John 20 – Jesus Rose That You May Believe

Study the Gospel accounts of who Jesus was, what He taught, His astounding claims, the miracles He performed, and the prophecies He fulfilled. On more than one occasion He predicted His own death and resurrection (Matt. 16:21Luke 9:22John 2:19-22; 16:16-20, 28). His encounter with doubting Thomas shows that His purpose was to bring Thomas into a place of full faith in His deity. When Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God,” Jesus did not rebuke or correct him for overstating things. Rather, Jesus commended Thomas’ correct perception and faith (John 20:27-29). A merely good teacher, especially a devout Jewish rabbi, would never accept such worship from a follower.

Everything in the Gospel accounts about Jesus’ person and teaching argues against His being a charlatan or lunatic. The only sensible option is that He is who He claimed to be: the eternal Son of God in human flesh, the Messiah of Israel. He offered Himself for our sins and God raised Him bodily from the dead. He wants those of us who have not seen Him to believe in Him (John 20:29).

The British New Testament scholar, B. F. Westcott (cited by Josh McDowell, More Than a Carpenter[Living Books], pp. 96-97) said, “Taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ.” You may wonder, “If the evidence is so convincing, why don’t more people believe it?” The answer is: people refuse to believe in Jesus’ resurrection because it has personal implications that they do not want to face. If Jesus is risen, then He is the rightful Lord of all and I must turn from my sin and live under His lordship. Because people don’t want to do that, they refuse to believe in Jesus in spite of the evidence.

Faith in Christ is not a blind leap in the dark. It is based on the apostolic witness, which is to say, the eyewitness testimony of credible men. I’ve always been bothered by the line in the hymn, “He Lives”: “You ask me how I know He lives; He lives within my heart.” That is completely subjective. The reason I know He lives is that he predicted His resurrection and the apostles and many others saw Him after He arose.

Wilbur M. Smith concluded (Therefore Stand [Baker], p. 419, cited by McDowell, Evidence, p. 187): “If our Lord said, frequently, with great definiteness and detail, that after He went up to Jerusalem He would be put to death, but on the third day He would rise again from the grave, and this prediction came to pass, then it has always seemed to me that everything else that our Lord ever said must also be true.” When you tell people about Jesus, emphasize that they need to believe in Him because He truly is risen and He is coming again to judge the living and the dead.

Steven J Cole


Read John 20.  Why is it important to affirm that our faith rests on the objectively true, historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection, not on subjective feelings?  Why must genuine faith in Christ go beyond assent to the facts and include repentance and surrender to His lordship?

Praise the King by Shane and Shane

Posted on: April 2, 2021 - 5:32PM

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