For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (NIV).
This is the central by-product of the entire Bible. The central fact, the central event, the central purpose of the Bible is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every verse in the Old and New Testaments testifies to this centrality, specifically the death of Jesus. God’s plan for salvation was fulfilled – “It is finished” – in that moment on Calvary when Jesus ceased to breathe. Everything since the fall of Adam and Eve had led up to it, and everything that has happened in history since has happened because of it.
Including the resurrection of the dead. No, of course that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s coming. Our loved ones who have died believing in this Jesus they haven’t seen are coming back. When you and I die in that belief, we’re coming back too. Make bank on it. How can you know? Why can you be sure?
Because He died. Because He lived and said He would be killed and that He would rise. Then He died and rose exactly as He said He would. If the central fact of the Bible is the death of Jesus, then the first by-product effect of that is resurrection.
There’s more proof of this central fact of history than there are of the 18 missing minutes of Richard Nixon’s tapes, what happened on the Grassy Knoll, of Russian collusion, or of what really happened at Roswell. The death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth are better corroborated than the lives or deaths of nearly every ruler in the ancient world, of nearly every celebrity before modern communication, of nearly every professor or bureaucrat who has ever lived. If you say you need proof, there is more proof in the four Gospels of the life of Christ than there is of nearly any other person, alive or dead, in all of human history. That doesn’t even count the works of Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, dozens of Jewish critics, and hundreds of people of the first and second centuries.
Jesus said He was real and it was proven. He also said He would die and rise, and that those who believed in Him would live with Him forever. It was a statement; it was a promise; it was a guarantee. It was proof that His word was 100% reliable in all ways at all times. When Jesus comes back, He will raise the dead who have died believing in Him and we will live with Him forever in in a world of wonder that we can’t begin to fathom.
Believe it. Believe in it.
For further reading: Romans 14:9, 1 Corinthians 5:3, 2 Corinthians 5:15, 1 Corinthians 15:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:15.
Lord, I believe You will resurrect me. Thank You for dying the death I deserve, and for promising to bring us all back.