“He is not here, for He has risen as He said.”
As someone who has sought to help people untangle the strands of their broken relationships I often come to a “He said…she said” stop sign. By this expression I mean that the discussion is reduced to two people saying conflicting things.
For example, the husband says that his wife did not tell him about a dental appointment and so he missed going to it. The wife on the other hand insists she did tell him. How can I ever determine the truth of the matter? I cannot decide the issue without another person coming forward and saying they heard her tell the husband of the appointment.
Concerning the resurrection event it seems that the people there at the time agree that they saw Jesus. Over and over again people in various setting claim to have seen Jesus alive. Some saw Him in the morning, some in the evening, some were alone, and even a group of 500 saw Him on one occasion. Some ate with Him, and some walked with Him. He appeared to them in rooms, on the road, at the sea shore and various other places.
Yet for all that, the actual scene of Jesus walking out of the tomb is not recorded anywhere in the Bible. What a strange thing for people who sought to tell others that He rose from the dead. If the disciples had invented a story of Jesus coming back from the dead, then the event itself ought to have been described in detail.
They record the body being taken down from the cross, placed in the tomb, the stone rolled across the mouth of the tomb, the Roman soldiers placed there as a guard against anyone who might seek to violate the tomb, but no one apparently saw Jesus emerge from the grave. If the disciples were not telling the truth when they spoke of the resurrection they missed the most important detail. If the disciples invented the story then omitting the exit from the tomb is ridiculous.
How are we to take the testimony of all these people on so many days, places, and circumstances? Everyone agrees that Jesus was a Teacher of the highest moral standards, even those who do not believe He rose from the dead. Also everyone alike believes that Jesus was an amazing Teacher whose lessons had a tremendous influence on the listeners.
How then can we reason that His followers were a pack of liars and fabricated the whole thing? People schooled in the laws of evidence have examined the witness of the disciples to the resurrection and found them credible. It appears that the testimony is valid and in a court of law would be accepted.
Some theologians today say that resurrections are impossible therefore the evidence, whatever it is, is false. They have decided the verdict before examining the evidence. They would never wish a judge in court to pronounce them guilty before they presented their evidence but they are willing to do it themselves in this instance.
Who do you believe? Will you go with the person who was not there or will you listen to honest witnesses who are judged to be telling the truth by how they tell the story? Easter is the greatest day in the Christian calendar. May you believe its message and tell others “He is risen indeed!”