was replaced with joy and faith.
Further, the Book of Acts testifies to the divine power of the Holy Spirit in the disciples after the resurrection of Christ, the power of the Gospel which they proclaimed, and the supporting evidence of miracles. The day of Pentecost is another important .proof, as it would have been impossible to have convinced three thousand people of the resurrection of Christ who had had opportunity to examine the evidence if it were merely a fiction.
The custom of the early church to observe the first day of the week, the time to celebrate the Lord's Supper and bring their offering, is another historic evidence (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). The very fact that the early church came into existence in spite of persecution and death of the apostles is left without adequate explanation if Christ did not rise from the dead. It was a literal and bodily resurrection which rendered the body of Christ suitable for its heavenly function.
Reasons for the Resurrection of Christ
- Christ arose because of who He is (Acts 2:24).
- Christ arose to fulfill the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7: 12-16; Ps. 89:20-37; Isa. 9:6-7; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:25-31).
- Christ arose to be the giver of resurrection life (John 10:10-11; 11:25-26; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-4; 1 John 5:11-12).
- Christ arose that He might become the source of resurrection power (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:19-21; Phil. 4:13).
- Christ arose to be head over the church (Eph. 1:20-23).
- Christ arose because our justification had been accomplished (Rom. 4:25).
- Christ arose to be the first fruits of resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-23).
The Significance of the Resurrection of Christ
The resurrection of Christ because of its historical character constitutes the most important proof for the deity of Jesus Christ. Because it was a great victory over sin and death, it also is the present standard of divine power as stated in Ephesians 1: 19-21. Because the resurrection is such an outstanding doctrine, the first day of the week in this dispensation has been set apart for commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and, accordingly, supercedes the law of the Sabbath which had set aside the seventh day for Israel. The resurrection is, therefore, the cornerstone of our Christian faith, and as Paul expressed it in 1 Corinthians 15:17, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." Because Christ is raised? Our Christian faith is sure, the ultimate victory of Christ is certain, and our Christian faith is completely justified.