Evidence of the Resurrection of Christ

EVIDENCE OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

I)                     INTRODUCTION – (TEXT (NKJV): MATT 28:1-15) THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY RISES AND FALLS WITH THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.  JESUS TOLD HIS DISCIPLES while they were in Galilee THAT “ The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:   And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.” (Matt 17:22-23 kjv)  IF THE RESURRECTION IS TRUE THEN WE MUST BELIEVE THAT EVERTHING JESUS SAID IS TRUE.  IF IT IS FALSE THEN WE HAVE NO REASON TO BELIEVE ANYTHING THAT JESUS SAID TO BE TRUE.  ACCORDING TO JOSH MCDOWELL IN “EVIDENCE DEMANDS A VERDICT” ALL BUT FOUR OF THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS ARE FOUNDED UPON PHILOSOPHY.  THE OTHER FOUR ARE FOUNDED UPON PERSONS.  OF THESE FOUR, ONLY CHRISTIANITY IS FOUNDED UPON CLAIMS THAT ITS LEADER HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, PROVING HIMSELF TO BE WHOM HE SAID HE WAS – THE SON OF GOD.   LET’S EXAMINE THE EVIDENCE.

II) NEW TESTAMENT EYE WITNESSES ACCOUNTS

A)   OCCURRED THROUGHOUT THE DURING 40 DAY PERIOD BETWEEN CHRIST’S RESURRECTION AND HIS ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN (ACTS 1:3)

  1. MARY MAGNALENE, MARY MOTHER OF JAMES & JOHANNA – (RESURRECTION MORNING) – MATT. 28:1 – 8, JOHN 20:11-18, LUKE 24:1 – 9, MARK 16:1 –
  2. PETER – (RESURRECTION MORNING) – LUKE 24:34
  3. CLEOPAS AND ANOTHER FOLLOWER OF CHRIST WHO TRAVELED TO EMMAS (ABOUT 7 MILES FROM JERUSALEM)  – (LATER ON DAY OF RESURRECTION) – LUKE 24:13 – 32, MARK 16:12
  4. TEN DISCIPLES (EXCLUDING THOMAS) – (EVENING OF DAY OF RESURRECTION) – JOHN 20:19 – 24, LUKE 24:33 – 43,
  5. ALL ELEVEN DISCIPLES (ONE WEEK LATER, FIRST DAY OF WEEK) – MATT 28:16 – 20, JOHN 20:26 – 31, MARK 16:14
  6. SEVEN DISCIPLES BY SEA OF GALILEE – JOHN 21:1 – 25
  7. OVER 500 PEOPLE IN GALILEE – (DURING 40 DAY PERIOD PRIOR TO ASCENSION) – 1 COR. 15:6
  8. JAMES (BROTHER OF JESUS) – 1 COR. 15:7
  9. APOSTLES PRESENT WHEN HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN – (LUKE 24:50, ACTS 1: 3 – 11)

B)   DURING THIS PERIOD JESUS APPEARED TO EYEWITNESSES, HE TOUCHED THEM  (MARY MAGDELENE & THOMAS), HE TALKED WITH THEM AND ATE WITH THEM.

C)   ALL OF NEW TESTAMENT WRITTEN BETWEEN 50 AD AND 75 AD (WITHIN 17 – 46 YEARS OF CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION AND ASCENSION)

III)    WHAT SECULAR WRITERS (UNBELIEVERS) HAVE WRITTEN OF JESUS CRUCIFIXION & THE RAPID GROWTH OF CHRISTIANITY & THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

A)  JEWISH HISTORIAN JOSEPHUS, WHO LIVED FROM 37AD – 100AD,  SPEAKS OF JESUS CRUCIFIXION AND THE THOSE THAT FOLLOWED HIS TEACHINGS AND BELIEVED IN HIS RESURRECTION.  (ANTIQUITIES XX 9:1)

B)  ROMAN HISTORIAN TACITUS, WHO LIVED FROM ABOUT  55AD  – AFTER 117AD,  WROTE OF CHRIST BEING PUT TO DEATH BY PONTIUS PILOT , PROCURATOR OF JUDEA DURING THE REIGN OF TIBERIUS, AND THE GROWTH OF CHRISTIANITY. (ANNUALS XV.44)

C)    PLINY THE YOUNGER, A ROMAN SENATOR & GOVERNOR OF BITHNIA (NOW NORTHERN TURKEY), WHO LIVED FROM 61AD –   112AD, TOLD OF THE MULTITUDE OF CHRISTIANS-MEN WOMEN AND CHILDREN THAT HE HAD KILLED.

 

IV)  CONVERSION & TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLE PAUL (1COR 15:1-10)

A) FORMERLY A PHARISEE, WHO PROSECUTED THE CHURCH

B)  CONFRONTED & CONVERTED BY CHRIST ON ROAD TO DAMASCUS

C) APOSTLE TO GENTILES, WROTE NEARLY HALF BOOKS OF NT

D)  THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS MARTYRED BY NERO IN 67 OR 68 AD.  MOST OF HIS EARLY EPISTLES WERE WRITTEN BEFORE 62 AD.

E)  THERE WERE MANY EYEWITNESSES TO JESUS MINISTRY STILL ALIVE TO REFUTE PAUL’S TEACHINGS OF THE LIFE, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST,  IF THEY HAD DARED DO SO.

 

V)  DEBUNKING THE THEORIES OF THOSE WHO REFUSE TO BELIEVE THE EVIDENCE

A)  JESUS FOLLOWERS STOLE HIS BODY

  1. FIRST THEORY ADVANCED TO COUNTER CLAIM THAT JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD (MATT. 28:13) JEWS KNEW THAT JESUS HAD SAID THAT HE WOULD RISE AGAIN AFTER THREE DAYS AND HAD ARRANGED FOR THE TOMB TO BE SEALED AND GUARDED BY TEMPLE GUARDS OR ROMAN SOLDIERS.
  2. DISCIPLES WOULD NOT HAVE PREACHED THE GOSPEL AT COST OF THEIR LIVES TO PERPETUATE A MYTH – THEIR DEEP CONVICTION IS EVIDENCED BY THEIR OBEDIENCE TO GREAT COMMISSION AND THE EXPLOSIVE GROWTH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH.
  3. DISCIPLES WOULD NOT HAVE DIED AS MARTYRS TO PERPETUATE THIS A HOAX.  (ACCORDING TO TRADITION ALL DISCIPLES EXCEPT FOR JOHN DIED AS MARTYRS.)
  4. MEN WILL SOMETIMES DIE FOR SOMETHING THEY BELIEVE TO BE TRUE BUT NOT SOMETHING THEY KNOW TO BE FALSE.

B)    THE ROMANS OR JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERS TOOK JESUS BODY

IF THEY HAD TAKEN JESUS BODY THEY WOULD HAVE PRODUCED IT TO COUNTER THE DISCIPLES CLAIMS OF JESUS RESURRECTION AND TO SUPPRESS THE RAPIDLY GROWING MOVEMENT CALLED “THE WAY” LATER THEY WERE CALLED CHRISTIANS.

C)  JESUS DID NOT REALLY DIE ON THE CROSS (SWOON THEORY).

  1. IF HE DID NOT REALLY DIE HE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN SUCH BAD SHAPE THAT HE WOULD HAVE REQUIRED MEDICAL ATTENTION.  ANYONE THAT WOULD HAVE SHOWED THAT COMPASSION WOULD HAVE TOLD HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE WAS ALIVE.
  2. THE DISCIPLES CLEARLY BELIEVED THAT HE DIED AND AROSE AGAIN OR THEY WOULD NOT HAVE PREACHED THE GOSPEL SO VIGOROUSLY AT THE COST OF THEIR LIVES.   THEY CLEARLY BELIEVED AND TAUGHT THAT JESUS DIED AND AROSE AGAIN, DEMONSTRATING THAT HE WAS WHO HE SAID HE WAS – THE SON OF GOD.
  3. IF HE DID NOT DIE THEN WHEN DID HE DIE AND WHERE WAS HE BURIED?  WHY WAS HIS BODY NEVER PRODUCED AS EVIDENCE OF A HOAX?  DISCOVERING JESUS BODY OR DETAILS OF WHERE HE LIVED WOULD HAVE REALLY BIG NEWS THAT WOULD HAVE HALTED THE SPREAD OF CHRISTIANITY.

