Resurrection: a fact not easily Ignored
The resurrection, Not since the creation of the world was there a witness to
such a miracle. No day in history has been more controversial and challenged by
The New Testament documents are reliable eyewitness accounts (1 Jn.1) ,
remains only to show that they affirm that Jesus died and rose from the dead
a few days later. Luke states he interviewed the eyewitnesses and received a
complete understanding to write an accurate account so that Theophilus as well
as us today can be assured.
Throughout the ministry time of Jesus he raised several people from the dead.
One which was dead for 4 days. These were people who were actually dead with
rigamortis setting in. These are not descriptions of near death experiences.
Jesus announced numerous times during His ministry that He was going to die.
Right after Peter confessed Jesus as the Son of the Living God Matt 16:21
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to
Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes,
and be killed, and be raised the third day. In Matthew 17 He said the son
of man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men and they will kill Him and
the third day he will be raised. 20% of the Gospels are devoted to this overall
teaching of his death and resurrection (mentioned 175 times in the NT. It is the
theme of the Gospel accounts. Matt 20:18-19, Matt. 21:37-39; Mark 8:31,
9:31; Luke 9:22, 18:32-34, Luke 24:44-47; John 2:19-22,6:51, John
While the resurrection is plainly taught in the O.T. the rapture is
considered a mystery. Isa. 26:19 Your dead shall live; together with my
dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your
dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
In Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will
redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your
It is found in even the oldest book of the bible Job when he stated he would
one day see his redeemer in his flesh.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He
who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and
believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? The resurrection is the
hardest part to accept, It was not accepted with many Greeks such as in Acts 17
They were angry at Paul when he got to that point .
Acts 17:18-20 states that Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers
encountered him. And some said, What does this babbler want to say? Others
said, He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods, because he preached to
them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the
Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?
For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know
what these things mean. This was meeting place where the Greeks and others
from outside would gather to hear the latest trends in philosophy.
Paul told the philosophers that God has given proof...to all men Acts
17:31-32 Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in
righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to
all by raising Him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of
the dead, some mocked, while others said, We will hear you again on this
To be brought back into the same body to live in was absurd to some of the
philosophers of their day, and it still is ours. It was so much easier to
believe in reincarnation and receive a whole different body.
Did He really Die ?
The extent of Jesus' injuries are a clear indication that He must have died,
he had no sleep the night before, he went through two trials. He was beaten
several times and whipped 39 times by a whip of leather throngs with either lead
balls or nails and glass, most did not survive the whipping. When first
whipped the heavy thongs cut through the skin as the blows continue, they
cut deeper into the muscles which produce arterial bleeding from vessels in the
underlying muscles. The skin of the back is ripped wide open hanging in pieces.
The entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn bleeding tissue. The
centurions would finally stop the beating when the prisoner is just short of
death. They then put a robe around him and it adhered to the open wounds.
A crown of thorns were pressed into his
head (these were big sharp thorns pressed into the scalp, a very sensitive area
to bleeding). Then they struck his face and hit him with the stick on the head.
After tiring of their sport of mocking him they quickly removed the robe after
it dried on the wounds causing excruciating pain and the wounds would again
begin to bleed. By now he was in shock and very weak.
He was then brought before Pilate and the people who insisted on his
crucifixion. He was given a cross beam to carry over his shoulders on his open
wounds weighing what some say was over 100 lbs. He was so weak he collapsed on
the way to his own crucifixion his loss of blood and strength is now life
threatening. Jesus was no weakling. Many times he exhibited stamina beyond
normal ability. He got up consistently in the Mornings to pray and he lasted far
beyond the disciples. When they were sleeping at night, he was praying. Yet he
still was human and was weak and tired like anyone else, but he did not let this
interfere with fulfilling Gods will. He live to do Gods will.
The Romans see this and picked someone else to help him carry his cross. He
walked up the Mount to Golgotha a 650 yard journey being totally exhausted.
There would be a tremendous loss of blood from being on the cross for more
than six hours. The victim crucified would constantly press themselves up on a
plate under the feet in order to keep breathing. Doing this for 6 hours could
kill even the healthy. He mustered up every bit of strength left to stay
conscious. If he had swooned from exhaustion on the cross he would have
Jesus finally declares, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit. And
having said this He breathed His last He gave up His spirit( he dismissed
it). Jesus' death cry was heard by the eyewitnesses who stood near. The Romans
who were professional executors pronounced Jesus dead. The scripture states when
they broke the legs of the two thieves (who were not whipped or beaten) the
Guards came to Jesus and were convinced that Jesus had already died.
The Roman piercing of Jesus' side with a spear from which poured out blood
and water is proof of His death. This is proven medially that he had a ruptured
heart. If he had not already died, this spear thrust into his heart by trained
executioners would have surely brought death.
The New Testament witnesses understood the background against which the
resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with the Jewish burial
custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth, in 75 lbs. Of aromatic spices, mixed
together to form a gummy substance, which was applied to the wrappings of cloth
about the body. He was then placed in a sealed tomb cut in the side of a MT.. A
large stone approximately two tons was rolled down into place by means of levers
against the entrance of the tomb. It was then taped and engraved with a Roman
seal. If broken was punishable by death. In his condition considering the
possibility that there was some mistake and was buried alive. He would have died
from no immediate medical attention for blood loss, shock, lack of food, water,
and three days in a musty tomb wrapped up like a mummy.
F. F. Bruce, professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University
of Manchester, says concerning the value of the New Testament records as primary
sources: Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material
respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have
served as a further corrective.
If this was not true then what his disciples believed and preached of his
coming alive again was a bold lie. This would have gone against all that Jesus
taught them when he was alive. He always spoke of truth, they were taught to
have integrity. On the other hand the Roman soldiers were paid off to lie about
the resurrection (Mt.28:11-15).
