In the last of the traditional ‘Seven Last Words’ of Jesus from the cross, Christ quotes the first half of Psalm 31:5. This good ole Jewish song had become a good ole Jewish (bedtime) prayer. Just as Jews would pray this prayer, trusting their Heavenly Father to awaken them from sleep, Jesus also prays this prayer, trusting the Heavenly Father to awaken Him from death (cf. Lk 9:22, 18:31-33).
This popular prophecy of Isaiah (8th century BC) foretells of a Suffering Servant whose substitutionary, atoning death would heal the broken relationship between God and His people. In the NT, Jesus is identified as this messianic figure who was humbled before being exalted…
This prophecy of Isaiah foretells of the forthcoming Servant of the LORD who is a kingly, even divine, Messiah. Though the nation of Israel was supposed to be to the collective Servant of the LORD through whom He would bring about justice and salvation to the nations, they rebelled and transgressed their covenant with YHWH. The unimpressive, unattractive, humble, despised, suffering Servant was to come and make a substitutionary, atoning self-sacrifice that would heal the relationship between the LORD and His covenant people, bringing שָׁלוֹם (shalom).
To make his case for the Resurrection, Paul cites both his subjective, personal experience in addition to objective, historical evidence. We should do the same. For though people have their philosophical prejudices, given the historical facts that scholars of all stripes agree upon, the Resurrection is the best historical explanation.
People change. Societies change. Things change. But the facts of what Christ did for us do not change. Christ does not change. The widely-accepted historical facts are best explained by Christ’s Resurrection. This is the firm foundation of our faith. Because of God’s love and grace, we should respond with love and faithfulness.