Primarily, Jesus Lives is about the Easter story based on the written testimony of six witnesses – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul and Peter. These testimonies are supported by the testimony of the whole primitive Church. Anderson J Norman in one of his works, ‘The Evidence of Resurrection,’ addressed an increasingly skeptical culture in which speculative theories ‘examines the validity of the events that surround the resurrection of Jesus.’
The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian belief that God raised Jesus after his crucifixion as first of the dead, starting his exalted life as Christ and Lord. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central truth of the Christian faith. Without it there is no such thing as the Christian faith. Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians gives a detailed list of several resurrection appearances which according to Anderson, ‘there is scarcely a scholar who has doubted the genuineness’ of Jesus’s resurrection.’ Resurrection as the focal point of the New Testament and the message of the early Christians was stated in the simple truth by Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy, ‘Jesus Christ, risen from the dead (2 Tim 2:8).
Anderson explained that Mark’s Gospel which represents Peter’s oral teaching is another evidence of the ‘resurrection appearances, preceded by the story of the empty tomb.’ In essence, the objection that ‘Jesus was a mythological figure’ is invalid and inaccurate because ‘evidence for Jesus Christ resurrection comes from many written documents from the first century and several witnesses report appearances of Jesus Christ after the resurrection.
Jesus Lives as Easter miracle and story reminds us again that Jesus was not just a compassionate person, a charismatic leader, a great Prophet and teacher. Beyond that, Jesus is the Messiah who came from heaven as the Saviour to die for the forgiveness of our sins (Jn 4:16-26, Matt 26:26-32). Easter, beyond skeptics objections overrule the deception that Jesus’ followers made the resurrection up. Throughout the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, including the Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the disciples fled in fear to hide themselves in the Upper Room. The disciples initially did not believe Mary’s report of the empty tomb until Jesus appeared before them.
Jesus Lives as Easter story, beyond skeptics’ objections is not just a moral and philosophical movement or mythological theory. Easter based on sociological evidence suggests that the resurrection was a historical event. Among other skeptics’ theories that Jesus did not die on the cross; that Jesus’ body was stolen; or that everyone went to the wrong tomb, using the words of Anderson points to deliberate invention. According to Anderson, most of the theories are ‘impossible both psychologically and ethically. The disciples were not the sort of people who could have carried through such an enterprise, by any stretch of imagination; nor can such a fraud be reconciled with their characters and subsequent behaviour.’
In the words of Apostle Paul, if Christ has not been raised, the following objections would be true: ‘Christian preaching is empty and so in anyone’s faith because the object of the faith, Christ, is not whom He said He was; The apostles are liars for testifying to a resurrection that did not occur; No forgiveness has been granted for anybody’s sin; Those who have died believing in Christ have not hope; If hope in Christ is limited to this life, Christians are to be pitied above all people.’ Beloved, there is meaning for humanity because Christ is Risen. Resurrection points to the gospel message – Christ died, Christ was buried, Christ was raised, and Christ appeared. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is the basis for the future resurrection of humans. Our physical bodies are characterised by corruption; they are subject to decay. These bodies are dishonourable and weak in comparison to God. But our resurrected will not decay, but will be filled with God’s glory and made alive by His power. The present natural body is suited for this present world, but the spiritual body will be suited for eternity (1 Cor 15:42-50). Remember, the ‘resurrection of Jesus is a testimony to the general resurrection of all humans, which will be followed by the dispensing of God’s justice; to the righteous there will be a “resurrection of life” and to the unrighteous a “resurrection of condemnation” (Jn 5:28-29, Rev 20:4-6).