I delivered to you . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
–1 Corinthians 15:3-4
The editor of a religious magazine received the following letter: “Dear Sir: Our preacher said on Easter that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, but He simply fainted and His disciples lovingly nursed Him back to health. What do you think?”
The reader received this reply: “Dear Reader: Beat your preacher with a cat-o’-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross, hang him in the sun for six hours, run a spear through his heart, embalm him, put him in an airless tomb for 72 hours, and see what happens.”
Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is a well-documented event. But equally documented is the single most important event in human history–the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Is the claim of Jesus’ resurrection something that only fools believe? Is it an example of “fake news” that was spread by His overzealous followers? Or is the resurrection the single most important fact in human history that has tremendous implications for your life as well?
First, let’s look at the prophecy of the resurrection. Our entire faith rests on the integrity of the Bible. Our beliefs about Heaven, Hell, salvation, judgment, and faith all come from the Bible. But how do we know this book is really God’s Word to us and not a collection of men’s ideas about God? What separates the Bible from the Qur’an or other religious writings?
The answer is fulfilled prophecy. Examine the teachings of Confucius, Buddha, and Muhammad, and you won’t find specific prophecies. Why? These men could not predict the future. Had they tried, their religious movements would have been instantly discredited because of their failure.
Unlike other writings, the Bible is filled with over 6,000 prophecies, and 3,000 have already been fulfilled. For example, in Isaiah 45, Isaiah prophesied that a man named Cyrus would become king of Persia and would defeat the mighty nation of Babylon and would set the Jews free from Babylonian captivity. Isaiah wrote his prophecy around 700 BC. When Isaiah wrote, Israel was not in bondage to Babylon, and Cyrus had not even been born. Yet 150 years later, Israel was in bondage to Babylon, Babylon was defeated by Persia, Cyrus was king of Persia, and in 538 BC Cyrus released the Jews from Babylon to return home.
Just imagine in 1861, when Abraham Lincoln was president, someone predicting that one day a man named George Herbert Walker Bush would be president and would defeat Saddam Hussein, the ruler of Iraq, in a six-week war, which is exactly what happened in 1991. There is no way such a thing could happen unless it was from God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Resurrection: Foolish, Fake News, Or Fact?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.