If there is one aspect of any religion that sets Christianity above and over other religions, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no greater claim made in any other religion or off-shoot of Christianity. The resurrection is so vital, that Paul said if it were not true, then Christians were to be most pitied among all men.
Yet, the resurrection is true and it is central to Christianity. You may attend church, you may say you are a Christian, but if you do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, then you are following a false Jesus. For it is through the resurrection that every single claim Jesus made is authenticated to be true. It is through the resurrection that every miracle He performed is authenticated. It is through the resurrection that we know He is the final judge of all mankind. It is through the resurrection that the believer knows we have a future (realized) hope of being with Him in glory. It is through the resurrection that we know He is going to come again and judge all mankind (and with them, all other religions).
This is why Paul goes to such great lengths to show the number of eyewitnesses that saw the risen Savior.
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 Corinthians 3:3-8).
When Paul penned these words, many of these 500 witnesses were still alive. James was still alive. The apostles were still alive. The point is that his claim could be verified by the original audience. Many had seen the risen Savior or could have spoken to those who did see Him. No other religious leader has such an attestation to their false claims of being taken up to heaven.
For the sake of argument, let’s just say that some prophet of another religion was taken up to heaven. How could we judge whether or not that prophet was a true prophet of God? Well, look what the prophet said and did? Does the prophet support the truths of the rest of Scripture or not?
As for the Prophet Mohammed, he claims that Jesus was not even put to death and that Christians worship a false god of the Father, Son and…Virgin Mary. Yet, over and over the apostles claimed that Christ was both crucified and buried and rose again on the Third Day.
We also know that the Pharisees did not argue about “if Christ was crucified.” They did not argue against the empty tomb. They did exactly what non-believers have been doing since that day: they lied about the explanation for the empty the tomb. They said that the 11 apostles, who were trembling in fear, rose up, overpowered the most powerful army on the face of the earth, and stole the body. Right! They overpowered Roman soldiers, who would face death, if such a thing happened.
None of the charges of the resurrection ever hold up under any level of real scrutiny. The reason: Jesus actually was raised from the dead. The witnesses who saw Him raised from the dead far outweigh the Pharisees who claim He did not.
Please note that the Pharisees also did not dispute the fact that Jesus performed the miracles He did. Their dispute was about whose power Jesus used. The Pharisees said that the power Jesus used was that of Beelzebub and not the Spirit’s power. For this, Jesus let them know that they had committed the “unforgivable sin” by blaspheming the Holy Spirit. In their sin of not believing in Christ, the door shut upon them in their false attribution.
The same happens today, as it has throughout history. Many reject the resurrection, and in doing so harden their hearts, becoming susceptible to the false prophets in our world. Jesus warned us against false prophets as well, as did Paul and Peter. False prophets have no problem telling their followers that Jesus was not crucified, is not the Christ, was not raised from the dead, and is nothing more than a famous teacher of old.
However something interesting happens to each and every false prophet that shows them to be false: they die, and they are not raised up again. Not one of them can make the claim of resurrection.
I know some false religions say that there leaders were taken up into heaven. Elijah was taken up into heaven. But nowhere do you find anyone starting a religion based on Elijah’s removal from this earth. This is because Elijah was not pointing to himself, or a false god. In his ministry, he pointed back to the living and true God who is, and would have been appalled at the thought that we would follow him.
This is a mark of a false prophet: they want you to follow them. This would be fine if the false prophet was worthy of following, but they are not. Even the true prophets were not worthy of being followed. This is why they did not point themselves, but to God.
Yes, Jesus said for us to follow Him. He is worthy to be followed, worthy to be worshiped, worthy to be praised. How do we know? We know because the Father put His stamp of His approval on the son, by raising Him up from the dead and seating Him next to Him in glory. We see this stamp of approval in a sermon that Paul gave:
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
As I have tried to stress, the resurrection is the Father’s stamp of approval on the ministry, words, works and sacrifice of our LORD Jesus Christ. No other prophet can make such a claim and following any other prophet besides The Prophet, Jesus Christ, is foolishness.
The resurrection is one of the reasons that Christianity is far superior to any other religion, and is part of the series coming out of the post Ten Reasons Christianity is far Superior Than Any Other Religion. I have also written on the fact that the leaders of all other religions need Christ for their own salvation.