The Resurrected Jesus
Wanbing Frank Li, PhD
Christian faith is characterized by its claim of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, which is a prophecy, a historical event and continuous work of the Spirit of God. These facts serve as proves of Christian faith.
Prophecy of Resurrection
The death and resurrection of Christ was prophesized long before the incarnation of Christ.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)
The Bible Old Testament prophesized the death of Jesus Christ:
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. … He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:4-10)
What happened to Jesus was exactly as the Old Testament prophesized. Jesus suffered for our sins and died as the guilt offering for us so that we can be freed from the bondages of punishments we deserve.
Through a psalm of David, God said he would resurrect his Holy One, Christ Jesus:
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (Psalms 16:10, NKJ) Jesus was resurrected as the Bible said.
Witnesses of Resurrection
The resurrection of Christ was a bodily one. After resurrection, Jesus had a physical body. People could touch him. He could eat and drink:
And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. (Luke 24:41-43)
The Scripture prophesized the resurrection, and Jesus told his disciples about it, but they did not understand it. So the resurrected Jesus needs to explain to them again.
He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:46-48)
The disciples lived with their master, and now they see the bodily resurrected Jesus Christ, therefor they understand what Jesus told them is true. They are greatly encouraged.
Now Jesus told them to wait for the Holy Spirit to give the power to continue the ministry he started.
Power of the Holy Spirit
I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)
The foundation of Christianity is not just historical facts but also a continual work of the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.
Those disciples and their ministries are the testimonies of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus was arrested, his disciples were so scared that most of them disappeared from public eyes. But after they saw the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes, and received the power from the Holy Spirit, they were willing and able to dedicate their life for what they believed. After the resurrected Jesus left the world, his disciples went out to preach the gospel, for which all of them gave up their lives. They chose to die for Christ because they saw the resurrected Christ.
The continual existence of the Christian Church is a testimony for the resurrection of Christ. For near 300 years, Christians were under persecution. Many Christians died because of their faith. Yet the Christian Church continued to grow because of the work of the Holy Spirit.
The continual work of the Holy Spirit today in God’s people is the strongest proof of the historical fact of the resurrection. The Holy Spirit has been transforming the lives of God’s people so that they are more like the Son of God, and are able to live a life to glorify God. That is the proof of the resurrected Jesus Christ in our heart today.
Many unbelievers have tried very hard to disprove the fact of resurrection of Jesus Christ and failed. Christianity is not just a series of good stories. Christianity is based on the revelations of God, historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and continual work of the Holy Spirit in the disciples of Christ at the beginning of church, during the church history, and in the hearts of Christians today.