Refusing to Believe…
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
The most reliable book, the Bible, documents in great detail the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus! The gospel of Mark records the event of Jesus’ resurrection. Mark wrote that the resurrected Jesus “appeared first to Mary Magdalene,” Mark 16:9. Matthew and Luke also recorded the same incident.
The Apostle John wrote that Mary Magdalene ran to tell Peter. John recorded that Peter and John went to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. They had to see what Mary reported. After all they couldn’t just believe a woman’s testimony. They found that Mary had reported what she saw accurately.
Centuries earlier the writers of the Psalms prophesied of the person and work of Christ, E.G.: Psalms 2, 3, 8, 16, 22 and 23. Isaiah wrote of the “Suffering Servant” who would bear the sins of His people and reign forever, Isaiah 42-66.
Ancient historians also documented Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection, E.G. Josephus, “the Antiquities”.
The followers of Jesus all preached His resurrection. The church has continued to preach the resurrection of Jesus for 2,000 yrs. Persecution did not dampen or alter the message. It only served to spread it. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” as stated by Tertullian (160 – 225 AD).
Yet unbelief persists. The world has attempted every possible means to crush the truth of Jesus’ bodily resurrection and men continue in their refusal to believe!
Resurrection does not simply mean to be made alive again. Lazarus (John 11) was made alive again by Jesus simply commanding him to come out of the grave. Lazarus was resuscitated. He was made to live again as a mere mortal. Lazarus subsequently died as all men do. Jesus however was resurrected. He got out of the grave with a glorified body. He was seen as a man; He was recognized by those who knew Him. He ate with His disciples. Yet, He appeared to His disciples who were in closed rooms. He was able to move to another place in an instant. The resurrected Jesus ascended into heaven. The Lord of glory is physically in heaven. He rules all things from heaven. He is on the right hand of God, the place of power and authority.
The resurrected Jesus is called the “first born among many brothers”, Romans 8:29. All who are in Christ will receive glorified bodies like His when He comes again to judge the living and the dead. If we remain alive when Christ returns, we “shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet,” 1Corinthians 15:51, 52.
The biblical and historical evidence is overwhelming for Jesus’ resurrection. In light of so great a body of factual documentation, it would seem unlikely that men would persist in unbelief. But unbelief is all around us.
Jesus said the reason is that men loved darkness rather than light, John 3:19.
Every Lord’s Day, Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. The Christian Church changed the Sabbath Day for Worship to the first day of the week because of Jesus’ resurrection. Many will visit churches on each Lord’s Day, perhaps, some for the first time. Some only make it their practice to go to church two or three times a year. Prayers will be said. The Scriptures will be read. Everyone will be looking forward to an uplifting sermon from the Pastor. Yet the hearts of many will remain cold to the truth. There will likely be no acknowledgement of the impact of the Resurrection of Jesus on their lives.
Nevertheless, the place to be on each Sunday is a local church that proclaims the pure gospel. God has chosen the means by which He saves His people. God’s ordinary means to save the lost is the preaching of His word, Romans 10:14-17.
The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “The visible church… is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.”
My prayer for is that many would attend a local church where the word of God is faithfully preached, so that the word of God in concert with the Spirit of God will effectually call men and women to Himself.
I urge you to find a church shaped by God’s word rather than one that seeks to be like culture, and which is committed to making you “feel” better about yourself! Believe the truth!