Sometimes we are asked how we know that Jesus rose from the dead.
Sometimes we ask ourselves how we know that Jesus rose from the dead.
What people mean most of the time with that question is that they’d like a demonstration of the physical evidence, and what people mean most of the time is that the best physical evidence would be Jesus himself coming over to my place for coffee and a serious Ted Talk.
In itself, this is not extraordinary, because even Thomas said he wouldn’t believe unless he saw Jesus walking around, complete with crucifixion scars (John 20).
But while Jesus allowed that Thomas was probably from Missouri (“show me”), he made a distinction between knowing and believing. Once Thomas touched the crucifixion scars, Jesus said, in effect, “Now that you know, believe.”
In other words, the question is not merely how we know that the resurrection happened, but what we believe the resurrection means.
When Jesus appeared to the disciples, proving that he was, indeed, the same (but different) Jesus who had died in physical form and was raised in physical form, he commissioned them to act. He gave them the message that his God was now their God, his Father now their Father. He gave them (three times) the benediction “Peace be with you.” He said he was sending them just as the Father had sent him. He told them to “receive the Spirit.” He told them to make the forgiveness of sins a central point in their message.
The resurrection meant that the disciples were now a People who would enjoy Peace, demonstrate Purpose, exhibit Power, and announce Pardon.
In other words, the resurrection of Christ effected a reputation for Christians.
The disciples, after being empowered by the Spirit at Pentecost, began to live out this reputation in obedience to Christ’s commission in light of Christ’s resurrection. Believers today should live in light of the resurrection of Jesus, not just one day of the year, but every day of our new lives in him.