Skip to content

The Historical Reliability of the Physical, Bodily Resurrection of Christ

August 3, 2009

Intro: “Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy? – Leo Tolstoy “If Christ is not raised…then your faith is also vain.” – Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:14 -Jesus said the ultimate sign would be His resurrection to prove His claims and actions – John 2:18,19 -The resurrection is the hingepoint, the foundation of all of Christianity. Without it, we are wasting our time. There is no hope of forgiveness with God. But if it is true, then you are no longer the decider of truth, you no longer get debate on evolution vs. creation, whether there is life after death, whether or not God will judge you, if there is a heaven or hell, if there is absolute truth. Christ, if risen, proves He is who He said He is and what He said about everything else is also true! If Jesus is risen, then there is purpose in life, I have a way to know the God who made me, I can have all my sin washed away, I don’t have to fear/worry about anything: death, war, cancer, suffering, persecution – be/c He has overcome death and granted the victory to me so that even if I die, I will still live. – John 11:25 But the question is: Did He really physically rise again? At this point, most people assume (unprovable starting point) that the burden of proof lies totally on the Christian to prove the resurrection. This not the case. The skeptic who denies the resurrection must come up with a plausible substitute explanation that gives unity to ALL the data surrounding the resurrection event. What is interesting at this point is that the skeptics have many DIFFERENT THEORIES as to what really happened. Why so many different theories rather than taking it at face value? Skeptics disagree with each other over what happened with Jesus’ body, but they ALL agree with each other that it CAN”T be a REAL RESURRECTION!!! -imagine a bicycle wheel with many spokes – if deny Jesus, you have to come a plausible, provable alternative to explain how ALL the spokes fit together…you can’t with intellectual honesty categorically dismiss all the data/particulars. LET’S LOOK AT SOME OF THESE ALTERNATIVE THEORIES: 1) resurrection shaped by ‘theology’ of the early church – JESUS DIDN’T REALLY RISE BUT SINCE HIS IMPACT ON THE DISCIPLES/OTHERS WAS SO GREAT, THEY COULDN’T BEAR THOUGHT OF LETTING HIS MEMORY/TEACHINGS/ACTS DIE, SO THEY ‘THEOLOGIZED’ JESUS LIFE AND RESURRECTION BY ‘MIRACLE-LIZING’ THEM. AKA ‘JESUS WALKED ON THE WATER, RAISED THE DEAD, GAVE SIGHT TO BLIND, ETC. AND PHYSICALLY ROSE FROM DEAD.’ OR SOME LIBERALS TO DAY WILL SAY THEY BELIEVE HE IS ‘SPIRITUALLY’ RESURRECTED, MEANING THAT THE THOUGHTS/IDEAS/SENTIMENTALITY OF JESUS LIVES ON IN EACH OF US AS WE THINK ABOUT HIM AND HIS TEACHINGS. a. RESURRECTION NARRATIVES ARE VERY UNADORNED AND NON-APOLOGETIC IN NATURE – IN OTHER WORDS, JUST KIND OF IPSO FACTO ‘HOW THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED.’ IT’S NOT ‘COLORED’ SO TO SPEAK TO TRY AND CONVINCE YOU. ..CROSSAN GOES SO FAR TO ‘SPECULATE/THEOLOGIZE’ THAT MARK HAD AN APOLOGETIC ELEMENT BUT SUPPRESSED IT FOR OTHER REASON. AND YET THE GOSPEL WRITERS HAD ALTERATIONS, ALT MOTIVES, THEOLOGICAL COLORING?! b. STILL THE FACT OF THE EMPTY TOMB c. GROUP SIGHTINGS IN VARIOUS PLACES d. SKEPTICS WHO WERE LATER CHANGED ON THEIR VIEWS AND DIED FOR THEM 2) HALLUCINATIONS a. VARIOUS GROUPS SAW IN HIM RESURRECTED – PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THE SAME GROUP HALLUCINATION – ONE PERSON MAY SEE SOMETHING, BUT SOMEONE ELSE WILL SEE SOMETHING ELSE. THERE ARE NO MASS GROUP HALLUCINATIONS THAT ARE THE SAME. Imagine if I came in here and said to you, “Wasn’t that a great dream I had last night?” b. VARIOUS PLACES – THERE WAS NO SINGLE LOCALE THAT WAS PREDICATABLE TO SEE THE RESURRECTED JESUS. CF. THIS TO ‘HAUNTED HOUSES, ETC.’ JESUS APPEARED AT SEEMING RANDOM PLACES AT RANDOM TIMES. c. THERE ARE NO INCONSISTENCIES IN THE REPORTED SIGHTINGS OF JESUS. ALL RECOGNIZED HIM, EVEN IF HE MOMENTARILY HID HIMSELF FROM THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF RECOGNIZING HIM. d. WHY THE HIDING OF HIS RECOGNITION BERFORE HE REVEALED HIMSELF IN THE ‘HALLUCINATION’ IF YOU ARE TRYING TO CONVINCE OTHERS THAT HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD. WHY NOT HALLUCINATIONS REPORT ONLY THOSE THAT ARE VIVID AND CLEAR OF HIM FROM THE START IF YOU ARE SO WANTING TO SEE HIM? e. HALLUCINATIONS HAPPEN ONLY WITH DATA THAT IS ALREADY IN THE MIND – JEWS OF THIS TIME BELIEVED IN A CORPORATE, END TIME RESURRECTION BUT DIDN’T THINK IN TERMS OF AN INDIVIDUAL RESURRECTING IN THE MIDDLE OF BROKEN HISTORY. JESUS RESURRECTION APPEARANCES BROKE THE MOLD. f. FINALLY, THIS STILL DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE EMPTY TOMB! 3) SWOON THEORY OR JUST FAINTED – According to that view, Jesus did not die on the cross but rather swooned––as a result of which he was taken for dead and then buried alive. AMAZINGLY!, In the cool of the tomb he revived, moved the stone, and went forth to appear as resurrected. But that explanation has numerous problems. a. There are the difficulties in believing that a Roman guard entrusted with an execution could be fooled in such a manner – ESPECIALLY WHEN EXECUTION WAS HIS SPECIALTY!! b. or that the spear thrust into Christ’s side would not have killed him even if he had been swooning; c. or that a weak, barely surviving Christ could have had the strength to move the large stone and overcome Roman guards. d. Further, one would have to suppose that a Christ in such a condition could convince his disciples that he had overcome death triumphantly. Romans were expects in the art of execution. Pilate even asked if they were positive he was dead, asked the Roman guard to make sure. Mark 15:44,45 IF THE ROMAN SOLDIER HAD BEEN WRONG ABOUT THIS, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HIS LIFE! CF. They thrust a spear in His side. When blood and water come out separately, this indicates the blood cells had begun to separate from the plasma which will only happens when the blood stops circulating. Upon deciding to break the legs of the criminals (in order to speed up the process of dying), they carefully examined the body of Jesus and found that He was already dead. e. Skeptic David Friedrich Strauss–certainly no believer in the resurrection–gave the deathblow to any thought that Jesus revived from a swoon: “It is impossible that a being who had was half-dead came out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that He was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life, an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry. Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which He had made upon them in life and in death, at the most could only have given it an elegiac voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship.” 4) JEWISH LEADERS/ROMANS OR DISCIPLES STOLE THE BODY a. Romans/Jewish leaders – why not produce the body to stop the new zealous group? If they had the body, why did the ROMANS need to accuse the disciples of stealing it? (Matt. 28:11, 15). In Acts 4, the Jewish authorities were angered and did everything they could to prevent the spread of Christianity. b. disciples – most popular theory has existed since the day of the Resurrection and is still believed by many opponents of Christianity. Matthew 28:12, 13 articulates this position. why die for a lie if you know it was stolen? what’s the payoff? Why the change in hope when you first saw Him die and fleeing/hiding from persecution to claiming He was alive and actually getting persecuted for it? Also, why did none of the disciples recant of the belief that Jesus physically rose when faced with martyrdom? Cf. Joseph Smith’s witnesses – some of them recanted BUT NONE OF APOSTLES EVER DID. SEE CHURCH FATHERS FOR TESTIMONY ON THIS. c. