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“. . . who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:3,4).

PHYSICALLY, JESUS WAS A DESCENDANT OF DAVID. But that does not tell the whole story about Him. He was also, as Paul said, “declared to be the Son of God . . . by his resurrection from the dead.” Even if a person had not been convinced by the other miracles Jesus performed (John 20:30,31), His resurrection could not be explained in any other way. If that took place, He was indeed the Son of God — and His gospel is to be believed and acted upon.

Jesus’ own disciples, especially the twelve apostles, are an interesting case. They had seen all of the miracles, and they had heard all of Jesus’ preaching. On some level, they had become believers (Matthew 16:13–16). But when Jesus was crucified, their hopes were dashed: He was dead, so how could He be the Messiah? But when they saw Him with their own eyes after His resurrection, they understood what the resurrection meant.

Thomas (who has often been called “Doubting Thomas”) was perhaps the hardest to convince. Not present when the Lord first appeared to the apostles after His resurrection, Thomas declared that he would need to see Jesus for himself. But later, when Jesus appeared and Thomas was present, Thomas drew exactly the right conclusion: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

If the resurrection took place, there is simply no other conclusion we can reach. And we can’t argue that the stories of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances were made up and later added to the records of His life. There simply wasn’t enough time for this myth-making process to occur. The New Testament documents began to be written within 20–30 years after the resurrection. Those who wrote them knew beyond a doubt whether the resurrection had taken place — and rather than deny an event which they knew had actually come to pass, they were willing to die for their testimony. Having been doubters, they became evangelists. And it was the resurrection that turned them around.

“The fact that Jesus did arise from the dead was the only thing that brought absolute conviction to the hearts of even his disciples that he was the Son of God. His resurrection from the dead left in their minds no trace of doubt” (Robertson L. Whiteside).

Gary Henry — +

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