But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Some English words are clearer than others. For example, Christmas comes from Christ Mass, the worship service to celebrate the Birth of Christ. But how about Easter? For clarity, some Christians now call it “Resurrection Sunday.” Interestingly, the Mandarin Chinese word for Easter is Fùhuó jié which literally translates as “Resurrection Holiday.” The belief that Jesus was actually executed but came back to life is a cornerstone of Christianity. In fact, without it, Christianity makes no sense and its followers are all badly deceived. Paul, who wrote more than half of the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 15:17 explained “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.” And as important as the resurrection is, it is not a matter of “blind faith” or just a fable or legend like Paul Bunyan or the Easter Bunny. In fact, there is ample historical evidence proving its veracity. For example, the Book of Isaiah as quoted above is believed to have been written around 739-681 B.C., in other words, about 700 years before the Birth of Christ. Yet, it predicted a Messiah who would be pierced and punished, and by whose wounds we would be healed. Isaiah 53:7 continues: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Verse 9 adds: “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” In fact, the New Testament records Jesus died a criminal’s death and a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, buried the body. Psalm 22, written by King David about 1,000 years before Christ’s birth, starts with “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Those were among the last words Jesus uttered from the Cross. Psalm 22:7-8 adds: “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. ‘He trusts in the Lord,’ they say, ‘let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’” As recorded in Matthew 27:41-43, some scoffers at the Cross exclaimed “He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord save him.” Psalm 22:16-18 claims “Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” Indeed, crucifixion involves the hands and feet being nailed by spikes, and Matthew 27:35 tells us of the Roman guards, “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” And not only did ancient texts predict Jesus’ death, but Jesus Himself predicted His death and resurrection at least three times as recorded in Scripture. Speaking of Jesus, Mark 8:31 tells us “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” You can trust in Jesus and the Resurrection, because there is evidence for it!