Why Should You Think It Incredible?

by Hugh DeLong

The death of Jesus was a stumbling block. The resurrection of Jesus also causes many to stumble. In preaching to the Athenian philosophers, Paul testified that God had raised Jesus from the dead. "Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked" (Acts 17:34).

When Paul stood before King Agrippa, he stated: "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe" (Acts 26:27). Earlier Paul had said: "Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?" (Acts 26:8). To believe in the prophets is to believe in God. Believing in God makes the raising of the dead credible.

Beginning with God, it is not hard to believe in a resurrection. In the beginning, He made a body out of dust and breathed into it the breath of life. Surely it is not more difficult to raise a dead body then it was to create it in the first place.

With such belief in the resurrection of Jesus, it becomes easy to affirm the rest of the story. The virgin birth? Such is no more difficult than the resurrection from the dead. Healing the lame, blind, and infirm? Casting out demons? Calming a storm? Walking on water? Believing in the resurrection of the dead is a belief in the very power and ability of God.

Modern man has begun at the wrong point as they think about Jesus. Many scholars start with the denial of any and all miracles. Such is purely unbelief in the nature and power of God. Beginning with the denial of miracle leads them to a denial of the resurrection of Jesus. With the denial of the resurrection of Jesus, they end up denying our resurrection.

I find it incredible that men would believe in God and not believe in the resurrection. Paul wrote: "For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied" (I Corinthians 15:16-19).

Unbelief in the resurrection leaves us in the same hopeless situation as unbelievers in God. We live, we die, and we perish forever. There is nothing to hope for beyond dying. There is no justice against those who do evil. There is no reward for living godly. It matters not in the whole scheme of things whether one lives godly like Paul or completely wickedly like Stalin. Life is futile.

But, Christ has risen. God does exist. There will be a resurrection of the just and the unjust. There is eternal life in the presence of God. Thanks be to the Lord who was raised from the dead.