It can be a big question for adults to ponder, and even bigger for our kids. Reading Romans 10:9 to our kids ("If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.") and providing reasons for why they can trust that Jesus did resurrect are two very different things. On one hand, it is easy for most to believe something with our heart, but God created us with a mind as well, and He has left us with things to consider with our minds about his resurrection. The enemy does not have mercy on our kids, and will try to rob them of the peace that we can have about our eternal life with Him, so let's share the evidence with our kids. Today I am offering one good reason it makes most sense for Jesus to have resurrected, in order for you to begin a conversation with your kids about this evidence. Evidence #1: The Eye Witnesses' Lives Support Their Claims
Most believers did not see Jesus resurrect, but a few believers did, people like Paul, and Jesus' disciples to name a few. Stephen, the first martyr who believed in Jesus Christ, and spoke about him being the messiah who was murdered, shows us how dangerous it was for people to speak about their faith in Jesus and that he rose from the dead. Right before he was stoned to death, Acts 7:55-56 says: "But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”. The last thing someone who would want to spare their life would do is lie about seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of God, a claim about Jesus' deity. And yet, Stephen gives his life because he was not lying about Jesus, but whole heartedly believed in Jesus and what he saw being full of the Holy Spirit.
A similar fate would be seen in the lives of Jesus' disciples who were cowardly fearful for their lives prior to their witnessing Jesus appear to them, and being filled with the Holy Spirit in the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The same men that ran away when Jesus was arrested, including Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus three times, would now give up their lives because of what they believed was the truth, having witnessed Jesus appear to them with their own eyes. A disciple in particular, who has now become known as "Doubting Thomas" would in fact not believe Jesus was alive simply on the account of the very people he followed Jesus alongside with for the last years. He wanted to touch the wounds of Jesus with his own hands in order to believe. When Jesus appeared to Thomas eventually, Jesus was patient with him, as he is with us today, encouraging all of us in his own words, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Eventually Peter who denied Jesus three times in his fear responded obediently to Jesus' beaconing words, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:17-19). Peter would give his life to continue to spread the message of his Teacher and Savior. The same can be said about the other disciples that continued to spread this same message despite being persecuted, imprisoned, and threatened to be killed (Acts 5:28-33). One of Jesus' disciples, James, was killed by Herod by the sword according to Acts 12:1-2. There were also some very unlikely people who actually did not believe Jesus was who he said he was until they saw Him appear to them after he rose again. Jesus' own brother, James, became a believer and it is documented in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, then to all twelve disciples. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles." An undeniable and ironic conversion resulted in the man whose feet were by the coats of the men who stoned the first martyr of Jesus Christ, Stephen, his name was Saul at the time, but we know him most as Paul. This man persecuted men and women who believed in Jesus Christ, and on his way to do just that (Acts 9) Jesus appeared to him confronting and telling him that he is in fact persecuting Jesus Christ. This resulted in Paul becoming blind for three days and receiving a vision that a man named Ananias would put his hand on him and his vision would recover. After this in fact happened, Paul was never the same man again. Now he would suffered much for Jesus, even to his very last breath. So does it make more sense that Jesus did not resurrect and people were lying about having witnessed Jesus alive again, or do the actions of Jesus' followers best explain their decision to spread the word about Jesus' appearances? Stay tuned for more evidence that Jesus resurrected.