And it came to pass, while they were perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel: and as they were affrighted and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them,
“Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:4-6a).
The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth represents the pinnacle of history (cf. Ephesians 3:11). Christians have based their faith and their claim that Jesus is the Christ squarely on the foundation on His resurrection. While there have been many prophets and holy men in days of old, none of them were raised from the dead! Christianity stands or falls based on the resurrection.
Enemies of Jesus and skeptics have tried to discredit or disprove the resurrection since it happened (cf. Matthew 28:11-15). Despite all attempts, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead has not been seriously challenged. His dispirited disciples first doubted, and then believed (cf. John 20). Jesus appeared to His twelve disciples and to over five hundred brethren (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-9). The historical evidence for the resurrection is as solid as evidence for any event known from the ancient world.
Belief in the resurrected Jesus made Lord is the centerpiece of the Christian faith. If Christ has not been raised, as Paul establishes, then Christians are a people most pitiable; if Christ was not raised, then Christians have believed in vain, and they remain in their sins (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). In truth, the death of Jesus would have meant little without the resurrection! But Jesus has been raised, and His resurrection provides hope for all who are truly His; for if we have shared in a likeness of His death in baptism and by being His servants, then we have the hope of sharing in His resurrection (cf. Romans 6:5). The resurrection, therefore, remains the central tenet of faith and hope for Christians.
At some point between late March and late April of each year, many people determine to observe the death and resurrection of Jesus. While it is good to remember the death and resurrection of our Lord, it is interesting to see how the early Christians in the Scriptures observed the death and resurrection of Jesus. We see that they assembled to “break bread” to remember Jesus’ death, following the example of Jesus Himself (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 11:23-26; cf. Matthew 26:26-29). This assembly was not on one particular day of the year, nor was it on Thursday night or Friday afternoon; it was on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Revelation 1:10)! It was God’s intention for His people to assemble weekly to remember and celebrate the resurrection, observing the Lord’s Supper as He has established. Such is what we seek to do, and we hope that you would desire to join us weekly as we celebrate the work of God, that Jesus is risen!
Ethan R. Longhenry