The REV. LOU TISCIONE
The most reliable book, the Bible, documents in great detail the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus! The gospel of Mark records the event of Jesus’ resurrection. Mark wrote that the resurrected Jesus “appeared first to Mary Magdalene.” Mark 16:9.
Matthew and Luke recorded the same incident.
The Apostle John wrote that Mary Magdalene ran to tell Peter. John recorded that Peter and John went to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. They had to see what Mary reported. After all they couldn’t just believe a woman’s testimony. They found that Mary had reported what she saw accurately.
Centuries earlier the writers of the Psalms prophesied of the person and work of Christ, E.G.: Psalms 2, 3, 8, 16, 22 and 23. Isaiah wrote of the “Suffering Servant” who would bear the sins of His people and reign forever. Isaiah 40-66.
Ancient historians also documented Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection, e.g. Josephus, “the Antiquities.”
The followers of Jesus all preached His resurrection. The church has continued to preach the resurrection of Jesus for 2,000 years. Persecution did not dampen or alter the message. It only served to spread it. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” was stated by Tertullian (160-225 AD).
Yet unbelief persists. The world has attempted every possible means to crush the truth of Jesus’ bodily resurrection and men continue in their refusal to believe!
Resurrection does not simply mean to be made alive again. Lazarus (John 11) was made alive again by Jesus simply commanding him to come out of the grave. Lazarus was resuscitated. He was made to live again as a mere mortal. Lazarus subsequently died as all men do. Jesus however was resurrected. He got out of the grave with a glorified body. He was seen as a man; He was recognized by those who knew Him. He ate with His disciples. Yet, He was able to pass through closed doors. He was able to move to another place in an instant. The resurrected Jesus ascended into heaven. The Lord of glory is physically in heaven. He rules all things from heaven. He is on the right hand of God, the place of power and authority.
The resurrected Jesus is called the “first born among many brothers,” Romans 8:29. All who are in Christ will receive glorified bodies like His when He comes again to judge the living and the dead. If we remain alive when Christ returns, we “shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” 1 Corinthians 15:51,52.
The biblical and historical evidence is overwhelming for Jesus’ resurrection. In light of so great a body of factual documentation, it would seem unlikely that men would persist in unbelief. But unbelief is all around us. Jesus said the reason is that men loved darkness rather than light, John 3:19.
On Sunday the world will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many will visit churches for the first time. Some only make it their practice to go to church two or three times a year. Prayers will be said. The Scriptures will be read. Everyone will be looking forward to an uplifting sermon from the pastor. Yet the hearts of many will remain cold to the truth. There will likely be no acknowledgement of the impact of the resurrection of Jesus on their lives.
The place to be on Easter Sunday is the local church. God has chosen the means by which He saves His people. The preaching of the word is the vehicle through which the Christ is heard. Romans 10:14.
God has given the ordinary means of salvation to the church.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, written in the 17th Century states that, “The visible church … is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.” The ordinary places through which God saves the lost are churches preaching the Bible.
My prayer for Easter Sunday is that many would attend a local church where the word of God is faithfully preached, so that the word of God in concert with the Spirit of God will effectually call men and women to Himself.
May you have a blessed and joy-filled Easter celebration of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus!
The Rev. Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).