Jesus' death and resurrection are affirmations and proofs of his deity and encouragement for all his disciples. Jesus rises again from the grave after perishing on the cross. In Matthew 20.28, Jesus says, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Saint Paul seeks to prove the case for Jesus' death and resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.12-15, "But if it is preached that Christ is risen from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ is risen. And if Christ does not rise, our preaching is useless, and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if the dead do not rise." The hope of the resurrection is a reality for all born-again believers. Saint Paul then adds, "But if I preached that Christ had been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ is risen. And if Christ has not risen, our preaching is useless, and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if the dead do not rise."✞
Dr. Scott Munger of Biblica, who publishes the New International Version of the Bible and is a former agnostic who came to faith in Christ, writes of the proofs of the death of Jesus,
* Severe physical damage is inflicted upon Jesus' body
* Jesus is whipped, beaten, and crucified by Roman soldiers, who have done this before.
* Soldiers strike him in the side with a spear.
* Water and blood come out of the wound in his side, indicating severe internal damage.
* Despite agonizing torture and significant loss of bodily fluids, he has nothing to drink for many hours.
* The soldiers check the bodies on the three crosses and don't break Jesus' legs because they believe he is already dead.
* Those who bury Jesus' body wrap it in tight clothes. They have seen dead bodies before.
* He is put in a cold rock tomb sealed with a heavy stone and guarded by soldiers.✞
Together these treatments will kill a person. Surviving such treatment would require a miracle. Though Jesus performed many miracles upon others, he never spoke about escaping death. On the contrary, he says he came to die and would undoubtedly perish.✞
The testimonies about Jesus death are consistently reliable,
* The soldiers who crucified him believe he has died. They knew the end when they saw it.
* Pilate is convinced that Jesus is dead.
* The historical accounts of Mathew, John, and Mark state that he dies.
* A physician and proven historian, Luke, interviews many people and writes about Jesus and his death.
* The other disciples and followers of Jesus believe that he has died.
* First and second-century secular writers like Tacitus and Josephus also speak of Jesus' death.✞
Saint Paul argues that Jesus had indeed died and then rose from the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15.20-23, he concludes, "But Christ has indeed risen from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in his turn, Christ, the first fruits, then, when he comes, those who belong to him." Saint Paul was here stating that just as Adam died, so must all human beings die too. But as Jesus rose from the dead, then all disciples of Jesus will also rise to be with their Lord forever in Heaven. What a beautiful thought this is!✞
When Jesus' heavenly reign begins, Christians will know him and see him as their Lord and their King. Everything will be under Christ. Saint Paul writes to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 15.24-25 about Jesus' heavenly reign. He explains, "Then the end will come when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power, for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. This last part, he 'has put everything under his feet'" is quoted from Psalm 8.6, "You made them rulers," meaning "made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet."✞
When Saint Paul says, "everything" had been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself. When he does this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who puts everything under him, so that God may be all in all. To know Jesus is to know God, the Heavenly Father. John 8.19 explains, "Then they asked him, 'Where is your father?' 'You do not know my Father or me,' Jesus replies. 'If you knew me, you would know my Father also.'" Again in John 14.7, Jesus says to his disciples, "If you know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." Some manuscripts read, "If you knew me, you would know my father as well." The NIV Study Bible comments, "Once more Jesus stresses the intimate connection between the Father and himself. Jesus brought a full revelation of the Father so that the Apostles had a real knowledge of him." To see Jesus was to see God the Father. Jesus further explains in John 12.45, "The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me." The Expositors Study Bible teaches, "This had to be done by faith because Christ in his human form offered no expression of deity."✞
To believe Jesus Christ and honor him is also to accept and honor his Father in Heaven. On one occasion in John 14.9, Jesus answers a question from Philip. He says, " 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.' How can you say, 'Show us the Father'" To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe in God the Father, asserts Jesus. Then, to emphasize this, Jesus states in John 12.44, " 'Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me." To reassure his hearers, Jesus again says in John 14.1, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, also believe in me."✞
To believe in Jesus and to receive him and is to receive God the Father also. Jesus emphasizes this truth in Mark 9.37, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but the one who sent me." Jesus makes it clear that not to believe in him is the same as not believing in God. He says in John 15.23, "Whoever hates me hates my Father as well." To believe and honor Jesus is to honor God. Therefore John writes in John 5.23, " that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him."✞