A: Beyond doubt, Jesus was dead when His body was taken down from the cross; the Roman soldiers who’d nailed Him to the cross made certain of it. Remember, too, that His body was then placed in a cave-like tomb, which was sealed with a stone weighing hundreds of pounds.
And yet, on the third day after His death, Christ was alive, appearing not only to the women who first came to the tomb to anoint His body, but to the disciples who’d gathered behind closed doors. During the next 40 days He appeared repeatedly to numerous others. Decades later, Paul wrote that Jesus “appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living” (1 Corinthians 15:6).
Only one explanation covers all the facts: Jesus rose from the dead by the power of God. The people of Jesus’ day knew that death was final, just as much as we do. And yet the evidence was overwhelming: Jesus was alive! Only God could make it happen — and He did.
Why is Jesus’ resurrection important? It tells us we don’t need to fear death if we know Christ, for sin and death and hell have been conquered. It tells us also that this life is not all; ahead of us is eternity, either with God in heaven or separated from Him forever in that place of total despair the Bible calls hell. Put your faith in Jesus Christ today — for He is alive forevermore!
Q: Why is the day on which Jesus died called “Good Friday”? I don’t see anything good about it, to be honest. — J.W.
A: From one perspective, you’re right; there certainly doesn’t seem to be anything good about that last Friday, when Jesus was condemned to die on a cruel Roman cross. “When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals — one on his right, the other on his left” (Luke 23:33).
But what took place on that hill outside Jerusalem turned out to be the greatest event in human history (along with Christ’s resurrection three days later). The reason is because Jesus’ death wasn’t a tragic mistake or an unexpected accident; it was part of the eternal plan of God for our good! Jesus was the perfect, sinless Son of God, but on the cross all our sins were transferred to Him, and He became the final sacrifice for our sins. As the Bible says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).
If Jesus had never gone to the cross, you and I would have no hope — no hope for forgiveness, and no hope of ever being in God’s presence forever. But because He died for us, we do have hope — hope for today, and hope for eternity.
Is this hope living in your heart? As we remember Jesus’ death on this special day, may it truly become your “Good Friday,” as you turn to Jesus and by faith trust Him as your Savior and Lord. This is the Good News of Good Friday, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.