Friday, April 22, 2011

The Resurrection-- Quick Defense

As a High School teacher, I spend a lot of time around students who have a lot of questions.  In my 10th grade Bible class, we recently spent almost two weeks learning about the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and why other theories do not fit the evidence we have.

While in the middle of teaching this to them, I started to think about very quick ways to defend the reality of the Resurrection, in case one does not have the time to explain to someone all of the nuances of the arguments of Gary Habermas, or Mike Licona (Mike Licona has recently written a book on the resurrection that is 718 pages.)  So, if a friend does not want all of the evidence, or like me, you might just have an audience that wants things short and to the point, then here is my attempt at a very quick defense of the Resurrection.  Hopefully this can be like hitting the easy button for the resurrection.

Prophecy-Circumstantial (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Dan 2:44, Mt 12:40, Jn 10:18, Mk 8:31, etc)
There are many different forms of evidence.  The OT prophecies concerning Jesus' death and resurrection, as well as Jesus' own prophecies that he would die and raise again are all forms of circumstantial evidence.  Circumstantial evidence is evidence that is suggestive of a specific thing, but it is not proof of the event itself.

These prophecies suggest that Jesus would die on a cross and live again later.  Again, this does not prove it happened, but it is a building block for the case.

We Know Jesus Died (Mk 15:16-41, Jn 19:1-37, etc) 
Because the Bible is historically reliable, we know that Jesus actually died on the Cross.  He suffered through 39 lashes from a Roman whip, was beaten, forced to carry his cross beam, hung on the cross, stabbed with a spear into the heart.  The Romans were excellent killing machines, they knew when people died and there is no reason to believe Jesus did not die.

Jesus' Tomb was Known (Jn 19:38-42, etc)
Jesus was buried in a place where everyone knew.  He was buried in a rich man's family tomb, sealed in it, and a guard was placed outside.  This is a very important fact, because it means the if Jesus' body was still in the tomb, everyone would know where it was and be able to show it to the people, when the disciples claimed he had risen again.

People Saw Jesus Alive Again After He Died (Jn 20:11-18, Lk 24:34, Jn 21, Mt 28:16-20, 1 Cor 15:3-7, etc.)
The most important thing to remember here, is that the people who claimed to have seen Jesus alive again, were not in the frame of mind to make a story like this up.  The disciples had just seen their Lord executed, and had then hidden for fear of persecution.  These men are not likely to make the story up (because then people just show the body is in the tomb), steal the body (they were afraid already), or hallucinate (hallucinations are not group events).  Instead they experienced something that made them tell everyone that the man who was dead was alive again.

Not only the disciples, but two enemies of the gospel claimed to see Christ as well.  Saul (a persecutor of Christians) claimed to see Christ a couple years later, and James (the unbelieving brother of Christ) claimed to have seen him as well.  The hardest people to convince of any event are the enemies.  To convince Saul and James is very telling evidence.

So, what we know is this.  At point "A" Jesus was alive.  At point "B" Jesus is dead and buried in a known tomb.  At point "C" he is seen alive again, and no one produced his body afterward.

The Resurrection is the only explanation that fits these known events.  The other theories somehow miss on at least one of these points.

Praise the Lord, He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed.

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