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money telling them, “You are to say, his disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.'” Many have wondered why Matthew records this and then does not refute it. Perhaps it is because this explanation was so preposterous, he did not see the need to do so. d. First, if the soldiers were sleeping, how did they know it was the disciples who stole the body? e. Second, it seems physically impossible for the disciples to sneak past the soldiers and then move a two-ton stone up an incline in absolute silence. Certainly the guards would have heard something. f. Third, the tomb was secured with a Roman seal. Anyone who moved the stone would break the seal, an offense punishable by death. The depression and cowardice of the disciples makes it difficult to believe that they would suddenly become so brave as to face a GROUP of soldiers, steal the body, and then lie about the Resurrection when the would ultimately face a life of suffering and death for their contrived message. g. Fourth, Roman guards were not likely to fall asleep with such an important duty. There were DEATH penalties for doing so. ALSO The disciples would have needed to overpower them. A very unlikely scenario. h. Finally, in the Gospel of John the grave clothes were found “lying there as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself separate from the linen” (20:6 7). There was not enough time for the disciples to sneak past the guards, roll away the stone, unwrap the body, rewrap it in their wrappings, and fold the head piece neatly next to the linen. In a robbery, the men would have flung the garments down in disorder and fled in fear of detection. i. THE FACT OF THE GRAVECLOTHES – if you are stealing a body, why would you leave the grave clothes? recall Jesus was severely wounded/beaten etc and these would be ‘stuck’ on His body, even after His body had been washed due to later seepage and messy and difficult to remove. Did they really have that much time to take the body especially when there was a Roman guard watching? Not only this, but John’s gospel speaks that the grave clothes were unmoved! How can someone stealing a body not ‘move’ the grave clothes. When Jesus body changed at resurrection, He would have went right through them and left the clothes untouched, exactly what we find in the documented history. Bible says at that moment when John saw the grave clothes, he believed! What did John believe? He might have explained it to Peter like this “Don’t you see, Peter, that no one has moved the body or disturbed the grave clothes? They are lying exactly as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea left the eve of the Sabbath. Yet the body is gone. It has not been stolen. It has not been moved. Clearly it must have passed through the clothes, leaving them as we see them now. Jesus must be risen.” Stott says, “A glance at these grave clothes proved the reality, and indicated the nature, of the resurrection.” ii. John, a disciple of Jesus, looked over to the place where the body of Jesus had lain, and there were the grave clothes, in the form of the body, slightly caved in and empty–like the empty chrysalis of a caterpillar’s cocoon. If body had been stole, would’ve been no way to ‘rewrap wrappings’. That’s enough to make a believer out of anybody. John never did get over it. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes–undisturbed in form and position. i. OBJECTION: THEY COULD HAVE STOLE IT ON BETWEEN FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY MORNING BE/C SEAL AND GUARDS WEREN’T GIVEN TILL SATURDAY MORNING i. JEWS BREAKING SABBATH? ESPECIALLY AT PASSOVER?! ii. RUSHED TO GET JESUS IN TOMB SO COULD GET HOME TO NOT BREAK PASSOVER AND YET THEY WENT BACK OUT LATER TO GET BODY?! iii. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN PETER/JOHN’S RESPONSE BY RUNNING TO TOMB TO SEE IF BODY WAS GONE, WHEN COULD HAVE SAID, “WELL OF COURSE HIS BODY IS GONE, REMEMBER HE PROMISED TO RISE FROM DEAD.” SEE LUKE 24:10-12…’WORDS APPEARED AS NONSENSE TO THEM” IN OTHER WORDS, ALL THE ELEVEN APOSTLES HEARD THE CLAIM THAT THE TOMB WAS EMPTY AND YET THEY ALL DISBELIEVED IT, SO OBVIOUSLY THEY DIDN’T STEAL IT. iv. AGAIN, ALL ELEVEN WERE IN HIDING TOGETHER THROUGHOUT FRIDAY NIGHT BE/C THEY THOUGHT THERE LIVES WERE NEXT, SO IN A MOMENT OF SELF-PRESERVATION, THEY HID OUT. WHY WOULD THEY RISK GOING OUT INTO THE CITY AND BEING CAUGHT, THE VERY THING THEY WERE AVOIDING? 5) THE WOMEN AND/OR DISCIPLES WENT TO THE WRONG TOMB a. It is conceivable that in the dark the women might have made such an error. But, as we see FROM GOSPEL ACCOUNTS, it was not entirely dark. THEY LEFT RIGHT BEFORE THE SUN CAME UP AND GOT THERE AS MORNING WAS BREAKING. