“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; … After that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:4-8
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 28:11-15
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the best attested facts on record. There were so many witnesses to behold it, that if we do in the least degree receive the credibility of men’s testimonies, we cannot and we dare not doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. It is all very easy for infidels to say that these persons were deceived, but it is equally foolish, for these persons could not every one of them have been so positively deceived as to say that they had seen this man, whom they knew to have been dead, afterwards alive; they could not all, surely, have agreed together to help on this imposture; if they did, it is the most marvellous thing we have on record, that not one of them ever broke faith with the others, but that the whole mass of them remained firm. We believe it to be quite impossible that so many rogues should have agreed for ever. They were men who had nothing to gain by it; they subjected themselves to persecution by affirming this very fact; they were ready to die for it, and did die for it. Five hundred or a thousand persons who had seen him at different times, declared that they did see him, and that he rose from the dead; the fact of his death having been attested beforehand. How, then, dare any man say that the Christian religion is not true, when we know for a certainty that Christ died and rose again from the dead? And knowing that, who shall deny the divinity of the Saviour? Who shall say that he is not mighty to save? Our faith has a solid basis, for it has all these witnesses on which to rest, and the more sure witness of the Holy Spirit witnessing in our hearts.
For meditation: The task of inventing myths in connection with the resurrection has always been left to the enemies of Christ. His followers had the more straightforward role of simply passing on what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20).
Part of nos. 66-67
14 July (Given on 17 February 1856)