Will the Dead Live Again?
At the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the French under the command of Napoleon were fighting the Allies under the command of Wellington. The people of England depended on a system of semaphore signals to find out how the battle was going. One of these signal stations was on the tower of Winchester Cathedral.
Late in the day it flashed the signal:
“W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N … D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D ….”
Just at that moment a sudden fog cloud made it impossible to read the complete message. The news of defeat quickly spread throughout the city. The whole countryside was gloomy when they heard the news that their country had lost the war. Suddenly the fog lifted, and the remainder of the message could be read. The complete message was:
“W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N … D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D ...
T-H-E … E-N-E-M-Y!”
It took only a few minutes for the good news to spread. Sorrow turned into joy, defeat turned into victory!
So it was when Jesus was laid in the tomb on the first Good Friday afternoon. Hope had died even in the hearts of Jesus’ most loyal friends. After the frightful crucifixion, the fog of disappointment had crept in on the friends of Jesus. They had “read” only part of the divine message. “Christ defeated” was all that they knew. But on the third day—Easter Sunday—the fog of disappointment lifted, and the world received the complete message: “Christ defeated death!” Defeat was turned into victory—death into life!1
Did Jesus Rise Again?
As I’ve mentioned before, when Joy, my wife, and I were in Jerusalem last year, we had the opportunity to visit the tomb that is believed to be the tomb in which Jesus was buried following his crucifixion. According to the biblical record, Jesus was buried in a wealthy man’s unused tomb, and, as our tour guide pointed out, it was evident that this tomb had belonged to a wealthy person. As such there is every chance that this was the actual tomb in which Jesus was buried. When exiting the tomb there was a sign that said, “He is not here. He is risen!” On this fact the entire message of Christianity is based. But how can we know if it is true. Did Jesus rise from death?
Christ defeated death! Defeat was
turned into victory—death into life!
Consider the evidence. On the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion—Easter Sunday—as the day began to dawn, “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.”2 There they were met by an angel who said to them, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him."3
There were many others besides the two Mary’s who were able to verify that Jesus had risen from the dead. On at least nine occasions Christ appeared to his followers after his death and burial. Jesus not only appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in the garden on Easter Sunday. He also appeared to Peter, to the two disciples on the Emmaus Road, to all the apostles except Thomas, to the eleven disciples with Thomas included, to the disciples at the Sea of Galilee, to the five hundred followers to whom he gave the Great Commission, to James, to the eleven disciples at Bethany just before his ascension to heaven, and to Paul.4
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