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY WERE THERE AT SUNRISE. (NO PUN INTENDED!) Besides they had been there earlier and thus were acquainted with its location. TO SAY THEY GOT THE WRONG TOMB, IS TO ASSUME THEY WERE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE AREA OR THAT NO ONE IN THE ENTIRE GROUP THERE WERE A TOTAL OF FIVE WOMEN WHO WENT ON THAT EASTER MORNING) COULD REMEMBER THE EXACT LOCATION. THE RECORDING OF THE EVENT STATES THAT THE TOMB WAS ‘NEARBY’ THE CRUCIFIXION SITE. AGAIN, WE CAN NOT SUPPOSE THAT PETER AND JOHN AND THE OTHER DISCIPLES MADE THE SAME MISTAKE THE WOMEN DID BY GOING TO THE WRONG TOMB. b. If it had been wrong tomb, then why didn’t Jewish authorities and/or Roman guards point it out to them once they started preaching the ‘resurrection of Jesus Christ” and the new religious movement STARTED?! The Christian movement was a thorn in the flesh to both the Jewish leaders and Romans. c. ANOTHER THING THAT POINTS TO THE FACT THAT IT WAS THE RIGHT TOMB IS THAT JOSEPH’S TOMB WAS NEW. MOST TOMBS WERE FAMILY TOBMS AND HAD SEVERAL BODIES ALREADY IN IT OVER SEVERAL GENERATIONS. WHEN THEY GOT TO THE TOMB, NO OTHER BODIES OR GRAVECLOTHES WERE THERE THAT COULD POSSIBLY BE CONFUSED WITH JESUS BODY AND/OR GRAVE CLOTHES. IN GOD’S PROVIDENCE AND TO US CREDIBLE WITNESS, I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS GOD ORDAINED THAT IT BE A NEW TOMB WITH NO ONE HAVING EVER BEEN IN IT. 6) JESUS SEMINAR – JESUS WAS THROWN INTO A SHALLOW GRAVE AND WILD DOGS PROBABLY ATE BODY – WHAT COMMONLY HAPPENED TO CRIMINALS – a. NO TEXTUAL EVIDENCE FOR THIS; b. NO OTHER DATA FOR THIS OTHER THAN MERE CONJECTURE AND PRESUPPOSITIONAL COMMITMENT TO ANTI-SUPERNATURALISM THAT MIRACLES CAN’T HAPPEN– “JESUS DIDN’T RISE FROM THE GRAVE” “WHY?” “BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T RISE FROM THE GRAVE AND I HAVEN’T SEEN ANYONE RISE FROM THE GRAVE NOR HAS ANYONE ELSE THESE DAYS OBSERVED SUCH PHENOMENON.” i. REPLY: NEITHER DID THE 1ST CENTURY PEOPLE. THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE THE WOMEN EITHER; THOMAS DIDN’T BELIEVE EITHER, NOR DID PAUL BUT SOMETHING CHANGED THEIR MINDS ON IT! TODAY’S SCIENTIFIC ELITISM VIEW VS. BELIEVING 1ST CENTURY PEOPLE WERE IGNORANT/SUPPESTITOUIS – CF. CROSS YOUR FINGERS, WISH ME LUCK, TODAY’S HOROSCOPES IN TOP OF LINE JOURNALS/PAPER – NY TIMES, TALKING ABOUT SOPHISTICATED!! AGAIN, WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT RESURRECTION THROUGH NATURAL MEANS, BUT DIVINE MEANS-GOD HIMSELF RAISING CHRIST! c. AGAIN, WHY DIDN’T ROMANS OR JEWISH AUTHORITIES COME FORWARD AND REMIND PUBLIC AND DISCIPLES THAT JESUS’ BODY HAD BEEN THROWN INTO THE SHALLOW GRAVE AND EATEN BY DOGS WHEN THE DISCIPLES STARTED PROCLAIMING JESUS IS ALIVE AND WE HAVE SEEN HIM. THIS WOULD BEEN VERY EASY FOR SOMEONE LIKE PILATE TO SAY AND DO, ESP. SINCE HE WAS IN TROUBLE ALREADY WITH ROMAN OVER DISPUTES PRESENT IN JERUSALEM, AND NOW HERE COMES DISCIPLES STARTING A NEW ARGUMENT IN JERUSALEM OVER SEEING A DEAD MAN WALKING!! 7) JESUS’ DEATH/RESURRECTION BORROWED AND LIKE OTHER ANCIENT DYING/RISING GOD MYTH STORIES – a. OTHER STORIES HAD THE GOD DYING IN WINTER AND RISING IN SPRING. JESUS DIED IN APRIL (SPRING) AND ROSE 3 DAYS LATER. b. JESUS’ RESURRECTIN CFD. TO PAGAN GOD’S WAS ‘ONCE FOR ALL’ HEB. 7:27…PAGAN GOD’S WAS ANNUAL. c. NO PAGAN GOD EVER DIED 1) VOLUNTARILY 2) AS PUNISHMENT FOR SIN 3) FOR SOMEONE ELSE. 4) IN VICTORY, BUT JESUS’ WAS! d. PAGAN MYTHS ARE OF NON-HISTORICAL NATURE WHEREAS NT SAYS AND DEMAND THAT JESUS RESURRECTION HAPPENED IN TIME/SPACE HISTORY BEFORE EYEWITNESSES AND WAS PHYSCIAL PROOF: TOUCHED HIM, SPOKE WITH HIM, SAW/HEARD HIM, ATE WITH HIM, ETC. e. First, it has been shown that these mystery religious had no major influence in Palestine in the 1st century. Second, most of the sources which contain parallels originated after Christianity was established. Third, most of the similarities are often apparent and not real–a result of sloppy terminology on the part of those who explain them. For example, one critic tried