Jesus Physically Rose Again & Ascension | Devotion #3: Luke 24:5-7
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor
Is it all a scam? Did Jesus die and rise from the dead? This question and its implications are vital for us to consider as believers. For without a literal raising from the dead, all of Christianity is in vain. As Paul states in one of his letters to the early church, our faith is “useless” if Jesus did not rise.
There are many skeptics. Some will say it was an illusion organized by His followers. Others say Jesus did not die on the cross, and therefore He never had to rise from the dead (although Mark chapter 15 tells us Pilate carefully made sure He was dead). Some critics say that Jesus did die, but the disciples kidnapped His body (even though Matthew chapter 27 tells us the tomb was guarded by Roman Soldiers). Here are a couple of points I think are very helpful when considering Christ’s resurrection.
First, take time to read Luke chapter 24. You will read about a few ladies traveling to Jesus’ grave on the first day of the week to finish preparing His body for burial. When the women arrive at the tomb, they find the stone rolled away and the body of Jesus gone. Instead of being excited, they were perplexed and afraid. Immediately, the women left to tell the disciples what they had found. But rather than believing Jesus rose from the dead (as Jesus had claimed He would), the disciples themselves believed the women to be lying. It was not until later when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room that they finally believed.
Luke 24:10-11 says, “Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”
Next, the Bible teaches that Jesus spent 40 days on Earth after His resurrection. Acts chapter 1 gives an account of the final interaction between Jesus and His disciples before He ascends to Heaven. Jesus gives the disciples instructions on how to live after He is gone. After the ascension, Scripture reveals the determination and passion of the disciples to live out the call given by Jesus. But the disciples were met with much opposition. In Acts 12:1-3, we read, “Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.” In this passage, we learn that James, the brother of John (the disciple) was killed for his belief in Christ. Other accounts reveal many were beaten and killed because of their faith in Christ and the resurrection.
Therefore, knowing the disciples were under severe persecution and even martyred for their faith in Christ, there is another question I must ask myself regarding the disciples and the resurrection of Jesus, “Why would the disciples be willing to die for their faith in Jesus if it was just a hoax and He did not really rise from the dead?” In other words, why would the disciples put their lives on the line for something they knew to be a lie? It does not make sense.
Rather, the accounts of the disciples provide compelling evidence that Jesus did rise from the grave, appeared to the disciples, and inspired the disciples to give their lives so that many would come to know Jesus as Messiah.
Personally, you must also consider the questions, “Did Jesus rise?” and “Why would the disciples give their lives for the Christ?” If you believe He rose from the dead, then Jesus is God; and if He is God, He deserves all of our worship and praise. How will you live out your life to glorify and praise Him as our resurrected Messiah?