As we gather today, we look at the historical account of Jesus’ resurrection and His conquering of death.

A modern secular world pushes out lot documentaries, books, and articles trying to explain the resurrection event.  In addition, they describe Jesus in such was that exclude the title of “risen” or “resurrected”.  Because of the ramifications, they create narratives that try to discredit or exclude the resurrection. Many scholars will reject the even on a single idea.  Because we cannot recreate a miraculous event, we must reject anything that is miraculous.

There are four pieces of evidence that any honest scholar will look at when exploring the truth of the resurrection.

We first hear and explore the salvation provided by Jesus with our minds.  But at some point, that has to move to our hearts and our faith paves the way to salvation.  We have to take evidence into our minds, and that leads to a decision in our hearts.

So what are these four pieces of evidence that points to Jesus’ burial and resurrection?

  1. Jesus’ burial by Joseph of Arimathea – Many people, especially in Islam, believe that Jesus didn’t die in the first place.  So they write off the resurrection because they say Jesus never died in the first place.
  2. The discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb by some of His female followers – In the time of Jesus’ life, women had no rights or credibility in society.  It was just the way it was.  So if you were going to make up some resurrection story, why would you have women as the first witnesses?  Those who would not be believed would not be the first witnesses.
  3. Jesus did appear after the resurrection to various groups and individuals – There were just too many, different people or situations where Jesus was appearing to people.  This is where some explanations get somewhat strange.  Some say that there was a mass hallucination or some sort of delusion.  But never in history has such a large number of people had a similar effect.  Even those people who have had mass hallucinations due to drugs know that everyone has different hallucinations.
  4. The original disciples believing sincerely that God had raised Jesus from the dead despite their strong predisposition to the contrary – Many of the disciples didn’t trust originally that Jesus had risen.  Thomas needed to touch the side of Jesus.  Once they saw Jesus, the knew, lived, and died NEVER saying anything different other than Jesus was resurrected.  And while there are lots of people willing to die for their faith, death didn’t mean anything to the disciples.  They didn’t get something better in heaven by dying, so they didn’t try to die for their faith.  But because they were killed for their faith (all but one), there is no doubt that they absolutely believed that Jesus was alive.

So what would it mean if Jesus is not alive?  It means that Jesus died for nothing.  It means that our faith is useless.  Why was the tomb rolled away instead of Jesus just walking through the door?  It was so that witnesses could walk in.  It was so that we could walk in and see an empty tomb.

But the disciples lived extravagant lives because Jesus was raised from the dead, right?  Nope.  They were beaten, outcast, jailed, and ultimately killed.  We have to ask, “Why would they endure this hard life?”  It was because they were absolutely certain of the truth of a resurrected Jesus.

So here is the bottom line.  People will call us fools.  Our world will continue to push out books and documentaries trying to discredit the truth of Jesus.  But God had this plan from the very beginning and the supporting evidence is there counter to any other claim.  But we have to do more than evaluating the evidence.  There comes a time when those things in our mind must move to our heart and we must make a decision to call out in faith that Jesus is our Risen Lord!

10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (ESV)

14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (ESV)