to argue that a ceremony of killing a bull and letting the blood drip all over the participants was parallel to holy communion. Fourth, the early disciples were Jews, and it would have been unthinkable for a Jew to borrow from another religion. For they were zealous in their belief that the pagan religions were abhorrent to God. f. AND THE ULTIMATE POINT TO BE SETTLED IS: DID JESUS REALLY RISE PHYSICALLY OR NOT, NOT ARE THERE ANY, HOWEVER SMALL OR SLIGHT, POSSIBLE COMPARISONS. THIS IS A BAIT/SWITCH TECHNIQUE. ‘FIND A POTENTIAL PARALLEL, SCREAM REAL LOUD THAT THE NT WRITERS COPIED FROM PAGAN STORIES, AND THEN CLAIM THE RESURRECTION MUST BE A MYTH ALSO.” YET, THIS STILL DOESN’T DEAL WITH THE EVIDENCE OF THE REAL RESURRECTION. CONCLUSION – 1) IF EXPLAINING AWAY RESURRECTION, MUST HAVE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY THAT EXPLAINS ALL OF THE DATA SURROUNDING IT. CAN’T JUST CATEGORICALLY DISMISS IT. WELL, YOU CAN BUT YOU ARE INTELLECTUALLY BEING A COWARD. 2) CF. PAUL’S CHALLENGE TO AGRIPPA IN ACTS 26:8 “WHY IS IT CONSIDERED INCREDIBLE AMONG YOU PEOPLE IF GOD DOES RAISE THE DEAD?” IT’S A WORLDVIEW QUESTION: CAN GOD INTERFERE IN TIME/SPACE OR NOT. WHAT’S YOUR BASIS? WILL YOU LET EVIDENCE LEAD YOU WHERE IT GOES? 3) THE HISTORICAL, PHYSICAL RESURRECTION IS THE ONLY VIEW THAT EXPLAINS ALL THE FACTS SURROUNDING HIS BURIAL AND ALL EVENTS ONWARDS. 4) IF CHRIST LIVES, YOU TOO CAN LIVE BECAUSE OF HIM. 5) BE/C CHRIST LIVES, THERE IS NO LIFE APART FROM HIM. SO WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION? FIRST OF ALL HOW DO WE PROCEED? MUST HAVE RELIABLE SOURCES, DETERMINE WHAT ARE THE FACTS TO BE EXPLAINED, WHAT IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR THOSE FACTS? A) NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES – a. TACTICUS – ROMAN HISTORIAN – SAYS JESUS ‘SUFFERED THE EXTREME PENALTY DURING THE REIGN OF TIBERIUS.’ b. JOSEPHUS – PILATE CONDEMNED JESUS TO BE ‘CONDEMEND HIM TO BE CRUCIFIED. c. MARA BAR-SERAPION – PAGAN ACKNOWLEDGES JESUS WAS EXECTUED d. The Toledoth Jesu, a compilation of early Jewish writings, is another source acknowledging this. It acknowledges that the tomb was empty, and attempts to explain it away. B) PREDICTIVE PROPHECY – ISAIAH 52:13-53:12 – VS 4C ‘SMITTEN OF GOD’/ VS 5 PUNISHED FOR OUR SINS /VS 6 – OUR INIQUITY WILL BE PLACED ON HIM / VS 8 – HE WAS CUT OFF FROM LAND OF LIVING – O.T. WAY OF SAYING YOU WILL DIE / VS 9 – WOULD BE BURIED W/ RICH – JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA/ VS. 10-12 – WILL SEE HIS OFFSPRING, FRUIT OF HIS WORK – RESURRECTION! a. OTHES SPEAK OF BIRTH PLACE, MISSON, DEATH, RESURRECTION – ‘CF. WON’T LET DAVIDIC SEED UNDERGO DECAY” C) NOT ASSUMING, AT THIS POINT, BIBLE IS INSPIRED. TREATING IT AS WOULD ANY OTHER HISTORICAL DOCUMENT. NO MORE AND CERTAINLY NO LESS AS MANY SKEPTICS DO TODAY. THEY PROCEED W/ CAUTION W/ ANCIENT DOCUMENTS BUT NOT LIKE THEY DO WITH THE BIBLE. THEY COME WITH BIAS AGAINST ANY VERACITY OF THE SCRIPTURE DOCUMENTS. IF TIME, COULD WALK THROUGH SPECIFCS OF BASIC RELIABILITY. a. are they reliable? what are the criteria for determining their reliability? a) empty tomb – part of Marks’ very old source material, earliest of gospels, so his source be earlier still… cf. to roman/greek history which is usually one or two generations ore even centuries…cf. Alexander by Arian and Plutarch…first bio info written 400 years after his life, yet considered reliable. b) marks account – attested to by other sources – Matthew, John, Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians b. CF. LUKE, NOT ONLY A GOOD HISTORIAN, BUT CALLED ONE OF THE GREATEST OF ALL ANCIENT HISTORIANS! WAS A MEDICAL DOCTOR, ATTENTION TO DETAILS. Pilate, quirinius governor, pro???term used by luke, Caiphas ossuary found..when bible names characters they are real characters, c. The textual evidence decisively shows that the Gospels were written and circulated during the lifetime of those who witnessed the events. Since there are so many specific names and places mentioned, eyewitnesses could have easily discredited the writings. The New Testament would have never survived had the facts been inaccurate. 