Every year billions of Christians all over the world gather to remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Jesus was executed by the Roman government on a cross outside Jerusalem for his claim of being the Messiah (Mark 14:61). He had said he would rise on the third day. To his followers’ shock, he actually did! Today, as back then, there are many who don’t believe it.

There are those who make it their ambition to demonstrate that Christianity is a hoax, and that the Church has been deceiving people throughout its history. They conveniently ignore the eyewitness accounts of people who saw first-hand the risen Jesus. They ignore the archeological discoveries, which demonstrate communities, which were transformed by believing in the resurrected Jesus. They ignore the changed lives, which this resurrected Jesus has affected throughout the years. They even ignore the personal experience which people still have with the risen Christ.

The Gospel message is that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) entered the human race, lived as one of us, died on a Roman cross for sins of humanity (even yours and mine!), and rose again by the power of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote to the first century believers in Rome: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). What was true then is still true today. For those who believe, they discover that Jesus is really alive. This is not just a matter of intellectual assent; it is also a matter of belief (of faith). One can learn all the historical, archaeological, and scholarly data, but it always comes back to a simple step of faith. You have to believe. Faith is needed to have a personal experience with the risen Lord Jesus.

Jesus said to the church in Laodicea and he says to us: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20). For those who receive Him today, they discover his resurrection isn’t a hoax on a personal basis. He brings forgiveness of our sins, peace of mind and spirit, and an intimate relationship with the Living God of the universe.

Do your homework! Know the facts, but don’t just leave it there. Enter into a dynamic personal relationship with the God who still raises people from the dead.