Proof of the Resurrection (pt 1)

I Introduction

The question of whether Jesus was resurrected from the cross has been a topic of debate for many centuries.  There is a significant amount of proof showing that He was, indeed, raised from the dead.  For skeptics to believe that evidence they must first believe that Jesus Christ existed and that He was crucified.  Mankind needs to recognize that the Word of God, eyewitness testimonies, and historical documents establish that Jesus Christ lived, died, was raised from the dead, and is alive today. Their lives depend on it.

II Did Jesus Even Exist?

Evidence that Jesus walked the earth is imperative to proving that He was our long-awaited for Messiah.  The writings in the New Testament have overwhelming evidence to support the fact that Jesus Christ existed.  The four gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are historically accurate accounts written either by eyewitnesses or through the testimonies of eye witnesses.  Some skeptics denounce these writings and insist they are simply exaggerated stories passed down throughout the years.  Norman Baker, author of Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, tells us that New Testament writings appeared within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses, so there was no way for a legend to develop as they could have simply refuted it.1  

There are multiple references to Jesus Christ outside of the Bible as well.  Celsus, a second century Greek Platonist philosopher, wrote a book criticizing Christians and opposing their belief that Jesus was the son of God, however he never questioned Jesus’ existence.  He wrote that Jesus was just a magician who made exorbitant claims.2  Titus Flavius Josephus, a Romano-Jewish scholar and historian, wrote a 20-volume historiographical work called Jewish Antiquities.  In it he wrote many times of Jesus and even remarked on his brother James.  Specifically, he mentioned Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah being condemned by Pilate, his followers not giving up their affection for him, and his reappearance on the third day after the crucifixion. Tacitus, a Roman historian, reported on Emperor Nero’s decision to blame Christians for a fire that destroyed Rome.  In his report he mentioned Jesus and his suffering at the hands of Pontius Pilate.4

Additionally, there are claims of archeological evidence of Jesus, though they are disputed by some as accurate.  It has been suggested that ancient coins have been discovered with a picture of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns printed on them.  Also, that the shroud He was buried in has been found.5

III Was Jesus God?

The best evidence we have of Jesus’ divinity is in the Bible.  John 1:1 says that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.6 It goes on in John 1:14 to say, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us”.  We can see examples of His divinity many times throughout the Bible.  There are writings of Him healing others, walking on water, raising people from the dead, miraculously feeding thousands, and calming storms. The question, then, is if Jesus Christ was part of the Trinity of God, how could He die?  The answer is that He was not just God, He was also man.  He possessed both divine nature and human nature, a characteristic called hypostatic union.  Colossians 2:9 tells us, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”.  We also know that Jesus was flesh because the Bible shows us that He was born of a virgin, He eats, sleeps, and gets tempted.   Being both God and man, we know that while His body could be killed on the cross, his Spirit could not.  1 Peter 3:18 states, “He was put to death in the body, but made alive in the Spirit”.   If Jesus was not man, He could not die for mankind, but if He was not God, He would not have been a holy enough sacrifice. 

See more in Part 2 (coming in January)

1.(Geisler 1999)
2. (Mykytiuk January/February 2015)
3. (Gleghorn 2001)
4. (Gleghorn 2001)
5. (Gathercole 2017)
6.(*Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical passages referenced are from the New International Version n.d.)

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