Proofs of the Resurrection – Part 1

Silhouettes of Three CrossesWhen Easter finishes, it is tempting to get back to life as we knew it and to forget about the priority it inspires. 2 Corinthians 5:15 states explicitly that we should no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and rose again! This not only includes making wise personal choices about life, but the need to speak up for our beliefs and to lead others to know Christ personally; to be ‘ministers’ reconciling people to God, just as this passage goes on to encourage in verse 19. It is part of the life of change that happens when a person becomes a new creation (verse 17). Few people doubt that Jesus lived, so it then becomes important to show that He was raised from the dead. When this is believed, the implications become that much clearer. Here are some useful arguments to help here.

There is evidence from outside the Bible. The Jewish (i.e. not Christian) historian, Josephus, describes the Resurrection as an actual event and no contemporary accounts exist to question it. The fact that the Apostle Paul can point to 500 witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15:6 who were not contradicted for their belief in the Resurrection also suggests that there was a widespread belief that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

To contradict Josephus, the witnesses, or other historians, one simply needed to provide the body of the dead Jesus. No-one did so. The Roman soldiers placed a large stone in front of Jesus’ tomb and were on a constant watch to protect it. A Roman seal was also set on the tomb. For anyone to raid the tomb and steal the body, they would have to have overpowered a guard of 4-16 Roman soldiers, moved a 1500 kg stone, carried off the body without being seen and, through it all, would have risked the wrath and punishment of the Roman Empire if caught.

The soldiers were certainly not dead or injured, but in fact reported the Resurrection to the Jewish chief priests who offered them a bribe to say that the disciples stole the body while they were asleep. If they were asleep, though, how did they know that the disciples stole the body? Besides, how could all members of the guard fall asleep through such an event, anyway, especially given the discipline that they would have faced for doing so?!

More tomorrow.

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