1) EARLY ATTESTATION OF 1 COR. 15:3FF. ‘AND THAT’ WAS ORAL TRADITION. PAUL WAS SAVED IN 33 AD. RECEIVED TRADITION IN 36 AD, SO TRADITION WAS WITHIN 5 YEARS OF RESURRECTION EVENT! NO TIME FOR LEGEND TO START WITHOUT BEING STOPPED BE/C OF VERIFYING! 2) On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it. a. Those who observed the stone after the resurrection describe its position as having been rolled up a slope away not just from the entrance of the tomb, but from the entire massive sepulcher. It was in such a position that it looked as if it had been picked up and carried away. Now, I ask you, if the disciples had wanted to come in, tiptoe around the sleeping guards, and then roll the stone over and steal Jesus’ body, how could they have done that without the guards’ awareness? 3) major evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the empty tomb. We might deny that an actual resurrection took place, but we can hardly deny that the tomb was empty. JEWISH AND ROMAN SOURCES, EVEN EXTRA BIBLICAL, TELL THAT THE TOMB WAS EMPTY. The disciples began soon after the crucifixion and burial to preach about the resurrection, at a time when those to whom they preached could simply walk to the tomb to see if the body of the supposedly resurrected Lord still lay there. Again, they buried Jesus nearby be/c it was getting late and the Sabbath was starting!! John 19:42 a. Joseph of Arimathea took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb” (Matt. 27:59). Mark asserts that Joseph was “a prominent member of the Council” (Mark 15:43). b. It would have been destructive for the writers to invent a man of such prominence, name him specifically, and designate the tomb site, since eyewitnesses would have easily discredited the author’s fallacious claims. 4) ROMAN GUARD FLEES THEIR POST! – How can their LEAVING BE explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional? THERE WERE offenses that required the death penalty. The fear of their superiors’ wrath and the possibility of death meant that they paid close attention to the minutest details of their jobs. One way a guard was put to death was by being stripped of his clothes and then burned alive in a fire started with his garments. If it was not apparent which soldier had failed in his duty, then lots were drawn to see which one would be punished with death for the guard unit’s failure. Certainly the entire unit would not have fallen asleep with that kind of threat over their heads. Dr. George Currie, a student of Roman military discipline, wrote that fear of punishment “produced flawless attention to duty, especially in the night watches.” 5) FIVE WOMEN ARRIVED AT THE TOMB FIRST – 1ST CENTURY, WOMEN WERE NOT SEEN AS CREDIBLE WITNESSES. COULD NOT BE WITNESSES IN COURT. ESP, WHEN THE CHURCH’S LATER HEROES, THE MEN, WERE AT THAT TIME COWERING IN HIDING! ALSO THE WOMEN WERE NAMED AND COULD EASILY BE VERIFIED. 6) THE FIRST ARGUMENT TRYING TO REFUTE THE RESURRECTION ACKNOWLEDGES THE EMPTY TOMB. IN OTHER WORDS, NO BODY IS FOUND NOR DID ANYONE KNOW WHERE TO ‘LOCATE’ IT. ROMANS WERE TO SAY THAT THE ‘DISCIPLES STOLE THE BODY.’ – MATT. 28:15 7) THE CHANGE IN JESUS’ MOTHER AND BROTHERS AS WORSHIPPERS OF HIM AS GOD AND SAVIOR! MARY WOULD KNOW SHE WOULD BE COMMITTING IDOLATRY, AS A STRICT JEW, FOR WORSHIPPING HER SON. SAME IS TRUE FOR HER BROTHERS. OR ANY OTHER JEW FOR THAT MATTER WHO BELIEVED IN ONLY ONE GOD. a. At one point none of Jesus brothers believed in him (Jn. 7:5). Jesus once declared, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house” (Mt. 13:57). But later James does believe (compare Acts 1:14). What made the difference? Obviously, only the appearance of Jesus to him, which is recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:7. b. JUST THINK, WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO BELIEVE THAT ONE OF YOUR KIDS OR YOUR BROTHER IS GOD IN THE FLESH? YET JAMES AND MARY DID SEE HIM AS GOD AND AS RISEN! HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THAT?! 8) THE CHANGE IN PAUL – SKEPTIC, ANTAGONIST TOWARDS BELIEVING JESUS’ RESURRECTION AND YET CHANGES. WHY? WHAT HAPPENED? ILLUST. – CHATT STATE – PROF WAS ASKED WHAT CHANGED PAUL? ‘WELL, SOMETHING HAPPENED.” YES, SOMETHING AND ANYTHING HAPPENED EXCEPT FOR SEEING THE CRUCIFIED, RISEN SON OF GOD IN THE FLESH. LEWIS SAID THE PROBLEM WITH UNBELIEF IS NOT THAT WE WON’T BELIEVE IN SOMETHING BUT THAT WE WILL BELIEVE IN ANYTHING. 