Lutheran Spokesman

"…the Scriptures cannot be broken." John 10:35


Christ’s Bodily Resurrection – A Foundational Christian Truth

Written by Mark Gullerud | April, 2012
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The many teachings of God from Genesis to Revelation are precious to believing Christians because they form an unshakeable foundation upon which to firmly establish redeemed lives with God and to possess the certain hope of eternal life in heaven.

Since God’s teachings are interconnected, we do not want to give up any of them lest our Christian foundation gradually crumble and finally be completely lost.

The devil who wants to rob us of our blessed life with God recognizes the importance of each and every teaching of God’s Word and tirelessly chips away at God’s teachings. His ultimate goal is to cause Christians to lose their life and salvation in Christ Jesus.

Satan—who is not an angel of light but rather the enemy of our souls—has been very successful in his attacks against the teaching of Christ’s bodily resurrection.

Sad to say, also in the name of Christianity the idea is espoused that Jesus did not rise bodily from His grave. The claim is made that Bible accounts of Jesus’ resurrection are grossly exaggerated. Such critics tell us that the disciples wanted so badly to see Jesus alive again that they imagined it to be so.

What then do such apostate propagandists proclaim from their pulpits on Easter Sunday? If any mention is made of a resurrection, it is of a spiritual resurrection of Christ rather than a bodily one.

What are the implications of all this? In his first letter to the
Corinthians, chapter 15, the apostle Paul spells it out very clearly, reasoning that if there is no resurrection, then Christ is not
risen (v. 13).

The apostle then tells the domino effect of this false teaching. Without Christ’s bodily resurrection the preaching of the Christian faith would be empty and devoid of truth (v. 14); this, in turn, would make authentic Christian preachers false prophets (v. 15), and their preaching and teaching would be completely useless (v. 14,17).

The final outcome is that we sinners would be still in our sins (v. 17). As for all those who have died believing in Jesus as their Savior, Paul writes that they would have perished eternally in hell (v. 18). Were this the case, Christians would be the most pitiable people in the world (v. 19).

Complete Certainty!

But Paul does not leave us in a quandary about this. He declares with absolute certainty that Christ has risen bodily from the dead and has become the first of countless believers who will rise victorious from the grave on the last day. This is certain because Jesus showed Himself to be our Savior from sin and eternal death when He rose victorious from the dead.

The apostle could testify to this, for on the day of his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-5; 26:12-18)—he personally saw and heard the risen Lord Jesus!

What about the Gospel record of Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead? Was this wishful thinking on the part of the disciples—their wanting so much to see Jesus alive that they imagined it?

Read again the testimony of the Gospels, which reveal anything but wishful thinking (Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-14; Luke 24:1-49; John 20 and 21) and show the exact opposite of what the nay-sayers claim.

+ His disciples did not expect to see Him alive again in this world

+ His disciples did not believe the women who reported that they had seen Jesus;

+ And even when Jesus stood before them in bodily form, the disciples couldn’t believe their eyes. Jesus had to prove in a tangible way that He was standing before them and that they were not imagining things.

In the book of Acts we read of the risen Jesus repeatedly appearing to His disciples so as to fully convince them of His bodily resurrection. We read in the opening chapter, “He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen
by them during forty days” (1:3).

Fully assured that Jesus rose bodily from the grave as our victorious Savior, on Easter Sunday we can greet one another with complete certainty: “He is risen.” To which hearers can confidently respond,

“He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!”

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