THE CARPENTER'S SHOP: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Dr. Barry Carpenter
Dr. Barry Carpenter

I just returned from Israel with other Christian believers where we retraced the steps of Jesus of Nazareth. The climax of our trip was at the Garden Tomb outside the city of Jerusalem where Christians remember his victory on that first Easter morning when he was raised from the dead after having been dead for three days. Near that tomb we celebrated Holy Communion and remembered the world’s greatest event.

All Christians will celebrate that empty tomb in just a few days. It is history’s most significant event. The validity of Jesus’ claims about Himself rests on the Resurrection — whether He rose from the dead or stayed in the grave.

Many skeptics say that to believe in a risen Christ is simply just a blind leap of faith with little or no basis in truth. But there are facts that lead an honest mind to admit that the Resurrection is a historical event based on irrefutable proofs.

My personal spiritual and intellectual journey has brought me to the firm conviction that a bodily resurrection is the only explanation for Christ’s empty tomb.

Christ predicted His resurrection. The Bible records, “From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.” Matthew 16:21 New Living Translation). Even though His followers did not understand what He was telling them at the time, they remembered His words and recorded them.

Jesus made numerous appearances to His followers. He comforted the mourners outside His tomb on Sunday morning. On the road to Emmaus, He explained things about Himself from the Old Testament. Later, He ate in their presence and invited them to touch Him. He was seen by more than 500 at one time. A few people could have agreed to a deception, but it is difficult to explain away the collaboration of 500 people.

The inexorable faith of the disciples convinces me of the Resurrection. Those disciples who were once so afraid became courageous and proclaimed the resurrection news, risking their very lives. Their unrelenting and courageous conduct does not make sense apart from their absolute certainty that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

The faith, life, and witness of the Christian church through the centuries confirm the Resurrection. Peter’s first sermon, which dealt with Christ’s resurrection, stirred people to receive Him as their living Savior. Luke records the thrilling results: "Three thousand souls were added the first day." (Acts 2:41). And that fledgling group of believers has multiplied until it now populates the world. Today, there are millions of believers, even those in original Bible lands giving their life as we write this for this Resurrection faith!

The witness of millions of transformed lives through the centuries shows the power of the Resurrection. Faith in Christ changes people!  It opens the mind and the heart.  It changes behavior.  It turns doubt into faith, pessimism into hope. Many have been delivered from addictions. Broken lives have been restored. The most irrefutable proof for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is his presence in the lives of believers today.

The resurrection is the summit of all of Scripture and it makes Christianity distinctive from all other religions. No other religious leader has overcome the power of death. The Resurrection confirms that Jesus is who He claimed to be.

The fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross does not prove in itself that Jesus is God. But the Resurrection proved that he was divine. Jesus proved His deity by fulfilling the prophecies of His death and by His return from the grave. The Bible declares that “by being raised from the dead Christ was proved to be the mighty Son of God, with the holy nature of God Himself” (Romans 1:4, The Living Bible).

The Resurrection proves Christ’s power to forgive sin. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). By rising from the dead, Jesus proved His authority and power to break the bonds of sin and to assure forgiveness and eternal life to all who accept His gift of salvation.

The Resurrection shows Christ’s power over death. “Christ rose from the dead and will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him” (Romans 6:9, TLB). The Resurrection gives believers victory over death as well and “lifts us up from the grave into glory along with Christ, where we sit with him in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6).

The Resurrection defeats God’s enemy. From the moment of his rebellion until the day of the cross Satan has fought to defeat the Kingdom of God. Satan thought he had dealt the final and decisive blow when Jesus died. But that was a serious miscalculation. The cross is God’s triumph. And the Resurrection punctuated it! Because of the Resurrection, Christians need never fear Satan or death again.

For 40 days after His death and resurrection, Christ appeared many times to His followers. On one occasion, He gathered the remaining 11 disciples on a mountain in Galilee and gave them His Great Commission. He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always” (Matthew 28:19,20).

Later on the Mount of Olives, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the gift of the Holy Spirit and then to take His message to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the world (Acts 1:4,5,8).

He disappeared into the clouds, leaving the disciples staring at Him in awe and worship. The ascension of Christ unleashed a global revolution. Because his mission in the flesh was completed Jesus Christ was exalted to His former glory. His life has shaped the course of history. But the Resurrection of Jesus Christ ranks as history’s most revolutionary event. The Resurrection is proof that Jesus is who he says he is and it validates his message of hope giving life to the whole world.  

Dr. Barry Carpenter is pastor of Destin United Methodist Church and can be reached at