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There’s Reliability in the Resurrection

November 13, 2012

It’s not always easy to know who to trust in life.

So many people make promises only to let you down.

Most of the time these broken promises don’t make a huge difference, however sometimes the result of a broken promise can be devastating.

One of the many reasons that billions of people throughout history and across the world have chosen to put their trust in Jesus Christ is because they consider Him reliable.

‘Who is there more reliable than the man who predicts his own death, prophesies His resurrection and then actually does it!?’

I clearly I can’t prove beyond all doubt that 2,000 years ago Jesus died and came back to life 3 days later, (if I could I’d probably be a best selling author by now). However I do think there’s some interesting points that ‘the resurrection’ …err raises (excuse the pun).

Let’s unpack these points by addressing some common objections to the resurrection:

1. The bible is made up – and therefore so is the story of the resurrection

Is there anyway we can we be certain that the events that the New Testament describe ever took place? The answer is yes, but for more information please refer to my earlier posts “Can we be confident in the New Testament?” (part 1 and part 2).

Due to the overwhelming detail and support that there is for the New Testament not only can we be confident in the narrative of the New Testament but we can list the following details about the resurrection:

– Jesus Christ stood trial and was sentenced to death

– Jesus Christ was killed by Roman crucifixion which usually involved the following:

  • Severe beatings from Roman guards who were very good at killing people
  • Flogging with leather whips that had bits of metal and bone attached
  • A crown of thorns being forced into His head
  • Having to carry His own cross to the place of crucifixion
  • Having nails hammered into His hands and feet
  • Hours of hanging on the cross which involved asphyxiation
  • A spear piercing His side (at which point we read that blood and water flowed)

– Jesus Christ was buried in a brand new tomb which had a large stone (that weighed about 2 tonnes) rolled in front of it

– The tomb was sealed with the Roman seal that if were broken unlawfully would result in execution

– The tomb was guarded by a unit of Roman soldiers who understood that if they failed a task they also were at risk of the death penalty

2. Jesus didn’t really die during His crucifixion, He just about survived and then managed to escape

This is often referred to as the ‘swooning theory’, basically Jesus just about survived the crucifixion and then when He regained consciousness in the tomb He pushed the stone away and went for a naked stroll.

Most sensible people will easily disregard this idea. Apart from the fact that it’s hugely unrealistic to expect a man, who just about survived a crucifixion, to escape from the tomb, rolling away a 2 tonne stone (which due to the design of tombs in that era would have most likely had to have been rolled uphill), he then also had to fight off a unit of professional killers. As well as this we are told that when Jesus was speared in His side, blood and water flowed.

Allegedly when blood and water flow it is medical proof that someone is dead. I’m not sure how or why it means that, you are probably better off speaking to someone who knows about these things. I tell you what you can go and check that detail out for yourself if you like.

3. Jesus died but he didn’t come back from the dead, instead the religious leaders hid His body to avoid any conspiracy

This is a theory that has often been suggested. Jesus had a few enemies whilst alive (just like today); mainly the Jewish religious leaders who were aggravated at the way Jesus was disturbing the status quo. Jesus was running around performing miracles, claiming to be God, and generally standing up to and challenging the religious leaders.

On the surface, the simplest reason why Jesus was killed in the first place was because these religious leaders wanted Him dead. They wanted Him out of the equation and they wanted Him forgotten.

So perhaps it was the Jewish leaders who hid Christ’s body to ensure there was no further controversy.

Well this doesn’t really stack up either.

Apart from the fact that these religious old guys wouldn’t be able to take on the Roman soldiers, the political environment was very tense and to even dare to break the Roman seal would have been really stupid.

As well as that, the very moment people started to claim that Jesus had risen from the dead, surely the Jewish religious leaders would have presented Christ’s body to put a stop to the claims.

4. Jesus died but he didn’t come back from the dead, instead the disciples hid His body and started the conspiracy

This is probably the most reasonable explanation. The disciples clearly had an agenda and they clearly wanted to perpetuate this notion that Christ was God. They, along with everyone else, had heard Christ claim that after His death He will come back, and as such they wanted to continue the conspiracy.

Much of the same in terms of a response could be used here. Is it reasonable to imagine the motley crew of disciples taking on the elite Roman guards? Would the disciples have dared to break the Roman seal? Especially considering how terrified they were only a few days earlier – we’re told that most of them ran away the moment Jesus was arrested.

As well as that one of the most profound facts about the disciples is that every single one of them (apart from John) was martyred for what they believed. They all preached Christ as the risen King, and they suffered horribly for it.

Is it realistic to imagine these men going through torturous deaths maintaining that Christ is the risen King?

They were given the option to renounce Christ, and yet they didn’t. If anyone knew whether the resurrection was a conspiracy it was these guys. They hadn’t been brainwashed – if anything they would have been the ones doing the brainwashing – but indeed what we actually see is them giving up their lives for what they claimed to be true.

Today in 2016 there are literally millions of people worldwide claiming the same thing.

Millions of people claiming they have met the risen King; Jesus Christ. Millions of people claiming that He is reliable.

If there’s any chance they’re telling the truth – then it’s worth exploring.

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