The Greatest Proof of the Resurrection (John 20:19-29)
Along with the preponderance of historical evidence, hundreds of eyewitnesses, “the more sure word of prophecy,” the silence of Christ’s enemies, and the steadfastness of His disciples, there is yet one more piece of evidence for Christ’s resurrection. It is the marks of Jesus, which may be the most convincing evidence of all.
Do you remember how Thomas was absent on the occasion of Christ’s first post-resurrection appearance to His disciples (John 20:19-24)? Being told by the others about Christ’s appearance, Thomas doubted their word and insisted that he would never believe until he saw for himself the marks of the nails in Jesus’ hands and the mark of the spear in Jesus’ side (John 20:25). Eight days later, Jesus reappeared to His disciples and commanded Thomas not only to behold the marks in His hands and side, but also to stop doubting and believe (John 20:26-27). Thomas responded by professing the resurrected Christ as his “Lord and [his] God” (John 20:28).
What was it that convinced doubting Thomas that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead and alive in the world? It was the marks of Jesus. What is it that will convince today’s doubting world that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and alive within it? It is the marks of Jesus. The only difference between now and then is that the world today cannot see the marks of Jesus on His resurrected material body as Thomas did, but must see them on us, Christ’s spiritual body—the church.
In Galatians 6:17, the Apostle Paul claimed to “bear in [his] body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” In Paul’s day, a slave bore the mark or brand of his master. This mark proved that the slave was both his master’s servant and property. Can you imagine how many marks and scars were on the body of the Apostle Paul? Five times he had been whipped with thirty-nine lashes. Three times he had been beaten with a rod. He was often imprisoned and placed in the stocks. Three times he had been shipwrecked. And he had even been stoned once and drug outside a city and left for dead. According to Paul, his scars were the “marks of Jesus,” proving to one and all that he was the bondservant of Jesus Christ.
What natural explanation was there for Paul’s seemingly inexplicable devotion to Christ? Clearly, there wasn’t one. The only possible explanation was supernatural transformation, which forces one to the inevitable conclusion that Christ is risen from the dead, alive in the world today and changing the lives of all who believe in Him. Nothing serves as greater proof of Christ’s resurrection than for the world to see us faithfully living for Him and Him miraculously living in and through us!
As a closing argument in our airtight case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, permit me to use these well-known words from a beloved old hymn:
I SERVE A RISEN SAVIOR,
HE’S IN THE WORLD TODAY;
I KNOW THAT HE IS LIVING,
WHATEVER MEN MAY SAY;
I SEE HIS HAND OF MERCY,
I HEAR HIS VOICE OF CHEER
AND JUST THE TIME I NEED HIM
HE’S ALWAYS NEAR.
HE LIVES, HE LIVES,
CHRIST JESUS LIVES TODAY!
HE WALKS WITH ME AND TALKS WITH ME
ALONG LIFE’S NARROW WAY.
HE LIVES, HE LIVES,
SALVATION TO IMPART!
YOU ASK ME HOW I KNOW HE LIVES?
HE LIVES WITHIN MY HEART.