The Very Real Resurrection of Jesus Christ
With so much doubt, skepticism, and flurry of information, why is anyone a Christian?
Hi friends, I’m Will Whitfield and I want to lay out a case of why is it not so crazy to believe in Jesus Christ.
In the midst of all the religions around the world, the Abrahamic religions, including Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, command the following of about half the world’s population. While these and many other religions may superficially seem similar, closer examination will show each of them to be fundamentally unique. Christianity, for example, is the only faith where God (as the Son, Jesus) dies for His creation, where He is also resurrected. Also unique is the requirement of faith and love over works.
The Christian faith is also unique in that it gives critics the lynchpin they would need in order to debunk the whole thing. You see, in 1 Corinthians 15:14, the Apostle Paul writes that if Jesus was not was risen, then our faith is useless. Who does such a thing except the most confident and rational?
So, let’s take a close look at the ministry of Jesus
First - The Personhood of Jesus
As a person who left no wife or descendants, little to no material wealth, having written nothing on his own, being a carpenter with no known structures or instruments to His credit. How does He have such a worldwide impact? About one third of the world identifies as Christians. He impacted the way we keep time. 2019 AD or Anno Domini would be the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen. Even if you adhere to the Common Era, the numbering still centers around the birth year of Jesus.
All this does not come from a person that is totally made up. Even the most spiritually skeptical but rational scholar would believe that a man, Jesus of Nazareth, walked the Earth. Their issue would be the question of his divinity. With Jesus being the most influential and studied person in history, wouldn’t you at least want to know what He had to say?
We have to look at His divinity, or the claim that He is the Son of God and that to see Jesus is to see God the Father. We look at biblical scriptures written before Jesus' earthly life. Examine the prophecies about the Messiah along with the events of Jesus' life.
It is also not often that someone is able to predict their own death and furthermore, return from that death.
3rd Death Burial and Resurrection
Most scholars will agree that Jesus was put to death via crucifixion. Where people greatly diverge is what happened after that. You have the biblical accounts and then various theories of what would have happened to a dead body. To note: many scholars and behavioral scientists tend to conclude that the disciples behaved in a manner that indicates they truly believed they saw a risen Jesus. This is important to remember for a few of these theories. So let's look at a few:
1. Body eaten by dogs
Being executed as a criminal, some believe that Jesus' body was discarded and eaten by wild animals. Sounds plausible. However, this wouldn't necessarily agree with archaeological evidence of Roman policy or Jewish burial customs, even for criminals. The whole point of his execution and burial was to humiliate Him and destroy the movement that started around Him. A buried body would be more effective than a destroyed one. Even with scraps of a body remaining, it would have been plausible to halt the Christian movement.
2. Romans stole/moved the body
Okay, if His body isn’t discarded, then it’s buried somewhere. To fake a resurrection, for whatever reason, the body must be moved by someone. So this is one of the “the body must have been stolen” arguments. Some argue that the Roman government transferred or stole the body. The question must be asked: “To what end?” The Christian movement that emerged proved rather bothersome to the Roman government as it stirred up disorder among the Jews. They even passed a law aimed at the Jews about not robbing graves.
Now if the Romans wanted to get rid of all this commotion, all they had to do is produce a dead body.
3. Mass Hysteria / Hallucinations
Biblical record states that a risen Jesus encountered individuals and groups of up to 500 people. Mass hallucinations? Maybe.
The problem with that is mass hallucinations generally only affect one sense at a time. It would be unlikely for people to see AND hear a hallucination of a risen Jesus. You would need a miraculous instance of mass hysteria.
4. Jews stole the body
Maybe the anti Jesus Jews took the body out of spite. Again, to what end? This theory did come to mind since laws were made about robbing graves. However, if they were against this Jesus thing, all they had to do was produce the body.
5. Jews (Disciples) stole the body
One could also say that the disciples, or some subset, stole the body to fake their way into this new movement. Again, to what end/ There was no workable scenario where this is a political power play. Jesus was not here for governmental change as some of the disciples once thought. The disciples continued their ministries under brutal persecution and death where not one of them recanted or produced a body. This would indicate they really believed what they had seen. If they stole the body, then they knew they were dying for a lie. People often die for love, people often die for power, people often die for what they believe. People don’t die for a provable lie.
I’m packing a whole lot into a short amount of time but I hope it’s becoming clear that it almost takes MORE faith to believe that Jesus did not rise again than it does to believe that
He did rise.
But what’s so special about all this? Again, this shows Jesus to be the Son of God through the fulfillment of scripture. His death and resurrection were atonement for our sins so that we can have eternal life with God.
Don’t just stop at taking my word for it. Study and examine all of this for yourself so that the truth will be revealed to you.