Eight Assumptions About the Resurrection
- Jesus actually lived. Obviously, you have to start here. There’s no resurrection of a person who never lived.
- Jesus actually died. Some people believe that Jesus just passed out and later recovered — giving the impression of having come back from the dead. But people back then knew what dead was, and they knew Jesus was dead. They ran a sword through his side to check before they took his body down from the cross and put it in the tomb. He actually died.
- Jesus’ death was caused by a crucifixion that was instigated by Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and carried out by Roman authorities. Again, the Romans were professional killers; they knew what they were doing. Oh, and it wasn’t all the Jewish people who bore the blame for this event; it was certain Jewish leaders.
- Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb that was both easily accessible and well known. Those Jewish leaders and those Roman authorities all knew where the tomb was and had access to it.
- The disciples went around later and began to say that Jesus was alive. I’m not saying he actually was alive; I’m just saying that they thought he was. The disciples claimed that the tomb was empty and that Jesus not only rose from the dead but ascended into heaven. They said it early, and they said it often. They said it in the city where he died to people who had been there the whole time.
- The Jewish leaders who instigated this whole thing had a lot more at stake in this matter than we do. Their reputations were on the line here. They wanted to disprove the resurrection way more than anyone alive today would. If they accused him of blasphemy and had him killed, and then he came back to life from the dead…well…they would have some ‘splainin’ to do.
- The disciples who preached the Resurrection came under intense persecution. And their persecution came about as a direct result of their message about the Resurrection. Furthermore, if they had stopped talking about it, the persecution would have relented.
- The tomb was empty. The Jewish leaders, having a lot riding on this, knowing where the tomb was located and having access to it, could have gone immediately to discover the body. But that didn’t happen. Why? Because they knew it would be pointless since there was no body in the tomb.
Before we ever get to talking about the Resurrection of Jesus, we must be clear on all of the above. What we’ve talked about thus far is a matter of historical record. This is relatively easy to verify.
And the reason I’m doing this is because Christians are often portrayed as people who have checked their brains at the door — people who haven’t really thought about stuff deeply.
The sad truth is that many Christians have done just that: they’ve failed to think through why they believe what they believe.
But if the Resurrection is true, then it is the single most important event in all of human history. A person would have to be a fool to go through life and never spend more than a few moments contemplating whether or not it actually took place. Some of the smartest people who ever lived have examined the evidence and come away convinced that it happened.
This is too important to be dismissed by a wave of some skeptic’s hand. This calls for some intelligent analysis.
Tomorrow we’ll examine some of the theories people have put forth to explain the Resurrection away. For today, I have two questions:
Why do you think so many people have put their brains in park about the Resurrection?
What do you think might be some of the negative consequences of doing that?