The Surety of the Resurrection of Jesus
Any 20th century person should believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead for the following reasons:
- If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the testimony of the disciples? Forty days later, “We’ve seen a dead man walking!”
- In all of the major resurrection stories, women were the first and primary eyewitnesses. This would be a bad idea since in both the ancient Jewish and Roman cultures the testimony of women were not valued therefore their testimony would be regarded as not credible. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that any perpetrators of a deception in 1st Century Judea would choose women to be their main witnesses.
- If Jesus remained dead, Why did Paul, who admitted that he was a fierce persecutor of the early Church, voluntarily die for his testimony, a fact which proves the sincerity of his belief (The Book of Acts and Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews XX, ix, 1).
- If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the sincerity of the disciples in preaching that Jesus rose from the dead even in the face of their own deaths? Of the 11 disciples, only one died of old age—All the rest died as martyrs. According to the historical record (The Book of Acts 4:1-17; Pliny’s Letters to Trajan X, 97, etc) most believers could terminate their persecution and pain simply by giving up their faith. Instead, they chose to bear the suffering unto death.
- If Jesus remained dead, why did 500 believers say He rose and that they saw Him alive (I Corinthians 15:6)?
- If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the trustworthiness of the witnesses? In the first century, their story was not proven wrong.
- If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the inability of the first century doubters to deal with the fact that He rose and give a different explanation to the empty tomb? All the authority of Rome and of the religious leaders in Jerusalem aimed at destroying the Christian faith. All they needed to do was to unearth the grave and to present the corpse. They didn’t.
- If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the exceptional growth of the Christian church in the first 3 centuries?
The late jurisprudential and international statesman Sir Lionel Luckhoo (of The Guinness Book of World Records fame for his unprecedented 245 consecutive defense murder trial acquittals) epitomized Christian confidence in the fact that Jesus rose from the dead:
“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.”
The Power of the Gospel
Jesus rising from the dead was prophesied in the Old Testament. No resurrected person other than Jesus had his or her resurrection foretold by an Old Testament prophet. “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight” (Hosea 6:2).
The resurrection of Jesus gives the ultimate hope of salvation. Without Jesus rising from the dead, there would be no “Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). Without Jesus’ resurrection, He would not be able to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). Without Jesus’ resurrection, we would have no assurance of His coming and subsequent judgment (Acts 17:231).
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In His service,
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