By Hal Lindsey
From the far reaches of history past, humans have looked into the heavens and wondered. How did this come to be? What accident or intelligence laid out the intricate designs? We searched for clues by looking at our own reflections. What is this thing I call “me”? Is there a purpose to my existence? How is it that I think and have consciousness? How am I able to consider these questions?
For most of history, most of humanity has concluded that some kind of Intelligence stands back of it all. Also, most people believe in human significance — that our lives have meaning and purpose. But they can’t always say why.
Through the centuries, God gave evidence of His existence. He performed supernatural wonders — like parting the Red Sea. A couple of million people saw it, but it happened a long time ago, so not everyone’s convinced.
More importantly, God spoke through prophets. Many of those prophecies are self-validating. In other words, the prophets said things that only God could know. The prophecies about the coming Messiah and their fulfillment in Jesus are, to me, the most amazing.
If you’re someone who wants to see things for yourself, you can be glad that you’re living in an era of prophecy being fulfilled. We see things every week (sometimes several a day) that fulfill the words of ancient prophets who could not possibly have known about nuclear weapons, the intricacies of today’s geo-political scene, or the implications of modern technology.
The very immensity of the universe, or multiverse, seems to be more than the human mind can fathom. Answers to the great questions seem beyond our reach. But what if the Creator of all things chose to come to us with the answers? And what if He used fulfilled prophecy to prove that the message is from Him? That’s the amazing truth at the heart of the Bible.
When people contemplate the great questions, it seems counterintuitive that the answers may be found in the church down the street, or the Bible on the shelf. The problem is that we know those people who attend that church, or others like them. We see their flaws and shortcomings. How can they possess answers the finest minds on the planet grapple with and declare unanswerable?
Some of the flawed humans who fill that nearby church know Jesus personally. If so, then they have the Answer.
He came into the world claiming to be the long-awaited Messiah. Using the ancient prophetic words (Isaiah 53), He showed that the Messiah must suffer and die (Luke 9:22). Even more startling, He showed that Messiah, in addition to His humanity, must also be God (Matthew 22:41-45). He depicted one God who exists in three Persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (John 10:30, Matthew 28:19). He said that the Son would die for the sins of the world (John 3:15, Matthew 20:28, Matthew 26:28).
But He also said that His death would not be His end. He would rise again (Mark 9:31). And He did! (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; and John 20:1–21:25) His resurrection stands as proof of all His claims.
So, how do we know He really rose from the dead? Countless volumes have been written on the subject, but let me give you a couple things to think about. Over 500 people still living during the early part of the New Testament, saw Jesus alive after being crucified (1 Corinthians 15:5–7). They include many people we know by name.
And they acted just like you would expect. We know from the historical record that they went everywhere telling what they had seen. Many of them faced death because of their testimony, but they chose to die rather than to recant. Of the Lord’s closest disciples, all died as martyrs except John. And we know that John faced much persecution and pain for his devotion to Christ. To live and not suffer, all they would have had to do was say the resurrection was not true.
Both the Roman civil authorities and the Jewish religious authorities needed to prove that Jesus was dead. They couldn’t do it. The tomb was empty. It’s still empty.
But Jesus is more than Someone who rose from the dead. He is resurrection itself. In John 11:25-26, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (NASB)
If you know Jesus, you can look up at the night sky as a friend of the Designer and Maker of the universe.
John 1:1-4 says, “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (NKJV)
If you don’t know Jesus, He’s right there waiting. In Revelation 3:20, He said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (NASB)
The door in the Lord’s illustration represents your desire and will. You open the door by inviting Jesus Christ into your life. At this moment, in your own way, thank Jesus for dying for your sins. Invite Him to come into your heart.
Do that, and this Sunday you can celebrate, not just His resurrection — but yours.