Sunday, April 24, 2011

Proofs of the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is  central to the Christian faith. The Bible teaches that we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection. Our sins are killed in Christ's death, and His bodily resurrection enables Him to give life to us.

If Christ is not raised from the dead He cannot conquer the power of death that operates in the body. we would still be separated from God, and without divine resources to deal with sin and do the work of God. 1 Corinthians 15 present several proofs of the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:13-14 KJV    But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:    And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
The resurrection is so fundamental to the gospel that any preaching of Christ is useless if He has not risen. If Christ cannot exercise power in His dead body, raising it, then He cannot exercise power in our bodies to empower our faith or preaching. His power in our lives is linked to His power that raised His body from the dead

1 Corinthians 15:15 KJV    Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 

Notice the text does not say only that they are false witnesses, but that the are FOUND false witnesses. If Jesus body was still in the tomb, then when the apostles preached that God raised Jesus from the dead the preaching have been quickly exposed as a hoax. The enemies of the gospel would have said something like this:
He has not risen. He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Go there and see that His body is still there.
The Jews came up with there own version of a 911 conspiracy theory to cover up the resurrection. The had the Roman guards say that the disciples stole the body while they slept. How would the Romans know who stole the body if they were sleeping? Why would a Roman soldier commit suicide  by saying they were sleeping on duty? (Sleeping at the post was a capital offense that would result in the entire troop being executed.) If a Roman troop was vigilantly guarding the tomb how could the disciples have entered to take he the body without staging an armed rebellion, which would have drawed the wrath of Rome? The Jews conspiracy theory designed to cover up the resurrection falls apart.

1 Corinthians 15:16-17 KJV  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Man's basic sin problem is that he is separated from God. This forces man to trust in the arm of the flesh, bring sin and a curse.Christ got rid of our sins by killing those sins on the cross. This opened the way for the life of God to enter man, eliminating the need to trust in he arm of the flesh. We can now trust God. If Christ has not risen from the dead, the life of God cannot enter us. We are then still forced to trus in the arm of the flesh-and still in our sins and bad habits reinforced by the action of our flesh. If Christ is not raised, then no one would miraculously overcome the habits of the flesh.

1 Corinthians 15:18-19 KJV  (18)  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

If Christ is not raised from the dead, Nobody alive at that time would have anything to gain from perpetrating that hoax. The preaching of Christ drew deadly persecution from both the Jews and the Romans.There are two scenarios here, depending on whether the apostles were lunatics or liars. Both lead to impossible conclusions

Lunatick Scenario:
If the early eyewitnesses of  Christ's resurrection were experiencing delusions and hallucinations and the rest were gullible enough to follow them in spite of persecution, then that would prove that the early church was an insane asylum. The early Christians would have been, in fact, the nuttiest, most unstable group of people on the planet. It is absurd to think that such a group of people could have overcome all the persecution and eventually displace the existing culture.

Liar Scenario: If the early eyewitnesses of  Christ's resurrection were simply lying - attempting to perpetrate a hoax, then the preaching of Christ would involve people dying for a lie, knowing it was a lie, with absolutely nothing to gain on an level by telling the lie. This alone is absurd, but this is not the end of the absurdity. While the liars were telling the lie, they would tell it in such a way that would cause the believers in the lie to become the most honest and passionate lovers of truth to ever walk the face of the earth. The early Christian stuck to their story even in the face of torture and death.

Jesus is Indeed Risen
If the early eyewitnesses weren't liars or lunaticks, then there is only one other logical possibility. They were really eyewitnesses of the resurrection. Not only did Jesus rise from the dead, but the experience of witnessing the resurrected Christ brought a glimpse of His resurrection power into the Church. This power energized the life, faith and preaching of the early Church. Because Christ was alive again His tomb was empty,and because the tomb was empty the enemies of Christ could not point to the dead body of Christ as an argument against the gospel. God's witnesses are not found false witnesses but true witnesses.

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