The Resurrection: Hoax or History?
...because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1 Corinthians 15:13-19
If there is no resurrection:
- Christ is not risen
- Faith is empty
- Faith is futile
- We are still in our sins
- Death and hades will overtake us
- We will all die because the wages of sin is death and be cast into hell
And if Christ be not risen, …... we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ is risen from the dead
Jesus a Man?
- The Bible says so - John’s gospel etc
- Secular history records it so
- Jewish writers say so
- The writings of antiquity say so
- The Early church fathers say so
Jesus Christ the Messiah (Yeshu יהושׁע)?
- Jesus was truly an historical person
- Jesus lived in the land of Canaan (Palestine) in the 1st century
- He claimed to be equal with God (John 10:25-30)
- He claimed to be eternal (John 8:58)
- He was worshipped as God (Matthed 8:2) - the leper (Matthew 8:2),
the man born blind (John 9:35-39), disciples (Matt 14:33, John 20:27-29), Woman with flow of blood (Mark 5:25).
- He was prophesied about and all came true (e.g. Genesis 3:18; Psalm 22, 31, 69, 110 etc; Isaiah 52, 53; Micah 5:2 Bethlehem; Isaiah 40:3 John the Baptist; Isaiah 9:1,2 The region of Jesus’ ministry; Isaiah 42:1-4 Jesus the son of Man; Zechariah 9:9 Jesus on a donkey rides into Jerusalem etc
Jesus was Condemned to Death
- The Jewish leadership using false allegations orchestrated his death
- At the trial he condemned himself in the eyes of the Jews (contrary to their law): he said he was king
- Jesus was crucified by the Romans
- Jesus rose from the dead after being in the grave for three days
- Jesus spoke to many people after rising from the dead – the testimonies of some are in the Bible
- Jesus returned to heaven 50 days after death
From oral narrative, secular history and the Bible we know Jesus was truly an historical person. Few would deny this, including opponents such as the Muslims. If Jesus wasn’t God he deserves an Oscar.
- He was severely wounded prior to the crucifixion (Mat 27:26)
- He was unable to carry his cross (Mat 27:32)
- If he wasn’t dead his legs would have been broken (John 19:33)
- His blood was drained by a spear piecing his side witnessed by John (John 19:34)
- He was dead - no one doubted it, not the Sanhedrin, the Praetorium, or those on Calvary.
- Pilate alone was astonished about how fast it had taken for Jesus to die.
- Embalming a live body probably would have suffocated it.
- The Swoon theory has no credence - no one could have survived the ordeal Christ went through. Evidence of a burial indicates Jesus had died. The theory assumes these folk did not know what a dead person was. However, the Egyptians and Babylonians had defined death thousands of years previously, and the Jews had a strict definition of death. Jesus was definitely dead. And lastly the Romans did not make mistakes - their crucifixions always killed the victim.
- Was taken down - hence was dead
- Was buried in the custom of the Jews
- Was bound it in strips of cloth
- The body was embalmed in a great quantity of myrrh and aloes (John 19:40)
- Was placed in a tomb (John 19:42).
- The tomb belonged to a rich man (John 19:38)
- Jesus was laid in the Tomb
- Great emphasis was made to ensure he did not “rise” from the dead
- Why did the Jews have the tomb guarded if
- the tomb did not exist
- a body was not in it?
- A great stone was place over the entrance (Matthew 27:60, assumed by John 20:1)
- It was guarded (Matt 27:62-66)
- It was sealed (Matt 27:66)
The Empty Tomb
- The guards saw an unearthly sight and the stone rolled away (Matt 28:3-4)
- There was an earthquake (op cit.)
- The guards, took money and were given a story to promulgate, punishable by death if true (Matt 28:11)
- The angels stated the tomb was empty (Luke 24:6)
- The empty tomb was first seen by Mary Magdalene (John 20:1-2, 11)
- The empty tomb was seen by Peter and John - Peter went in (John 20)
- The grave clothes were “lying there” on the stone slab (John 19:6, 7)
- Jesus’ appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20)
- Jesus’ appeared to Peter alone (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:15)
- Jesus’ appeared to the women (Matt 28:9)
- Jesus’ on the road to Emmaus appeared to two mean and spoke at length to them (Luke 24)
- Jesus’ appeared to 10 men at one time
- Jesus’ appearance to 11 men at one time
- Jesus’ breakfasted with 7 men near the Lake (John 21)
- Jesus’ appeared to his brother James (1 Corinthians 157)
- Jesus’ appeared to 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6)
The Resurrected Jesus Preached – was not Refuted
- Peter (Acts 2) - no Jewish refutation
- Paul (Acts 25) - accusations could not be proved
- Unbelief of resurrection was found in Athens not Jerusalem
- Paul (Acts 26) was brought before Agrippa Acts 5:33-39 - the judge stated; Let them go! For if their [the disciples] purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God
Jesus Resurrection seen in the Testimony of the Church
- It grew daily (Acts 2:41&47, Acts 5:14, Acts 12:24, Acts 19:20)
- Faith in Jesus grew in the face of persecution
- It encompassed not only Jews but also gentiles, bondman and free (Gal 3:28)
- The testimony cut to the heart - it affects the conscience of man, it changes lives (Acts 7:54)
Jesus’ Resurrection seen in society1
- Literacy and education of the masses
- Representative government
- Civil liberties
- Separation of political powers
- Benevolence and charity
- Regard for human life
- Language interpretation and writing
- Eternal salvation of Jews and Gentiles!
Christianity stands or falls on the Resurrection
Acts 10: 39 – 43
And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive.
1 Corinthians 15:20-26
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God - He is risen, risen indeed
It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Rom. 8:34 (NKJV)
So what do you believe?
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.
For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)
The Theft Theory
- Began by the Jews, as recorded in Matthew 28:1-15.
- This was clearly a cover story - the Jews evidently believed he had risen else there would have been no need for this elaborate story. Furthermore the guards would have reported it as such.
- The grave clothes were found - logically the embalmed body in 45kg of sticky fluid would not have been stripped off in the tomb while the guards were outside! The story is not plausible.
- In any case this tomb was better guarded and better watched than other in history!
- (If the soldiers were asleep how did they know the disciples took it?)
The Jews moved the body
- This is totally implausible as the most logical way to refute the resurrection was to produce the body - this they did not do, because they could not do!
 Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1999