D)    MARY MAGALINE AND THE OTHER WOMEN, CONFUSED WENT TO THE WRONG TOMB

  1. IF THIS WERE TRUE SOMEONE WOULD HAVE SHOWED THEM WERE JESUS WAS BURIED.
  2. THE JEWS WOULD HAVE CORRECTED THIS ERROR QUICKLY TO COUNTER THE DISCIPLES PREACHING AND THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH.
  3. THIS SCENARIO DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR HIS MANY APPEARANCES DURING THE 40 DAY PERIOD BETWEEN HIS RESURRECTION AND HIS ASCENTION INTO HEAVEN.

E)  JESUS FOLLOWERS EXPERIENCED MASS HALLUCINATIONS.

  1. THIS VIEW SUGGESTS THAT THE POST RESURRECTION APPEARANCES OF JESUS OCCURRED ONLY IN THEIR MINDS.  THIS IS NOT PLAUSIBLE, THERE WERE TOO MANY PEOPLE WHO SAW JESUS OVER TOO LONG A TIME.
  2. THIS THEORY AGAIN DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE EMPTY TOMB AND THE ABSENCE OF A CORPSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN QUICKLY PRODUCED BY THE JEWS AND OR THE ROMANS TO COUNTER THE GROWING MASSES WHO WERE FOLLOWING THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST.

 

VI)   THE ALTERNATIVE TO THESE THEORIES IS THAT JESUS CHRIST AROSE FROM THE GRAVE JUST AS HE SAID HE WOULD

A)    HE APPEARED TO HIS DISCIPLES, GIVING THEM LAST MINUTE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASCENDING INTO HEAVEN.

B)  THE DISCIPLES DOUBT AND CONFUSION WOULD HAVE BEEN TURNED TO JOY AND BELIEF IN HIS RESURRECTION, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

C)   EVEN JAMES, JESUS HALF BROTHER BELIEVED, AND BEGIN TO PREACH THE GOOD NEWS.  HE ALSO WROTE THE BOOK OF JAMES, OPENING WITH “JAMES, A SERVANT OF GOD AND OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST”.

D) HIS DISCIPLES AND FOLLOWERS WOULD SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

E)  THE GOSPEL WOULD BE PREACHED TO THE ENTIRE WORLD, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING.

F)   MILLIONS WOULD EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF SINS FORGIVEN, LIVES WOULD BE TRANSFORMED.  PEOPLE THAT WERE SLAVES TO SINFUL HABITS AND LIFESTYLES WOULD BE SET FREE TO EXPERIENCE A NEW LIFE IN CHRIST.  THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAS HAPPEN.  YOU ARE THE PRIMARY EVIDENCE.  YOU ARE HERE THIS MORNING TO HEAR AND SHARE THE GOOD NEWS.  JESUS CHRIST HAS RISEN. HE IS SITTING AT THE FATHER’S RIGHT HAND AND HE IS LIVING IN US AND WORKING THROUGH US.   THE PROOF IS IN THE POODING AS THEY SAY…

VII)    CONCLUSION – FINALLY LETS LOOK AT PETER’S TESTIMONY CONCERNING JESUS:   2Pe 1:16  For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  OR WHAT THE WRITER OF HEBREWS HAS TO SAY: Heb 1:1  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when He had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED TODAY DEMANDS A VERDICT: MEMBERS OF THE JURY,  EACH OF YOU SHOULD RENDER A DECISION OF WHETHER JESUS WAS WHO HE SAID HE WAS OR WAS HE A LIAR AND AN IMPOSTOR   I SHOULD TELL YOU THAT THE BIBLE INDICATES THAT SAINTS AND SINNERS WILL BE RESURRECTED TO STAND BEFORE GOD.  THE SAINTS WILL BE RESURRECTED WHEN JESUS COMES FOR HIS CHURCH (1THESS 4:13-18, 1COR 15:20-26, 50-55).  THOSE WHO DENY JESUS WILL BE RESURRECTED LATER, IN WHAT THE BIBLE CALLS “THE GREAT WHITE THRONE OF JUDGEMENT” SPOKEN OF IN REV 20:11-15.

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