DID JESUS RISE FROM THE DEAD? Matthew 28:6* He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7* And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
What sets Christianity apart from other “religions” is the empty tomb. You can go to the tomb and the burial places of founders of the world’s religions. We have the tomb of Jesus, but uniquely it is empty.
Is there proof that Jesus rose from the dead?
1. FACT—JESUS CHRIST LIVED
Determining whether Jesus Christ actually lived is something that must be established before one can begin to discuss His resurrection.
Fortunately, the fact that Jesus lived is practically universally accepted. A host of hostile witnesses testified of His life, at least 7 non-Christian historians, both Roman and Jewish HISTORY talk of Jesus as a fact of history! Josephus and the Talmud itself being part of the list.
They all agree that he lived, was crucified under Pontius Pilate and that his followers claimed that he had been risen from the dead.
The New Testament documents in intricate detail His existence. [Even if one does not accept the New Testament as inspired of God, he or she cannot deny that its books contain historical information regarding a person by the name of Jesus Christ Who really did live in the first century A.D.]
In fact the historical accuracy of the New Testament is being verified nearly daily by archaeological discoveries and HAS BEEN proven over and over by 10’s of 1000’s of finds. In fact there has not been even one find that contradicts the New Testament’s historical claims.
2. FACT—JESUS CHRIST DIED
Of course if he lived we would have to believe that he died!
Death is a fact of life that we all will face some day. As the New Testament says: Heb 9:27
27* And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28* So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;
But it too is verified by historians:
The Talmud acknowledged the death of Jesus. According to the earlier rabbis,
“Jesus of Nazareth was a transgressor in Israel who practised magic, scorned the words of the wise, led the people astray, and said that he had not come to destroy the law but to add to it. He was hanged on Passover Eve for heresy and misleading the people”
Jewish historian Josephus wrote:
[T]here arose about this time Jesus, a wise man…. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross on his impeachment by the chief men among us, those who had loved him at first did not cease (Antiquities of the Jews, 18.3.3).
Tacitus, the ancient Roman historian writing in approximately A.D. 115, documented Christ’s physical death when he wrote concerning the Christians that “their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus”
3. FACT—THE TOMB OF CHRIST WAS EMPTY
Around the year A.D. 165, Justin Martyr penned his Dialogue with Trypho. At the beginning of chapter 108 of this work, he recorded a letter that the Jewish community had been circulating concerning the empty tomb of Christ:
A godless and lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galilaean deceiver, whom we crucified, but his disciples stole him by night from the tomb where he was laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive men by asserting that he has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven.
The Nazareth Inscription is a Greek inscription on a marble tablet
measuring approximately 24 inches by 15 inches.
It is interpreted by many scholars as an imperial decree against the Apostles stealing Christ’s body from His tomb and faking His resurrection. It is also very similar to the Jewish high-priestly version of the resurrection of Christ as found in Matthew 28:11–15—in other words, His disciples stole His body from the tomb.
When Peter stood up on the Day of Pentecost, after the resurrection of Christ, the crux of his sermon rested on the facts that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again on the third day. In order to silence Peter, and stop a mass conversion, the Jewish leaders needed simply to produce the body of Christ. Why did not the Jewish leaders take the short walk to the garden and produce the body? Simply because they could not; the tomb was empty—a fact the Jews recognized and tried to explain away. The apostles knew it, and preached it boldly in the city of Jerusalem. And thousands of inhabitants of Jerusalem knew it and converted to Christianity. John Warwick Montgomery accurately assessed the matter when he wrote:
It passes the bounds of credibility that the early Christians could have manufactured such a tale and then preached it among those who might easily have refuted it simply by producing the body of Jesus (1964, p. 78).
FACT—THE APOSTLES PREACHED THE DEATH, BURIAL AND PHYSICAL RESURRECTION OF JESUS
Regardless of whether or not one believes that Christ rose from the dead, one thing that cannot be denied is the fact His apostles preached that they saw Jesus after He physically rose from the dead.
FACT—THE APOSTLES SUFFERED AND DIED BECAUSE OF THEIR TEACHINGS ABOUT THE RESURRECTION
The only one who died of natural causes was John, but it was after being beaten, boiled and exiled to Patmos all for the message of the Resurrection.
FACT-The Holy Spirit Baptism is proof of the Resurrected Lord!
Peter preached that the outpouring of the Spirit was a result of Jesus being raised from the dead and ascended into heaven:
Acts 2:30* Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31* He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32* This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33* Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
Paul taught that His Spirit in us is our hope of being raised: Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Joh 20:22 …”Receive ye the Holy Ghost” and have a HAPPY EASTER!
Written by: Monty Showalter, Evangelist
If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm.