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A Lot of Explaining to Do (published in The North Weld Herald/Voice 4/5/12)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:17 PM by Fccea Webmaster
Five questions for those who deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1. How do you explain the empty tomb?

I am not aware of any credible scholar or critic who denies that the tomb was empty, but how do you explain that fact? It's hard to believe the grief-stricken, runaway apostles overcame a Roman guard and moved a two-ton stone to steal the body and then died to preserve their lie that he was resurrected. Furthermore, neither the Jewish nor Roman authorities ever produced a body that would have squelched the movement they desperately wanted to stop. The tomb was empty. That takes some explaining.

2. How do you explain the eyewitness testimony?

Eyewitnesses included all the apostles and followers of Jesus. And Paul says that more than 500 saw Jesus at one time, most of whom were still alive to refute the claim when Paul made it had it been untrue. Archaeologist, Sir William Ramsey, set out to discredit the historicity of Luke's writings. Instead, archaeology proved Luke right time after time. After years of study Sir William concluded, "Luke is a historian of the first rank. . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."
We accept much less eyewitness testimony for almost any other fact of ancient history. Eyewitness testimony to the resurrection can't be cast aside without explanation.

3. How do you explain the emergence of the Church?

No observer in the days following the death of Christ would have predicted that this small sect of disillusioned believers would eventually turn the Roman Empire on its ear and attract followers worldwide among all races and classes of people. But it happened. Explain that without the resurrection.

4. How do you explain the pivotal roles of Paul and James in church history?

James, the brother of Jesus, is presented in the Gospels as antagonistic and agnostic, right up to the death of Christ. Six weeks later he is found praying with the apostles and eventually becomes the leader of the church in Jerusalem. He gained the nickname Old Camel Knees in deference to his prayer habits to his risen brother. Paul was so famous for persecuting and trying to kill Christians that even after his conversion they wanted nothing to do with him at first. Both men claimed to see a resurrected Christ. How do you explain their changed lives if Christ was not raised?

5. How do you explain the fact that all the apostles (save John, who was persecuted and exiled) died for what they knew to be a lie if Jesus was not resurrected?

Mass hallucinations? Psychologists tell us there is no such thing. Conspiracy to create a religion? That they were willing to die for despite no benefit to themselves? Keep in mind that these men were in a position to know for sure whether or not Jesus was alive. They were realists, not men given to flights of fantasy. So how do we explain their martyrdom?

You can reject the resurrection of Jesus Christ as myth, but in that case, you've got a lot of explaining to do! And a lot riding on your answer. The weight of evidence says He is indeed -- ALIVE! Happy Easter!

By His Grace, Pastor Dave