I recently saw a question online asking if Christians really believe Jesus came back from the dead. It was obvious that the question comes from the point of view that people don’t do that; come back to life that is. Jesus was a man, he died, and it seems unreasonable to think that he came back to life three days later. Maybe he was a wise teacher with many followers, maybe it is not crazy that we study his sermons and emulate his behavior but do we really believe he rose from the dead and appeared again alive to his disciples and others? Fasten your seatbelts.
Christians believe that God created everything that exists. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:3) We believe the world and everything in it was spoken into existence, with the exception of men and women who are made by God in his image. We believe that a coming Messiah (Hebrew anointed one) was prophesied thousands of years before Jesus was born. We believe that Jesus is God – and God is Jesus – and that he exists from everlasting to everlasting as part of the triune Godhead. He put on a robe of flesh and walked the earth as incarnate deity. We believe Jesus is the Christ (Greek anointed one), the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. His birth, death and resurrection were prophesied in the Old Testament. Isaiah 53 offers a detailed account of the crucifixion 800 years before hand, at a time when the Jews stoned people to death and had never seen a person crucified.
So if you believe Jesus is himself the way, the truth and the life, (John 14:6) that God made man out of clay and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, (Genesis 2:7) if you believe Jesus’ own claim that he is eternal, (John 8:58) then it’s not hard to believe what he said in the days before the crucifixion, that he has the power to lay down his life and the power to take it up again. (John 10:8) Jesus was not just resurrected, he is the resurrection. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in the heart of every believer. If we die with Christ, the Apostle Paul writes, we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8)
Do Christians really believe that Jesus came back from the dead? Absolutely, and that’s not even the hard part. For the Christian it is much harder to believe that he loved us while we were still sinners and was willing to die in our place. That is the great mystery of the Gospel.