“You better enjoy life while you can!”
The host of the party lifted a glass of champagne and toasted me. A drop of condensation dripped off the stem of his glass as our glasses clinked.
“Yup,” he said, sipping his libation. “This is the only life we have to live because as far as I know, no one has ever come back from the dead!”
I was about to take the bait but the moment was not right. It was a festive occasion and I wanted to be sensitive to those who were gathered since he was the host. The person speaking to me was Jewish and he was well aware that I was a Christian. The irony of his statement lies in the revelations of the Jewish Holy Scriptures, the Torah. This is the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. There are hundreds of prophecies in the Torah that point to the coming of the Messiah. After thousands of years of Jewish civilization, in the first century A.D., all of these prophecies were fulfilled by one Man, Jesus Christ. Jesus and all of His disciples were Jews as well as many of the first believers. The remainder of the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The Jews were waiting for a Messiah, who would restore the Jewish Kingdom and overthrow their Roman conquerors. They refused to believe that their Messiah would die a humiliating death on Cross. How could this pathetic charlatan, this son of a carpenter, be their King, their Savior?
Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
Acts 26:8 (ESV)
In this passage from the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul gave an impassioned testimony to King Agrippa about his decision to follow Jesus Christ. He appealed to the King on the basis of his well-known background as an esteemed scholarly Jew, a Pharisee, devoted to the strict interpretation of God’s law. He testified how his own zeal to obey God’s law compelled him to hunt down and imprison other Christians, branding them as heretics and blasphemers. In these very dark days of the early Church, God had other plans for Paul. On the road to Damascus, the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, appeared to Paul and revealed the Truth to him. Paul was converted and confessed and repented of his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Paul knew that Jesus was the promised Messiah, as the Jewish scriptures had always prophesied.
Jesus Christ is the only person who has ever come back from the dead through His own power. He willingly laid His life down to be tortured and executed on the Cross. It may have been difficult for Paul and many Jews to believe this simple carpenter was their Messiah, His broken naked Body was exposed on the Cross, He was anything but a King or Savior. But three days later, He rose from the dead. He proved to all Creation that He was God. Paul, the disciples, and hundreds of Jesus’ followers all beheld His glorified resurrected Body. It was a miracle but as Paul correctly pointed out, “Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?”
Why indeed? God, the Creator of the Universe, raised Jesus Christ from the dead so that all who confess and repent of their sins and place their trust in Him, shall have salvation and eternal life. Only someone who came back from the dead can legitimately make this claim.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.