The empty tomb forever shaped the way people viewed Jesus. The resurrection is the key event that validates Christianity.
The resurrection defines the incarnation of Jesus. History demonstrates that Jesus of Nazareth lived. The ancient documents of Scripture, along with Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, and Roman historians Tacitus and Seutonius, confirm the existence and the impact of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was born during the reign of Augustus Caesar and was killed by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius. These are facts beyond dispute.
But the resurrection made Jesus much more than just a man who lived in the first century. Paul confidently claimed that he was the “grace of God” and “our great God and Savior.” These and many more extraordinary accolades are true because the resurrection proves it to be so.
The resurrection gives meaning to the death of Jesus. So many Jews were executed by the Romans. Thousands were crucified. People have died in a multitude of ways from the beginning of time. What makes this one man’s death more significant than hundreds of millions of other deaths? The resurrection shows that Jesus’ death meant something far more significant. The resurrection shows that Jesus brought salvation to mankind. The resurrection shows that he “redeemed us from all unrighteousness and purified for himself a people.” The resurrection shows that his death was the divine work of atonement for the reconciliation of man.
The resurrection gives us assurance regarding the return of Christ. He is risen, he is coming! James saw him and became a believer. Thomas saw him and stopped doubting. Paul saw him and changed from persecutor to preacher. The risen Christ gave empirical proof to many that he was alive. By doing this, he assured all who would follow him that he would truly return one day as redeemer and judge.
The resurrection of Christ validates the teaching and example of Christ. Jesus came “instructing us.” He taught us a moral and spiritual way of life. He left us specific precepts to guide and direct our behavior. He left us an example of conduct, a philosophy of life,cand a purpose for our lives. As the people of Christ, we strive to follow his teaching and example because his resurrection validates his teaching as the very word of God.
The resurrection of Christ is the reason for our faith. Every Sunday is resurrection day, the Lord’s day. Let us rejoice that he is risen and trust that he is coming. Let us live our lives in view of the empty tomb and with our eyes turned toward heaven!