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In Need of a Savior

  1. Who is Jesus?
    3  Digging Deeper
  2. Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?
    3  Digging Deeper
  3. What is the Covenant Jesus Offers?
    3  Digging Deeper
  4. Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?
    3  Digging Deeper
  5. What does Jesus' Resurrection Mean to Me?
    3  Digging Deeper
  6. Why Should I Be Like Jesus?
    3  Digging Deeper
  7. How Can I Find Life Through Death?
    3  Digging Deeper
  8. What Change Does God Expect of Me?
    3  Digging Deeper
  9. What Does it Mean to Repent?
    3  Digging Deeper
  10. How Can I Be Born Again?
    4  Digging Deeper

What teaching of Jesus makes him radically different from other teachers, wise men and philosophers?  It is that he claimed to be the Son of God come down from the Father God in heaventhat he would die a violent death on behalf of sinners and that he would be raised from the dead three days later.  Several times during his ministry Jesus told his disciples that these events would occur (as in Mark 8:31; 9:9, 31; 10:34).  All four gospels record the story of the crucifixion of Jesus, his burial in a rock tomb and his resurrection three days later.  The importance of these events is evidenced by the fact that half of the four Gospels are about the last week of Jesus’ ministry, his deathburial, resurrection and the events that followed.   

On the third day, his tomb was empty and he appeared to his disciples that day (as in Luke 24:1-49).  Over a period of forty days he gave his disciples many infallible proofs that he was bodily resurrected and alive (Acts 1:3).   He explained to them that these events were the fulfillment of prophecies written in the Scriptures hundreds of years before (Luke 24:32, 44-48).   When the disciples saw him, talked with him, ate with him and touched him, they became believers in his resurrection (John 20:19-29; Acts 10:38).  These appearances of the risen Christ radically changed their lives forever.  Before he ascended back to his Father, Jesus commissioned them,   

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)    

Ten days later, on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified, the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began preaching that Jesus had been raised from the dead and was Lord and Christ (Acts 2:22-36).  Three thousand people believed the message and were baptized (2:38-41).  The apostles went everywhere preaching that Jesus was the anointed one of God who was once dead but is now alive forevermore (as in 3:15; 4:10, 33; 5:30).  Throughout Acts, the letters and Revelation, all teaching about Jesus was based on the belief that he was raised from the dead and was Lord and Christ.  His apostles proclaimed, There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). 

If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then (1) Jesus was mistaken or lied about his resurrection, (2) the gospel documents are false and mythical, (3) something else must account for the empty tomb on Sunday morning, (4) all the disciples are liars about their claims to have seen him and been with him, (5) Jesus is dead and  cannot give help or assistance to anyone, (6) the church is built on fabrications and lies, (7)  the preaching of the apostles is false, and (8) the Christian faith is not any better than any other faith and (9) when we die, we have no hope but are dead and gone forever.   

Saul of Tarsus was converted when the risen Christ appeared to him (Acts 9:1-22).   He became the Apostle Paul and spent the next thirty years preaching Jesus and the resurrection.  He established congregations of believers throughout the Mediterranean world and wrote thirteen letters of the New Testament.  His faith in the risen Christ was so convicting that he died as a martyr for Jesus.  About A. D. 55, he wrote to the church at Corinth and detailed some appearances of Jesus in the resurrection.  He named the appearance of Jesus to James, Peter, the apostles, five hundred people at one time, and himself.  He wrote that if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then there is no hope in death for us, the preaching of the apostles is false and worthless, our faith is without merit, believers are still in their sins, all the dead have perished eternally, and if we only hope in Christ in this life, we are the most pitied people in the world (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).   

This makes clear that the resurrection is the foundation of Christianity.  Jesus said that he is “the way, the truth and the life”(John 14:6).  He said that he knows the Father and that no one can know the Father without him (Matthew 11:27).  If Jesus was raised from the dead, then his claims and the teachings are true.  If they are false, Jesus remains dead because God would not raise a fraud or a liar from the dead.