Two of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew and John, started to follow Him around one day (John 1:37). They knew something was special about Jesus after they heard Him speak. Before we say anything more about following Jesus or about reaching out to God for peace, let’s focus on the absolute bottom-
line issue concerning Jesus. Is He alive and therefore who He claimed to be? It really boils down to this. If Jesus is dead, I can still be a fan of His, but I cannot follow Him! Think about Elvis.
Has anyone seen Elvis since 1977? Some claim they have. These, I have found, are not claims of resurrection but claims that he never really died. There is a King, however, who was seen by over 500 witnesses. The gospel is anchored to this fact!
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that, He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that, He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
King Jesus, alone, truly died and came back to life forevermore. How are we to view such a person with such claims? For starters, let’s take a field trip. We’re going to visit all of the funeral homes in the Memphis metro area. We can view people at their last debut—their wake. We can also go back and see those being prepped for their final viewing. I guarantee you that no one will get up out of their casket. I also guarantee, that upon interviewing all the funeral home employees, no one will have a story of any customer’s dead loved ones coming back to life. We could tour all the world’s graves, and we would not find that any of them have been self-vacated…except for one.
It isn’t that it is simply rare. Resurrection is limited to one person. Though He Himself raised persons from the dead during His earthly ministry, these would later die. If Jesus came back from the dead, nothing else really matters. End of story. Put a period on it. If Jesus Christ rotted in a grave and is now dust, forget Him. Don’t waste your time studying his exemplary life or captivating teachings. And, if Christ has not been raised, I need to get an honest job, and I certainly don’t need to conduct any more funerals. There is nothing comforting left to say!
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Don’t attempt to find value in the Bible by trivializing it as good ancient literature. If it’s fraudulent, forget it. Forget Jesus. Forget Him and Christianity. What I really want to say is, “Live your own life and forget this Jesus stuff!” BUT, if He got up on Sunday, having been dead since Friday night, forget every other religion and philosophy. Forget your selfish ambitions. Leave all and follow Him! Read His words and the words God gave His Apostles. Turn everything on its head in order to reorient your life to the Nazarene carpenter’s adopted son (remember the Scripture claims His conception was virginal). His mom had never had sex. She was not a recipient of anything from Joseph! So the choice before you has to do with the identity of Christ. Did He really rise from the dead? I hope you get the answer right. Getting it wrong could mean that you waste a whole lot of time in a religion (if Christ is a fraud… dead, buried, and gone). On the other hand, if Christ is God in the flesh, through Him you can miss eternity in hell with the devil and demons.