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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

5 Facts About the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Outlining the Evidence


"Jesus Christ was publicly executed in Judea in the 1st Century A.D., under Pontius Pilate, by means of crucifixion, at the behest of the Jewish Sanhedrin. The non-Christian historical accounts of Flavius Josephus, Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Maimonides and even the Jewish Sanhedrin corroborate the early Christian eyewitness accounts of these important historical aspects of His death."

Rembrandt

As a younger Christian I knew that belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ was an essential part of my Christian faith; however,  I used to think that this belief was largely one of blind faith. As I grew spiritually and intellectually I came to understand that, although this is indeed a miraculous event, the surrounding evidence for it is immense and demands that even the skeptic pay attention. 

One simply has to have the belief that miracles are can happen. Now many claim the miraculous and make a mockery of it in the process. But we have to keep in mind what the evidence indicates and what comes of said miracle - does it simply fade away? or does it stick around but without any credibility for anyone even slightly intellectual? As this very brief 5 point summary hopes to point out, the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus comes with much evidence, has certainly endured the test of time and, somewhat to my youthful surprise, has even stood up to the intellectual. For more in-depth accounts please refer to the "Sources and Further Reading" section at the bottom". 



1) Execution

Jesus was surely dead. He would have been in hypovolemic shock from massive blood loss just from the flagellum beating. The Roman soldiers did not break His legs indicating they knew He was already dead (they usually did this to speed up death). Also they were experts at killing and their own lives would have been in jeopardy if they let a crucifixion victim down alive. Furthermore the spear thrust into His heart “would have settled the matter once and for all” (Dr. Alexander Metherell).


Rembrandt



2) Empty Tomb

Everybody agreed in the ancient world that the tomb of Jesus was empty. But how did it become empty? Disciples lacked motive or opportunity - they did not expect Him to be resurrected (also see #5)  and the Jews or Romans would have flaunted the body at the Christians claim of resurrection. 





3) Eye Witnesses

Women in first-century Jewish culture were not given credibility in a court of law; their testimony was not considered reliable. So why [do the gospel writers] say that women discovered the tomb empty, even though it hurts their case in the view of their audience? I believe it's because they were trying to accurately record what actually took place.

He encountered 515 individuals--including people whose lives were changed 180 degrees, from being opposed to Jesus to being supporters of Jesus, because of their encounter with the resurrected Christ.





4) Early Records

1 Corinthians 15:1-6
This creed has been dated back by scholars from a wide range of theological beliefs to as early as 2-3 years after the life of Jesus. Nowhere near enough time for myth or legend to develop (Not to mention the Gospels or Book of Acts). People would still be alive to refute this statement if it did not exist.


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5) Emergence of the Church

Unlike many martyrs, the disciples would know for a fact if the resurrection was true or just a hoax. They would not willingly suffer and die for what they personally knew to be a lie. 2,000 years later the Church, founded on this truth, is still going strong.


Anthony van Dyck


“I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.”       Sir Lionel Luckhoo, Famous British Defense Lawyer

Sources & Further Reading: 

Lee Strobel , The Case for Christ ( inc. interviews with Dr Craig Blomberg, Dr. Bruce Metzger, Dr. William Lane Craig, and Dr. Gary Habermas)

The Case For the Resurrection of Jesus by Dr Gary Habermas

Question: "Why should I believe in Christ’s resurrection?" (gotquestions.org)

2 comments:

  1. Are our pastors telling us the truth?

    Are Christian pastors honest with their congregations regarding the evidence for the Resurrection? Is there really a "mountain of evidence" for the Resurrection as our pastors claim or is the belief in the Resurrection based on nothing more than assumptions, second century hearsay, superstitions, and giant leaps of faith?

    You MUST read this Christian pastor's defense of the Resurrection and a review by one of his former parishioners, a man who lost his faith and is now a nonbeliever primarily due to the lack of good evidence for the Resurrection:

    -A Review of LCMS Pastor John Bombaro's Defense of the Resurrection-

    (copy and paste this article title into your browser to find and read this fascinating review of the evidence for the Resurrection)

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  2. The veracity of the Christian religion rises or falls on the veracity of the Resurrection and the veracity of the Resurrection rises or falls on the historicity of the alleged post-death appearances of Jesus to his followers. Christians believe that the appearance stories in the Gospels and in the Early Creed are historical facts based primarily on the following:

    1. There were so many alleged eyewitnesses to these appearances, sometimes in large groups.
    2. These alleged appearances had a dramatic effect on the character of those who witnessed them.
    3. These alleged appearances were the impetus for many early Christians to be willing to be tortured and painfully executed for their belief in the veracity of these appearances.
    4. These Resurrection appearances were the primary reason for the rapid growth of Christianity.

    Question: Are these facts sufficient evidence to believe that a three-day-brain-dead first century corpse really did come back to life possessing supernatural powers; supernatural powers which allowed him to teleport between cities, walk through locked doors, and levitate into space? Before you answer that question I ask you to watch this Youtube video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=najjzDeRrNY

    In this video, HUNDREDS of very devout, sincere people of faith believe that a woman who has been dead for 20 centuries is appearing to them. I have no doubt that at least some of these “eyewitnesses” would be willing to suffer great persecution and even death defending their belief that this event really happened.

    Based on the very large number of eyewitnesses to this event and upon their very intense, sincere belief that this very extra-ordinary event really occurred…should we believe them?

    Answer: Absolutely not!

    Why? These people are very obviously experiencing an illusion. There is no dead woman to be seen anywhere in the video. Collective human experience would suggest that this is very likely what happened in the first century with the early Christians. The appearance stories in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15, the earliest description we have of these alleged events, make no mention of a talking, walking, broiled-fish-eating Jesus. If the detailed appearance stories in the Gospels are literary embellishments, perfectly acceptable in a Greco-Roman biography as evangelical Christian New Testament scholar Michael Licona has demonstrated in his recent book, Why are There Differences in the Gospels?, it is quite possible that the actual early Christian appearance claims were based on illusions, similar to the one seen in the Youtube video above.

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