1. Because I want to live somewhere better, forever, and so do you.
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Like you, I want to live in a place of perfect justice.
Like you, I want to live in a place where there is peace and rest and nothing harmful.
Like you, I want to live in a place where there is endless discovery and stimulation of all of my senses.
Like you, I want to live in a place of endless love and joy.
But I will not trust my future with anyone else other than Jesus – he is risen and reigns over all of heaven and earth – he is not bound by death and gravity and sin like we are – he rose victorious from the grave and will return to give to all who turn to him in faith, repenting of their sins – a better place, forever – with him.
2. Because I can’t explain the fame of Jesus without his Resurrection.
There is no reasonable explanation for Jesus’ popularity except for the resurrection. Every famous person has a reason for their popularity. And regardless of the reason whether good or bad, the reason must be true in order for the world to accept it. Jesus is not famous because he was crucified. The Romans crucified tens of thousands of men all over the known world and scripture records that Jesus was crucified as a common criminal.
Jesus is famous because his followers spread the news that he was alive though they saw him crucified and buried (Acts 1:1-11). His followers did not spread the news that he was a good teacher, or that he was “on a mission from God” in the super-hero sense, but that he rose from the dead as Lord who is fully God in flesh and is coming again.
3. Because I can’t explain the life of Saul/Paul apart from the Resurrection of Jesus.
Acts 9:1 says that Saul was breathing out murder against followers of Jesus Christ, but after seeing the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, 9:22 says that Saul was proving to others that Jesus really was the risen Christ. It makes no sense that Saul would do an about-face like this except for undeniable, “beyond a shadow of a doubt” proof that Jesus was alive.
Paul, as his renaming from Christ would take place, then lived his life in such a way that would be insane and nonsensical if Jesus was still dead. No one in their right mind would suffer so much for preaching a lie – but “Jesus is Alive” was no lie! In Paul’s own words, this is what he was willing to suffer to proclaim that Christ is Risen:
“ . . . with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” 2 Cor. 11:23-27
If Christ was not raised from the dead, Paul would never have subjected himself to such hardship – no one would. There would be nothing to gain if Christ was still dead.
4. Because of the hostility that Jesus stirs up in the world.
Jesus is the most polarizing subject in the world. The identity of Jesus and his claims are attacked at every level of society. He is more vilified in the public square, in movies, books, music, education, art, and religion – than any other religious figure in human history. Why? Because Jesus stands in the way of what mankind wants. Mankind wants to earn and work his way to eternal life. Man wants to believe that he is good enough to achieve god-like existence on his own terms. Man wants to make the rules and determine what is right and wrong in his own eyes. Man wants to make the way to Nirvana – broad and easy – protecting all of his sinful appetites and deny himself nothing. Man wants to keep his life to himself as the highest aim and goal. Man wants to be wealthy, healthy, and famous in his own strength so that he gets all the praise and glory.
But Jesus stands in the way of all of that. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life – so that no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). His way is hard and narrow – and few find it (Matt. 7:13-14), and he calls you to lose your life for his sake so that you may keep it (Matt. 10:34-38). He calls all men everywhere to turn away from your sin with repentance, trusting only in his sinless life and death for your sins and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead – and that he alone is Lord. This is why the Rulers in Jesus’ day hated him so much: Jesus was calling everyone to abandon all allegiance to man and turn to him alone.
5. Because the Bible is honest about our doubts, our questions, and skepticism of Jesus.
I find it more than curious that Scripture is so honest about our doubts regarding what it claims as truth, and for that honesty, I believe in the Resurrection of Jesus. We have doubts and questions and are skeptical to propositions and will not entrust ourselves until there is proof. Though we are liars and fabricate truth and delete facts to shape people’s opinion, we do not want to be lied to, and we do not want misrepresentation. God is aware of this.
Acts 1:3 records that Jesus gave many “proofs” of his resurrection. Throughout Luke’s gospel and his sequel, Acts, he cites dates, names of people, and roads and gates and cities and passage ways, and islands and people groups, quotations that can be verified, names and dates of kings and rulers and court documents, and first-hand eye witnesses, so as no perjury or fraud can be found anywhere in what Luke is saying.
Scripture records that Jesus’ life and his resurrection did not take place in a corner (Acts 26:24-29), hidden out-of-sight. But so that when truth claims are made about Jesus, people’s questions, doubts, and skepticism will be answered. Doubting Thomas does not believe the report of Jesus’ resurrection – he must see for himself: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). What does Jesus do? He accommodates Thomas’ inquiry (vs. 27).
Some of Jesus’ half-brothers did not believe in him – they doubted his claims and his resurrection (Matthew 28:10, 16) even though he’s standing right in front of them days after he was crucified and buried.
Truth is: We want proof – or we will not believe. The bible does not show Christians as mind-numbed zombies following Jesus. We follow Jesus out of well-reasoned consideration of the facts. But what ultimately persuades the heart is the Holy Spirit, testifying to you, awakening you out of your dark and rebellious dungeon that Jesus is Alive (1 John 5:6-12). Therefore, Jesus himself does not mince his words:
Confess Christ as Savior and Lord or perish. (John 3:16)
“If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” – John 10:37-38.