If it was all a lie when the disciples were preaching the resurrection in
Jerusalem, all the Jewish or Roman authorities had to do is say Wait We have
the body its right here. They could have easily recovered the corpse, put
it on a cart displaying it in victory through the city of Jerusalem, saying here
is your Messiah? This action would have halted Christianity immediately. But
there was a very simple answer to this. They didnt produce his corpse because
it was Gods victory for mankind. They didnt because they did not have
the body. It was stolen all right, not by man, but by God who raised him from
the dead just as he promised.
The disciples were just as astounded by this event since when he had died
they had lost all hope. The transformation of the disciples from cowards to bold
martyrs proves some kind of miraculous event convinced them. We often hear
comments that Jesus was seen alive after His death by His friends and followers
who already believed. Not so, he also appeared to those who were hostile against
his message. No informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a
follower of Christ. It was this encounter with a risen glorified Christ that
convinced him Jesus was his Messiah. Unbelievers knew of it,
even Jesus' half brothers James and Jude who thought he was out of his mind when
he was alive, became believers from this event.
Christ appeared not just to individuals but to groups, including one
gathering of more than 500 people. Paul said that many of them were still alive
and appeals to asking them about these events to prove it to anyone who
questions it. They were first hand witnesses, and today we would call what is
written a primary resource.(1 Cor. 15:6). The 11 appearances were at different
places. Some were in the garden by the tomb, some were in the Upper Room where
the disciples gathered. Some were as far away as Galilee another was on the road
from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Each appearance had different circumstances and words
spoken to the eyewitnesses continuing prove he has risen. John 21:14 This is
now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised
from the dead. They were meticulous in recording the events, how they
transpired and what was said.
Within 40 days after Jesus had 11 separate recorded appearances to numerous
different groups of people.
Paul asks the question by what body we will be resurrected in. Jesus Himself
said His resurrection body was one of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39; 13:37)
Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:50, flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God. . . The Apostle Paul turns to the subject of transformation.
The body that we now possess is not suitable for the heavenly kingdom it is
fallen. It is corrupted, subject to disease, and decays. Only that which is
pure, incorruptible and immortal can enter heaven, this is why there must be a
change. Paul answers the question of what kind of body believers will have
in the resurrection (vs. 35). It will be a spiritual body (vs. 44). He
proceeds to tell us a mystery which involves the change that all believers will
go through, The corruptible will put on incorruption , and mortality will become
immortality. This implies a conversion of our same physical bodies to a body
with heavenly qualities. We will have a complete change to make us suitable for
our new environment. Jesus offered His resurrection as a proof of His claims of
who he is. (John 2:19-22; 10:18). That no other sign would be given to that
unbelieving generation this was their las. (Matt. 12:40). If Christ did
not rise in the same physical body placed in the tomb, then the Resurrection
loses its significance as evidence for His claim to be God. The apostles pointed
to the post resurrection appearances of Jesus as, many convincing proofs
(Acts 1:3). The Resurrection was the center of their preaching to the Jews as
well as the Gentiles.
The early church was adamant on this. Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165) said
plainly: The resurrection is a resurrection of the flesh which dies. As
for those who maintain that even Jesus Himself appeared only as spiritual,
and not in flesh, but presented merely the appearance of flesh: these persons
seek to rob the flesh of the promise. Justin even insisted that Christ's
ascension shows that it is possible for flesh to ascend into heaven.
Tertullian declared the resurrection of the flesh to be the church's rule of
faith, saying it was taught by Christ and only denied by heretics.
Athenagoras In his treatise on The Resurrection of the Dead concluded
that God's power is sufficient for the raising of dead bodies, and is shown
by the creation of these same bodies. For if, when they did not exist, He made
at their first formation the bodies of men, and their original elements, He
will, when they are dissolved, in whatever manner that may take place, raise
them again with equal ease: for this, too, is equally possible to Him.
Against all heresies Chapt.4. Cerdo, Marcion, Lugan, Apelles. A
resurrection of the soul merely does he approve, denying that of the body.
He reinstated in heaven His spirit only. This man denies the resurrection of
Mishna Sanhedrin 10:1 He who maintains that the resurrection is not a
Biblical doctrine has no share in the world to come. (this was an accusation
against the Sadducees)
The apostle Paul in 1 Cor.15:14-19 gives a list of consequences that follow a
denial of the physical resurrection. V.14 If Christ did not rise, then our
faith is useless, empty, vain. V.15 The apostles including himself are false
witnesses of his death and then no one rises, we have no hope. Vs.16-17 Our
faith is false and we are still in our sins; Vs.18 Our departed loved ones
are lost gone forever Vs.19 We are the most to be pitied of all men
so why live this way. Vs.20 but he has raised and he is the first raised unto
Writing after the Resurrection, John declared that Jesus came [and
remained] in the flesh (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). The body that emerged from the
tomb Sunday morning was the exact same body that went in the tomb. He also
showed His crucifixion scars on his hands and side on two occasions because of
doubt. Thomas he said Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand
and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe (John 20:27). He fell down
and confessed him as his own Lord and God. Jesus said because you have seen you
believe blessed are they that have not seen and yet believe.
When God created the world there was no man there to witness this event and
record it. When God became a man and they witnessed his miracles yet they needed
faith to understand. When Jesus raised from the dead it became a witnessed fact
of history .
We all share This hope of the resurrection that believe in Christ. It is the
3rd point of the Gospel the seal that attests to the Genuineness of Christ. He
is the forerunner to the greatest event since creation, and we will all share in
it one day. To God be the glory.