[Paul had just shared his journey to faith that centered on the resurrection of Jesus.] Suddenly, Festus shouted, "Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!"
— Acts 26:24 NLT
While many of us instinctively yearn for life after death, the physical resurrection of someone from death is outside our experience. Death looks and feels final. Death results in the departure of someone from our presence and the rapid decay of the human body. For many, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a stumbling block to their faith in him as God's son, a great teacher, and someone to follow. However, the resurrection of Jesus from death, along with his victory over sin, death, and hell for us through that resurrection, is the foundation of our Christian faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-7). Paul clearly stated:
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (1 Corinthians 15:14).
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead was an event verified by witnesses who lived deep into the first century.* The testimony of their change from fear to bold faith demonstrated their conviction that God raised Jesus from the dead and that Jesus appeared to them. He helped them understand the reality of his resurrected body by allowing them to hear him, see him, touch him, and watch him eat in their presence.** Jesus' resurrection is fundamental for our faith in him as Messiah and Lord. So, do you believe?
Father, trusting in the resurrection of Jesus is sometimes a challenge. Death feels so final. I am thankful for the changes I see in the apostles after they met the resurrected Jesus. Their fearfulness during his arrest, trials, and crucifixion is understandable. Their sudden boldness after meeting their resurrected Lord is inspiring. Giving their lives to share Jesus' message is a powerful testimony to me of their absolute conviction of the resurrection. They knew that you raised Jesus from the dead and that his resurrection brought them victory over sin, death, and hell. O, Holy Spirit, fill me with their conviction and empower me to live with their boldness. I pray this in the powerful name of my resurrected Lord, Jesus, the Messiah. Amen.