Blog Devotionals

How do we know if the resurrection is true?

April 3, 2023 | Sam Rainer

The resurrection is true, and Jesus is alive! But how can we know? Our faith hinges on the reality of the resurrection. Remove Jesus’ resurrection, and our faith is worthless. Without an empty tomb, Christianity becomes religious moralism. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then all eternity is in question.

Easter Sunday is an early church tradition, dating back to the 100s and firmly established by 300 A.D. Where did Easter originate? The day is an early church tradition. Likely, the earliest Jewish Christians transferred their Passover observance to that of Easter, focusing on Jesus’ resurrection. At the same time, the church included Good Friday, focusing on the crucifixion. Church tradition is important, showing the earliest Christians believed in Jesus’ resurrection.

There were hundreds of eyewitnesses! In the book of Acts, the early church based its mission on Jesus’ resurrection. The gospel writers believed Jesus rose from the grave. The Apostle Paul recognizes the necessity of the resurrection in his first letter to the church at Corinth. “And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:14 (NLT)

In 1 Corinthians 15:3, Paul uses language that implies the early church had passed down the truth of the resurrection by oral tradition. I like how the New American Standard Bible says: “I delivered to you what I also received.”

Paul wrote this letter in the mid-50s, so he is delivering an older oral tradition. Where did he get it? Likely in the later 30s from church leaders in Jerusalem (this exchange is recorded in Galatians 1). The resurrection creed dates between two and five years after Jesus’ death! So what? Why is this part of Paul’s writing important? The Bible confirms the resurrection account everywhere in the New Testament. There were eyewitnesses and no known disputes with those who saw Jesus resurrected. The church believed in the resurrection from the very beginning. The doctrine was not added later.

Frankly, it takes more faith not to believe in the resurrection than it does to say the tomb is empty. The resurrection is true, and Jesus is alive! See you on Easter Sunday.