Believing in the Resurrection of Jesus
How can we be believers in Jesus if we were not there and did not see him after he was raised from the dead? Here is how: We believe in the testimony of the witnesses who did!
The apostles of Jesus all turned away from him on the night he was arrested before his crucifixion. Peter even denied that he knew him. Later on, however, they all boldly proclaimed to the world that he was the Son of God, and was raised from the dead - and they were severely persecuted for doing so! How could they who fearfully denied him at the time of his arrest and crucifixion have later on become believers? It was because God raised Jesus from the dead and sent him to appear and speak to them, thereby changing their minds, hearts, and lives!
One of them, Thomas, who was not there when ten of the Apostles saw the resurrected Jesus, did not believe what they told him. A week later, Jesus appeared to them and to Thomas, and Thomas then became a believer. In response, Jesus told him something that is an encouragement for others of us who have not seen him:
“Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 – emphasis added)
Like those in the early days who had not seen Jesus themselves, but became believers because of the testimony of the Apostles, so can we! Let us put our faith in the fact that the Apostles would have never turned and become courageous, loving and sacrificial followers and proclaimers of Christ had they not seen him after his resurrection. God’s plan is that those of us who have not seen the resurrected Jesus may become believers because of the faithful, truthful testimony of the witnesses who actually did!
What about Saul of Tarsus? He was a vicious persecutor of the Disciples of Christ who later became a believer in Christ, and His Apostle. How did this change come about? As we see in the book of Acts, Jesus appeared to him as he was once again on his way to persecution, and he thus became a believer, repented, got baptized, and became a bold proclaimer of Christ. As a result, he was severely persecuted. He could not have made that change and gone through the sufferings that resulted from it if he had not actually seen the living, resurrected Christ. His truthful testimony about it is another reason we can all come to be believers!
Folks, even though we have not seen Jesus with our own eyes, we can believe in the sincere, faithful, and truthful testimonies of those who did. This is the solid, wise and logical reason for our faith.
Peter addressed and encouraged those in his day who had not actually seen Jesus.
In the verse below, he assures us all that he and his fellow apostles did not falsely, deceivingly invent the amazing stories that they told about Jesus:
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)
Next, he assures us that even though we have not seen Jesus, and do not see him now, we can still love him and believe in him:
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)
May we all be confident believers in Christ, trusting in the truthful, courageous and loving testimony of the witnesses who saw Him after his resurrection!