The Resurrection of Jesus

Let’s be real here. Bringing back a person from the dead? Hocus-pocus stuff. Modern, enlightened people don’t believe such fairy tales. As for the appearances after Jesus’ death, the disciples were delusional; they simply saw what they wanted to see.

THE DEFENSE

Several rebuttal arguments must be made here. First, soldiers were guarding the tomb of Jesus. As already mentioned, they were highly motivated to insure the tomb was not tampered with - if Jesus escaped, the soldiers paid with their life. To believe Jesus somehow was revived in the tomb, and then without medical attention was able to get up (with holes in his feet), move the boulder covering the entrance (with dislocated shoulders and holes in the hands), and sneak quietly passed an armed detachment of highly trained Roman soldiers is difficult to imagine.

But imagine if Jesus was somehow able to survive and sneak out, would a person who had these medical problems be able to inspire the disciples (and others) to carry on His message that He was able to conquer death? Illogical. The disciples and others were all killed for their faith in Jesus. If a beat up, near death person appeared to you, would it inspire you to give your life for a deception? Wouldn’t one of these many have given in as they were being whipped and crucified themselves? Logic would dictate at least one would have admitted the lie to save his own life. But none did.

The prosecution would have you believe some sort of mass delusion explains the tales of Jesus appearing after His death. But delusions are personal and individual. Are we to believe all the disciples at once had the same delusional vision when they saw Jesus together? Impossible.

Lastly, the Jewish leaders also were motivated to prove the resurrection a hoax. All they had to do was produce the body. But they couldn’t.

It may have occurred to you we have no witnesses to the actual event of the resurrection. But if we show Jesus was dead, and later seen alive, what conclusion can we draw? After all, dead men tell no tales. The first evidence is from Paul.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians very early; it predates the Gospel accounts. Paul begs people to check out his claim since the witnesses are still alive! If Paul made this up, would he have invited people to check it out? The resurrection is no legendary account. Paul wrote only about 20 years after the event, much to early for legend to develop.

The Gospels also have several accounts of post-resurrection appearances. Are we to discredit them also? For what reason? Just because we don’t want to believe it?

Without question, the amount of testimony and corroboration of Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances is staggering. To put it in perspective, if you were to call each one of the witnesses to a court of law to be cross-examined for just fifteen minutes each, and you went around the clock without a break, it would take you from breakfast on Monday until dinner on Friday to hear them all. After listening to 129 straight hours of eyewitness testimony, who could possibly walk away unconvinced? Lee Strobel “The Case for Christ” page 237)

Indeed, think of all the other trials whose outcome is determined on much less testimony.

Any of the prosecutions arguments to explain the resurrection is more difficult to believe than the truth: Jesus is God, so He has the power to do what He wants. For a God who created the universe to begin with, resurrection is no problem.

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