“I passed on to you what I received, of which this was most important: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day as the Scriptures say; and that he was seen by Peter and then by the twelve apostles. After that, Jesus was seen by more than five hundred of the believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all he was seen by me—as by a person not born at the normal time.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NCV
We are now at the 26th day after Easter. What was Jesus doing over 2000 years ago? Well at this time the Bible states that He was making His appearance to many and proving to them His Resurrection.
Paul makes this debate in his letter to the Corinthians
“Now since we preached that Christ was raised from the dead, why do some of you say that people will not be raised from the dead? If no one is ever raised from the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is worth nothing, and your faith is worth nothing. And also, we are guilty of lying about God, because we testified of him that he raised Christ from the dead. But if people are not raised from the dead, then God never raised Christ. If the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised either.
And those in Christ who have already died are lost. If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.”
1 Corinthians 15:12-16, 18-19 NCV
My faith is worth everything to me. Jesus is not dead. He is risen. For 40 days after He burst out of the tomb, Jesus appeared to many. They became eyewitnesses to this event, and their eyewitness accounts were passed around to the first century Christians. Paul later wrote this letter and sent it to the church in Corinth.
People in every century have tried to debunk our belief in the Resurrection and it even began those first few hours after people discovered the empty tomb.
“While the women went to tell Jesus’ followers, some of the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb went into the city to tell the leading priests everything that had happened. Then the priests met with the elders and made a plan. They paid the soldiers a large amount of money and said to them, “Tell the people that Jesus’ followers came during the night and stole the body while you were asleep. If the governor hears about this, we will satisfy him and save you from trouble.” So the soldiers kept the money and did as they were told. And that story is still spread among the people even today.”
Matthew 28:11-15 NCV
In these next few weeks I will be writing about all who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ Resurrection. So let’s just start with the soldiers guarding the tomb.
“At that time there was a strong earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, went to the tomb, and rolled the stone away from the entrance. Then he sat on the stone. He was shining as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The soldiers guarding the tomb shook with fear because of the angel, and they became like dead men.”
Matthew 28:2-4 NCV
These men were part of the mighty Roman army. They were a group of no fewer that 16 stalwart soldiers. They were fearless. They had given their allegiance to Rome. They stood stoic brave and strong, but for two events that shook them to their core, and both revolved around Jesus of Nazareth.
“Knowing everything that would happen to him, Jesus went out and asked, “Who is it you are looking for?” They answered, “Jesus from Nazareth.” “I am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, the one who turned against Jesus, was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they moved back and fell to the ground.”
John 18:4-6 NCV
And now when the Angel of God rolled the stone away. They shook with fear and they fainted. They fell hard to the ground and lay knocked out because of such great fear over what they had just experienced.
First eyewitness to the Resurrection – The mighty Roman soldiers.
I pray you believe and accept that our faith in Jesus rising from the dead is a real event.