Does It Really Matter If Jesus Rose from the Grave?

I once heard a sermon from a minister who liked to please everyone (never a good idea).

He preached about the resurrection of Jesus Christ saying, “There is controversy over whether or not Jesus ACTUALLY rose from the dead but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that we have ‘resurrection hope’ in our lives. That’s the real message of Easter.”

What? I thought. Yeah, I don’t think so. It certainly does matter.

Some helium filled “resurrection hope” balloon is not going to get this soul’s basket too far off the ground. I need a real resurrection or I’m not playing.

I was born in the sixties. My generation perfected the art of news expose, undercover reporting, and whistle blowing. I’ve seen Kool-Aid cults, impeached presidents, tell-all bestsellers, and Batman without the suit.

Which is to say this girl don’t follow blindly, it’s not in my cultural DNA. If I worship someone, He’d better be able to walk on water.

I believe, that if Jesus didn’t come back from the dead, everything falls apart.

He’s not a good teacher or a wise guide if he said He would rise again and then remained in the ground like every other prophet before him. That makes him deluded or deceitful and, no thank you, I won’t base my daily life or eternal future on a crazy man or a liar.

There are a few books written by worldly, once skeptical men that explore the facts and the arguments for believing the Bible and its account of Jesus’ life. One that is very readable is “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel who began as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Even if you believe the Bible, buy this book and read it. Be fortified in your faith.

But there are two simple defenses for the resurrection that strengthen me every time.

First of all, in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, (that’s the whole list of men who begat other men), the writer mentions four women besides Mary, the mother of Jesus:

Rahab (a prostitute), Tamar (who pretended to be a prostitute to trick her father-in-law into impregnating her), Ruth (a Moabitess – a non-Jew – a Gentile) and Bathsheba (who committed adultery with King David who subsequently had her Hittite husband, Uriah killed).

Now anyone will tell you, that if you’re making a case that your guy is King of the Jews, you avoid mentioning his family tree includes hookers, adulterers and Gentiles. It’s certainly not the lead story in your gospel.

Matthew’s genealogy is evidence that the disciples didn’t just decide to invent a religion. Before turning apostle, Matthew was a tax collector – that’s a Jew who was in collusion with the Romans. This is guy who understood politics and spin. He’d never start a fake defense of his guy with such scandalous material –

unless it was the truth.

Then, the disciples themselves are evidence that Jesus rose from the dead.

Do you remember these guys in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested? First of all, they couldn’t stay awake and support Him on a night when He was in agony. Second of all, when the law arrived, these guys were out of there – one even ran off without his clothes he was in such a hurry.

They had seen Jesus heal people, raise them from the dead, walk on water, and turn Dasani into Chianti. And yet, when the soldiers marched in, the disciples scurried out like rats on a sinking ship. End Act I

Fast forward to life after the resurrection. These same men are out preaching in the streets, taking blows and beatings rather than heeding the warnings to cease and desist and announcing Jesus Christ to Roman Guards and Jewish authorities without fear, without falter, without flinching in the face of certain death.


Most of the twelve eventually were martyred rather than renounce Christ. This is compelling evidence to me that Jesus actually walked out of that tomb alive. Men don’t just change.

As comparison, the conspirators in the Watergate scandal fell apart with their stories in little over two weeks of pressure and they weren’t fearing for their lives, just their livelihoods, jail time and finances. They turned on each other in a heartbeat and the whole caper unraveled like a ball of yarn.

For men to change from ship rats to willing martyrs, there had to be a catalyst – and there was.

Jesus was dead on Friday and alive on Sunday.

Alone in a tomb, wrapped in grave cloths, under heavy Roman guard, after having been beaten, crucified and speared in the side – he did not “revive,” force a massive piece of granite out of the way, and overwhelm men with swords. No one hid his body and decided to start a false religion that would cost them their lives.

Jesus rose from the dead. Everyone on earth must deal with this historical fact.

Jesus rose from the dead. You must deal with this fact.

Jesus rose from the dead. I must deal with this fact.

This is our only resurrection hope: that Jesus rose from the dead.

Don’t worship someone just because he tells a good story and can do amazing tricks with fish and chips. But if He comes back from the dead, loved ones, it’s time to start listening.

And listen now, before He comes again. Just as He said He would rise from the grave, one day He will return.

Did He or didn’t He? Does it really matter if Jesus rose from the grave?

It matters, loved ones. And He did.

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    The Conversation

  1. Great post, Lori. I love the evidence you give. Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

  2. scw1217 says:

    I loved this! Such wonderful words.