APRIL 2014 

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!

The death and resurrection of the crucified and risen Christ are among the best attested events in history.  When Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus requested the body of Jesus, Pilate inquired of the Roman centurion whether Jesus was really dead.  He was.  The next day Pilate even authorized guards to make sure the disciples would not steal the body.  There is no doubt about it … Jesus was dead.

The evidence for our Lord’s resurrection is just as sure.  Grave robbers would not be likely to leave the body-wrappings behind or fold the face-cloth neatly and put it aside.  It was no robbery.  Something else had happened.  Christ had risen!

The risen Lord also showed Himself to His Apostles and to many others.  Now, the Apostles were not gullible people.  That’s why Christ, when He appeared to them on Easter Sunday evening, said, “Look at my hands and my feet.  It is I myself!  Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).  And then the risen Lord proceeded to eat before them.  Only then were they convinced.

But Thomas, who was absent, would not believe his fellow Apostles.  A week later Jesus appeared to them again, walked up to Thomas, and said, “Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27).  Even Thomas was convinced.

Almost 25 years after our Lord had risen from the dead, Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians.  Since some of them denied the resurrection, Paul reviewed the evidence.  After enumerating many of our Lord’s appearances, Paul made the Corinthians an offer:  “After that, he appeared to  more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:6)“If you doubt my words,” Paul, as it were, said to them, “go and question those who saw him.”  Paul was not afraid to put Easter to the test.

Can we be sure?  The five hundred are all with their Lord, but the record is there for us to read.  And so is the word of our Lord:  “Thomas, … because you have seen me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).  With the hymn writer we sing:  “Christians, dry your flowing tears, Chase your unbelieving fears; Look on his deserted grave, Doubt no more his pow’r to save.”  (CW # 159:3)

- Pastor James A. Castillo


 


He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. ~ Romans 4:25