Sunday, April 16, 2017

Jesus is alive! - The Resurrection - Fact or Fantasy - Episode 1

Today's Scripture - Ephesians 1:19-21

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Did Jesus really come back to life - this is the key question of the Christian faith!!

It might come as a shock to some people that Christians still believe that Jesus is alive. I know there are lots of conspiracy theories about Elvis being alive, Hitler being alive and so on but the Christian claim is not in the same league.

You may think that this is a big claim but it is true. We are not talking about a few, unsubstantiated claims of sightings of Jesus. A few rogue reports from unverifiable sources! The eye witness accounts to the resurrection are exemplary in the extreme. We will come back to this in a moment. I want to look firstly at the fact that Jesus claimed that he would die and rise from the dead.

Firstly - Jesus spoke often about his resurrection. Here are some samples:

"Jesus said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”  But He was speaking of the temple of His body", John 2:19.

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again,” Matthew 20:18.

A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me? … you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy … but I will see you again,” John 16:19.

Secondly many intelligent people have set out to discredit the fact of the resurrection and have discovered that they were wrong:
Frank Morrison an English lawyer who had been brought up in a rationalistic environment, had come to the opinion that the resurrection was nothing but a fairy-tale happy ending which spoiled the matchless story of Jesus. He felt that he owed it to himself, and to others, to write a book that would present the truth about Jesus and dispel the myth of the resurrection. In 1930 he started what was to be a three year period of investigating the evidence. The outcome of his research was book he entitled … Who moved the stone? The Verdict - He wrote in the introduction -  “This study is in some ways so unusual and provocative that the writer thinks it desirable to state here very briefly how the book came to take its present form. In one sense it could have taken no other, for it is essentially a confession, the inner story of a man who originally set out to write one kind of book and found himself compelled by the sheer force of circumstances to write another”Morrison’s research had brought him to the point where he had to acknowledge the resurrection of Christ was  a …Fact of life.
Dr Simon Greenleaf Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, was one of the greatest legal minds that ever lived. Dr. Simon Greenleaf believed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax and he determined, once and for all, to expose the "myth" of the Resurrection.
After thoroughly examining the evidence for the resurrection he wrote a book entitled, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. In which he emphatically stated …
“It was impossible that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus Christ actually risen from the dead …”
“According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history”
There is one outstanding difference between Christianity and all other religions
Buddha died 483 BC after a sudden illness brought on by possible food poisoning He was cremated and his remains divided and buried in mounds.
Mohammed died in 632 AD and is buried in Medina.

They took Jesus down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from among the dead.

I am going to leave it here for today but I will be back to tomorrow with further evidences of the resurrection of Jesus Christ - in the meantime if you are really keen read the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians in the New Testament. That will give you an array of arguments about the resurrection of Jesus - Happy Reading!

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