Dear Dr. Graham:

Was Jesus really dead when they placed Him in that cave-like tomb? Maybe he was just in a coma or something, and he later revived and was able to escape and make people think he’d risen from the dead.

— K.S.

Dear K.S.: There can be no doubt that Jesus was really dead. During those final hours on the cross Jesus endured one of the most painful deaths imaginable — but finally his life was over, and everyone knew it.

Think of what happened when he died. The hardened Roman soldiers who watched as His body was taken from the cross had witnessed countless deaths — and they knew he was dead. Those who wrapped his body in cloth strips and then laid him in the tomb likewise knew he was dead. His enemies demanded the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, seal the tomb and place an armed guard on it, which he did. The stone rolled across the tomb’s entrance weighed hundreds of pounds; not even a healthy person could have rolled it back, let alone someone weakened by beatings and crucifixion.

Only God could have brought Jesus back to life — and that is exactly what happened! And because Christ rose from the dead, you and I can know that death has been defeated! We don’t need to fear the grave, because by his death and resurrection Christ has conquered death and opened the door to eternal life.

What keeps you from Christ? Don’t let doubt, or fear, or pride, or sin, or anything else keep you from him. God loves you, and Christ gave his life for you — and once you understand this, you’ll never be the same. This Easter may you join with those who heard the angel proclaim the greatest news the world has ever heard: “He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:6).