Is the resurrection of Jesus true and how important is this event to Christianity and all people of the world?
The bible says this in 1 Corinthians 15: “Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there’s no resurrection, there’s no living Christ. And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-15 MSG)
So is the resurrection an actual historic event? The evidence overwhelmingly says yes. But, let’s consider only the evidence that even the most liberal scholars (Bart Ehrman, et al) accept as true. There are 12 historical points compiled by Gary Habermas that liberal and conservative scholars all agree on.
1. Jesus died by crucifixion.
2. He was buried in a tomb.
3. Jesus’ death caused his followers to despair and lose all hope.
4. A few days after his death, Jesus’ tomb was found empty.
5. Jesus’ followers had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the resurrected body of Jesus.
6. His followers, once doubters who were afraid to identify themselves with Jesus, began to proclaim his resurrection, even willing to die for their belief.
7. The resurrection was the center of teaching for the early Christian church.
8. Public testimony of the resurrection by Jesus’ followers took place in the same city where the public demanded that Jesus be killed.
9. As a result, the literal overnight adoption of a new set of beliefs occurred.
10. Sunday became the new day to worship, previously unheard of in the Jewish community.
11. James, Jesus’ brother, was converted to Christianity after he saw the risen Jesus.
12. Saul of Tarsus was converted to Christianity after he saw the risen Jesus.
Now those are twelve facts that nearly all historians agree are true. There are many other evidences for Jesus’ resurrection we can gain from the biblical accounts.
Let’s look at five points to show the resurrection story is not made up.
1. The first witnesses to the empty tomb were women. In the 1st century, women’s testimony was not considered admissible in a court. If the story was made up, you’d think the storytellers would have made their witnesses men.
2. In 1st century Jewish culture, it was blasphemy to worship a human. Why would fellow Jews begin to worship a human who had died if they were making it all up?
3. All the apostles and early church leaders died for their beliefs. No one dies for something they know to be a made up story.
4. In 1 Corinthians, Paul names 14 people who saw the risen Jesus and says over 500 other people also saw him and many of those people are still alive at the time. By saying many are still alive, Paul is telling his audience (the people in Corinth) to go ask those people if they don’t believe him. Wow.
5. Some will say the disciples stole the body. Why would they steal a body knowing they would die for making up a story of a resurrection? That’s crazy. You only willingly die for something you actually think is true.
There are so many other evidences for the resurrection. Comment or contact me if you want to discuss it further.
Christianity hinges on whether Jesus rose from the dead. If he didn’t raise, then why care about what he taught? Even if you have a tough time believing the resurrection you should want it to be true.
Tim Keller writes the following in his book, The Reason for God: “[Many skeptics] care deeply about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease, and caring for the environment. Yet many of them believe that the material world was caused by accident and that the world and everything in it will eventually simply burn up in the death of the sun. They find it discouraging that so few people care about justice without realizing that their own worldview undermines any motivation to make the world a better place. Why sacrifice for the needs of others if in the end nothing we do will make any difference. If the resurrection of Jesus happened, however, that means there’s infinite hope and reason to pour ourselves out for the needs of the world.”
The Bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The best place to hear the Word of God is at church. This Easter make the decision to go to church and keep going to church. You may say, “church is full of hypocrites!” You’d be correct. Church isn’t about being perfect. Church isn’t a country club for saints. It’s a hospital for sinners.
See you Sunday.