By Steven Chan
1. Is there life after death? Where will one go after death? Will one simply cease to exist upon death? These are questions that some will not bother to think about until just before their journey on earth is about to end.
2. Jesus came from heaven to tell us the truth about life after death and to give us hope and assurance that all who believe and trust Him will have a place in heaven because He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:1-6)
3. We can believe and trust Jesus because His promises are based on His declaration that He was teaching the truth and the fact that He had provided ample evidence for us to believe that He spoke the truth.
a. Jesus came in fulfillment of the prophecies made hundreds of years before He came into the world:
In John 5:46, Jesus said to the Jews: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” He claimed to have come to the world in fulfillment of prophecies by the prophets of God such as Moses who lived hundreds of years before Jesus came.
In Acts 3:21-24, the apostle Peter declared thus: “which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ (Note: This prophecy was recorded in Deut 18:15-19) 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.”
b. The miracles performed by Jesus showed that He possessed the powers of God:
In John 10:25, Jesus again said to the Jews: “25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.”
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, said to Jesus: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2). Jesus “healed every sickness and every disease among the people.” (Matt 9:35). In Luke 7:22, Jesus said: “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
These signs clearly showed that Jesus came from heaven and He was speaking the truth: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18).
What other signs must Jesus provide so that one can believe Him? (John 7:21). “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31).
c. The most powerful evidence for Jesus having spoken the truth is that of His fulfillment of the prediction of His own resurrection from the dead after being in the grave for three days.
In Matt 16:21, the Bible recorded this: “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” Jesus said: “I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18).
Jesus did in fact rise from the dead after being in the tomb for three days.
The Jews had made every effort to ensure that His body remained in the tomb because they knew of Jesus’ prediction of His own resurrection: “the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.” (Matt 27:62-66).
In spite of their best efforts, in Matt 28:2-7, the Bible declared that He rose from the dead: “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risenfrom the dead.”
The tomb was empty: “Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” (Luke 24:3).
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and many others.
The apostle Paul declared thus: “ For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (1 Cor 15:3-8). To the apostles “He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
If Jesus had not really risen from the dead, it would have been very easy for the Jews to prove it by taking His body and showing it to the people as evidence that Jesus did not really rise from the dead. The apostles would not have had the courage or conviction to say to the Jews that they “killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know…” (Act 3:15-16a). “Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole” (Acts 4:10).
Thereafter Jesus ascended into heaven and He will come again: “…while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).
4. It is the truth taught by Jesus that will show us the way to be set free from sin and to have the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2).
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Obedience to the truth of the gospel is the way to salvation, the hope of eternal life (Rom 6:17-18; Gal 3:1; 5:7; Col 1:5; 2 Thess2:13; Titus 3:7; 1 Pet 1:22-23).
And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Matt 16:15-16).
Have you done exactly what Jesus has asked you to do in order to be saved? Some believed in Jesus but steadfastly refused to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) because they erroneously believed that salvation is a work – and they have been taught erroneously that one is saved without any works whatsoever (Eph 2:8-9). The truth is that baptism is not a work of merit (Rom 3:27; 6:1-4; Gal 3:26-27) but an act of faith in the working of God: “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col 2:12).
Ananias was sent by God to tell Paul of His will for him and Ananias said to him: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ (Acts 22:16). We should obey the plain truth of God and not be led to believe an erroneous idea introduced by uninspired men. We need to have the same attitude as Peter and the apostles: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
5. Dear reader, please be sure that you know Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man can come to God the Father, except through Him (John 14:6). He is the Only Way for us to be saved from hell and to gain entrance into heaven: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
This may sound very narrow but it is the truth taught by Jesus:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt 7:13-14).