‘He is risen!’- Part 3
The resurrection unequivocally confirmed His claim, as the Son of God. (Rom 1:4). The only wicked option left for the savage enemies was to deny all verifiable and corroborative evidence of His resurrection. Hence, they fabricated spurious self-defeating explanations for the empty tomb. The fabricated explanations and evidence debunking each lie are stated against each fabricated explanation. They even bribed the guards with a large sum of money to help cover up the truth of Jesus resurrection (Mat 28:11-15).
Proposed Explanation for Empty Tomb by the critics: (1) Jesus was only unconscious and later revived.Evidence against this explanation. A Roman soldier told Pilate that Jesus was dead (Mark 15:44,45). The Roman soldiers did not break Jesus’ legs, because he had already died, and one of them pierced Jesus’ side with a spear. (John 19:32-34). Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus wrapped Jesus’ body and placed it in the tomb (John 19:38-40).Proposed Explanation for Empty Tomb by the critics: (2) The women made a mistake and went to the wrong tomb.
Evidence against this explanation.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw Jesus placed in the tomb. (Mat 27:59-61; Mark 15:47; Luke 23:55). On Sunday morning, Peter and John also went to the same tomb (John 20:3-9). Proposed Explanation for Empty Tomb by the critics: (3) Unknown thieves stole Jesus’ body Evidence against this explanation. The tomb was sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers. (Mat 27:65,66). Proposed Explanation for Empty Tomb by the critics: (4) The disciples stole Jesus’ body.
Evidence against this explanation. The disciples were ready to die for their faith. Stealing Jesus’ body would have been admitting that their faith was meaningless. (Acts 12:2). The tomb was guarded and sealed (Matthew 27:66)Proposed Explanation for Empty Tomb by the critics: (5) The religious leaders stole Jesus’ body to produce it later.
Evidence against this explanation. If the religious leaders had taken Jesus’ body, they would have produced it to stop the rumors of His resurrection.
The evidence in favour of the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is very strong. The evidence for the empty tomb is weighty. First, the story of the empty tomb is found in all four Gospels and is implicit in the early church’s proclamation of the resurrection. How could
they preach the bodily resurrection of Jesus, if everyone in Jerusalem knew that His body was still in the tomb? Second, it is difficult to believe that the early church would have fabricated the story of the resurrection and then made women the first witnesses to the empty tomb and the resurrection, since women were not considered reliable witnesses in Jewish culture (illustrated by the disciples’ response to them). Third, something incredible must have taken place on that Sunday to cause Jewish believers to begin worshipping on the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10).
Finally, nothing short of the miracle of the resurrection can explain the post-resurrection transformation in the disciples. The biblical record indicates that at the time of Jesus’ arrest, they all fled (Mark 14:50). When the women reported that they had seen Jesus, the men did not believe (Luke 24:11), yet these same men were later
willing to suffer persecution and martyrdom in order to preach Jesus as the resurrected Lord.
This evidence demonstrates Jesus’ uniqueness in history and proves that He is God’s Son. (Rom 1:4). No one else was able to predict his own resurrection and then accomplish it.
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