9) CHANGED IN THE DISCIPLES – CF. EARLIER PETER DENIED JESUS 3 X’S BUT AFTER RESURRECTION APPEARANCES – PETER LATER HUNG UPSIDE DOWN, JOHN BOILED AND EXILED (ONLY ONE NOT MARTYRED) NO LONGER FEARED DEATH… a. REMAINED FAITHFUL TO JESUS AS MESSIAH AFTER HIS LIFE – IF HE DIED WOULD SOON HAVE FADED BUT THEIR DEVOTION STAYED ON HIM AND GREW. b. THE CHARACTER OF THE DISCIPLES GOES AGAINST THE FACT THAT THEY WOULD LIE ABOUT – HELPED POOR, FED HUNGRY, GAVE AND DIDN’T TAKE, DEFENDING THE WIDOWS/ORPHANS –MOST LIE IN WAYS TO BENEFIT THEMSELVES, HOW WOULD THIS LIE BENEFIT THEM? IT COST THEM THEIR LIFE, ARRESTED, BEATEN, OSTRACIZED. c. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). 10) THE INDIVIDUAL RESURRECTION WAS CONTRARY TO THEIR THEOLOGY – OT PASSAGES SPEAK OF CORPORATE RESURRECTIONS a. WHY DID ALL OF THEM ACCEPT NOW THAT AN INDIVIDUAL WAS RAISED IN THE MIDDLE OF HISTORY WHEN IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN EVERYBODY RAISED AT THE END OF TIME? b. IT ALSO ASSUMES THAT THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD CONVINCE OTHERS OF THIS INDIVIDUAL RESURRECTION CONCEPT EVEN THOUGH THEIR FELLOW JEWS ALSO HELD TO A CORPORATE VIEW OF RESURRECTION. WHY GO SO AGAINST THE GRAIN PERSONALLY AND NATIONALLY, UNLESS SOMETHING FORCED THEM TO CHANGE THEIR VIEWS? c. INTERESTING ABOUT THIS IN REGARDS TO THE ADOPTION OF NEW WORLDVIEWS, IT TAKES YEAR UPON YEAR, DECADE UPON DECADE FOR NEW VIEWS TO WIN OUT. JESUS’ INDIVIDUAL RESURRECTION WON THE DAY OVER IMMEDIATELY WITH A VER STRONG TRADITIONALIST RELIGIOUS GROUP!!….CF. POSTMODERNISM TODAY IS AN EFFECT OF ENLIGHTENMENT THINKING FROM THE 1700’S!!! 11) SABBATH CHANGES FROM SATURDAY TO SUNDAY – WHY WOULD DEVOUT JEWS WITH OVER A 1000 YEAR TRADITION, WHO BY THE WAY WERE EXTREMEMLY TRADITIONAL PEOPLE, ARBITRARILY CHANGE FROM SATURDAY TO SUNDAY? WHAT EVENT WAS BIG ENOUGH AND SHOCKING ENOUGH TO OVERTURN ONE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, OVER A 1000 YRS OF PRIOR EXAMPLE, AND GO AGAINST THE TIDAL WAVE OF PUBLIC OPINION TO CELEBRATE ON A SUNDAY? a. ALSO THE EXISTENCE OF THE ORDIANCNES OF BAPTISM (RECALLS JESUS’ RESURRECTION) AND LORD’S SUPPER. (DEATH OF JESUS IN BREAD, WINE HIS BLOOD) WHY DID THESE BECOME SO ESSENTIAL TO THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH? 12) EARLY CHURCH BEGAN TO WORSHIP JESUS AS GOD. HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THIS WITH STRICT MONOTHEISTIC JEWISH THOUGHT? GOD WAS TRANSCENDENT, HOW COULD GOD BE IN THE FLESH, UNLESS SOMETHING SO EARTH SHATTERING OVERWHELMED THEM TO CHANGE THEIR VIEWS? 13) THE TOMB WAS NOT ENSHRINED. IN THAT DAY, ESTIMATED OVER 100 TOMBS OF HOLY MEN WERE ENSHRINED TO PAY MEMORIAL TO THEM. HERE RECENTLY, MICHAEL JACKSON DIED AND THEY ARE ALREADY WORKING AND PUTTING UP A MEMORIAL FOR HIM IN LA. GO TO MEMPHIS FOR ELVIS’ MEMORIAL, THE TRUE KING OF ROCK N ROLL, JUST MY OPINION! AFTER A FEW DAYS, NO ONE VISITED JESUS’ TOMB. IT WAS LOST IN HISTORY UNTIL BRITAINS THINK THEY FOUND IT WITHIN LAST FEW CENTURIES, TODAY KNOWN AS THE TRADITIONAL SITE, BUT NO ONE IS SURE. WHY? BE/C THE TOMB WAS LOST IN ITS RELEVANCE IN COMPARISON TO SOMETHING ELSE. WHAT WAS IT? THE ACTUAL RESURRECTION! 14) CHRISTIANITY COMES INTO EXISTENCE. WHAT IS THE GREAT CAUSE OF THE EXISTENCE OF CHRISTIANITY? 15) THE BODY WAS VERFIED BY ROMANS AND JEWSIH LEADERS AND WOMEN THAT IT WAS PUT IN TOMB. JESUS, BEYOND A SHADOW OF DOUBT, WAS DEAD. THE FIRST POLEMIC AGAINST CHRISTIANITY ACKNOWLEDGED THE BODY WAS GONE. 16) MULTIPLE WITNESSES: YOU HAVE TO ACCOUNT FOR PAUL’S TESTIMONY, EACH OF THE WOMEN’S TESTIMONY, PAUL’S APPEAL TO THOSE THEN STILL ALIVE OF OVER 500 WHO SAW HIM AT ONE TIME!, EACH OF THE 12 DISCIPLES TESTIMONY, a. ALSO GROUP SIGHTINGS ON SEVERAL DIFFERENT OCCASIONS IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT PLACES. ONE OCCASION OVER 500 SAW HIM – Paul says in effect, ‘If you do not believe me, you can ask them.’ Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago.” Let’s take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history. BIBLICAL REQUIREMENT WAS 2 OR 3 WITNESSES TO VERIFY SOMETHING! b. CF. DOUBTING THOMAS: LAST HOLD OUT BE/C HE HADN’T SEEN; JESUS SAYS TOUCH TO PROVE IT’S REALLY ME. WHAT CHANGED THOMAS’S SKEPTICISM INTO LATER DYING FOR ASSERTION OF SEEING ‘JESUS RISEN’? 17) if creating a fake story, wouldn’t it been easier to say “Jesus said he would only raise spiritually.” It would have been the easier way out of persecution, death, alienation, hard missional traveling/living etc. They put themselves in vulnerable position- all had to be done was find and show body to destroy All of Christianity. 18) CLAIM IS THAT HE APPEARED OVER 40 DAYS BEFORE HE ASCENDED. NOTE: DIFF. BETWEEN RESURRECTION AND ASCENCION. acts 1:3 “proofs’ strong word used by Aristotle for highest form of proving something 19) Given the accounts of the empty tomb and of the sightings, however, I think the historian is faced with two parts of an arch with the piece in the middle — the resurrection — missing. The question is: Are these just two isolated phenomena? 20) the disciples did not always recognize Jesus when he appeared to them. Mary did not recognize him in the garden (Jn. 20:14). The Emmaus disciples did not know who he was (Lk. 24:16). Even much later, when he appeared to many of the disciples in Galilee, we are told that “some doubted” (Mt. 28:17). From the point of view of persuasion, the inclusion of such details is foolish. The reason why such problems were allowed to remain in the narrative is that they are, in fact, the way the appearances happened. Consequently, they at least provide strong evidence that these are honest reports of what the writers believed to have transpired. If you were trying to persuade others about a resurrected body, why would you leave any ambiguity in regards to recognizing him, unless this is how it happened. You would want to make all the events of His appearances clear and lucid to the people that ‘saw’ Him. SIDE NOTE: Bible says He hid himself from them recognizing Him. 21) the first obvious fact was the breaking of the seal that stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down 22) the preaching of the Resurrection originating in Jerusalem. This is significant since this is the very city in which Jesus was crucified. This was the most hostile city in which to preach. Furthermore, all the evidence was there for everyone to investigate. Legends take root in foreign lands or centuries after the event. Discrediting such legends is difficult since the facts are hard to verify. However, in this case the preaching occurs in the city of the event immediately after it occurred. Every possible fact could have been investigated thoroughly CONCLUSION: 1) Brooke Foss Westcott, an English scholar/historian, said: “raking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it.” 2) “What difference does all this evidence make to me? What difference does it make whether or not I believe Christ rose again and died on the cross for my sins!’ The answer is put best by something Jesus said to a man who doubted–Thomas. Jesus told him: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). ALTERNATE CLAIMS REGARDING JESUS: 1) the Lost Tomb of Jesus – found in 1980 – ironically brought out right before Easter…10 ossuaries (bone boxes) found; Jesus’, Mary his wife, a son Judas, …touted by James Cameron (titanic)…basic evidence that this is a family tomb is questionable….Jesus son of Joseph, Mary most common name. jesus 6th most common, matthew 9th common on ossuaries 2) muslim argument – Jesus’ twin brother was crucified or his half brother james was crucified. 3) On this point Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan make what I think is a very modernist complaint. They say that the resurrection of Jesus would not be fair — If God raised Jesus, why only Jesus? Why didn’t God do it for everybody? I understand that view, but it completely misses the point that the resurrection is a beginning. It is a seed being sown, a tune being composed which everyone now gets to sing.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: