Monday, January 9, 2012

Can I Believe the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

And if Christ be not raised, 
your faith is vain; 

ye are yet in your sins 
(1 Corinthians 15:17)

Second only to the divinity of Jesus Christ is the Doctrine of the Resurrection as a stumbling block for unbelievers. Those who consider the resurrection of Christ unbelievable argue that the early church fabricated this story of the resurrection to personify a lie they themselves conjured up. Or that Jesus Christ was a
lunatic, a man of poor character who lived to deceive those that followed him. Today we will address the question, can we be sure of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.rection on your own. It’s just that important!
The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:13-17 not once but twice that if Christ was not raised than our faith is in vain. Consider this;
  • If Christ did not raise from the dead we are believing a lie. 
  • If Christ did not raise from the dead we do not have forgiveness of sin; 
  • If Christ did not raise from the dead then there is no eternal life.

So this matter of the resurrection is a vital point in the Christian faith. In this discussion I want to address three essential points about the resurrection, in no way am I saying that this is an inclusive argument for the resurrection. The only way to come close to being inclusive would be to write a 500 page book with argument and counter arguments, and for this reason I have added some links for you to further your investigation on the subject.
1. Did the Church fabricate the story of the resurrection
2. Was Jesus a lunatic and that deceived the early Christians
3. How the resurrection changed the direction of history.

Did the Church Fabricate the Story of the Resurrection?

In order for the early church to have created the story of the resurrection it would have had to become legion separate from scripture. But it is clear from scripture that even very early in his ministry Jesus Christ taught of his resurrection. Let us consider the words of Jesus Christ Himself;
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.(Matthew 16:22 )KJV
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31) KJV
Saying the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Luke 9:22) KJV 
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (John 2:19)KJV

What we do know for sure it that Jesus Christ Himself was the first to talk of his resurrection, scripture is very clear on this matter. So using scripture alone we can invalidate the argument that the church made up the story of the resurrection, because before the church was scripture and scripture clearly prophecy it.

Was Jesus a lunatic?

We live in a world where unbelievers want to say things like Jesus was a great teacher, or he was a prophet, but his claims to being God puts him at odds with the priest and authority of the synagogue during His time, and allows people of our time to think he is a lunatic or con-man. But Jesus was not a lunatic or a con-man. In fact there is not a single book written even by those that hate Him that can speak of his character negatively.  Let me stress this point again even by secular writers that hated  Jesus, not one of them questioned his character! Not a single one! So who is this man that says he is God?

When we investigate the character of an individual in history we must first evaluate what he said, and what the outcome was in relations to what he said. If what and individual said could be found as true and history validated his statement, then we say that person was of good character. With this in mind we first evaluate what Jesus said.
What Jesus said was; In Luke 24:44 Jesus after the resurrection he speaks to the eleven(disciples) saying “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Now earlier in His ministry Jesus prophesied about His resurrection, and because there was no clear teaching for the resurrected messiah the disciples may not have fully understood what he was teaching, but Here Jesus is making clear that everything they (the apostles) had heretofore seen was already written in scripture and was fulfilled in His life; This does include even the resurrection. With this in mind let us compare the following three passages from the Old Testament with Act 13:33-39 and make your decision for yourself. ( see other additional passages throughout this posting)
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:10) KJVI will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:6) KJVIncline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David (Isaiah 55:3)KJV
(Acts 13:33-38)KJV God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. 34And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. 38Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Now how does the history validate the claims of Jesus Christ about the resurrection? In scripture there are eleven cases of people seeing Christ after the crucifixion they are;
  1. 1.Mary Magdalene at the grave site (John 20:11-18, Mark 16:9-11)  
  2. 2. The other women at the grave (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:11)  
  3. 3. To Simon Peter (Luke 24:34, 1Corinthain 15:5)  
  4. 4. On the way to Emmaus ( Luke 24:13-35, Mark 16:12-13)  
  5. 5. To the 10 disciple at Jerusalem on the day of the resurrection (John 20:19-24) 
  6. 6. Again to the disciple with Thomas present at Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18, Luke 24:33-40, John 20:26-28, also see 1Corithians 15:5)  
  7. 7. The fishing disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21-1-23)  
  8. 8. To over 500 and the eleven disciple (1Corinthian 15:6, Matthew 28:16-20) 
  9. 9. To his brother James (who at the time did not believe that is brother was the Christ) (1 Corinthian 15:7) 
  10. 10. To the apostles just before His ascension into heaven ( Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50-52, Acts 1:4-10)  
  11. 11. To the apostle Paul, then the tormentor of the Christians then named Saul (Acts 9:1-9, 1Corinthian 15:8) 1 Corinthian 9:1)

History Effect of the Resurrection
But history does not stop just at these sighting of the resurrected Christ. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was like a rock thrown into a still pond its effect rippled thoughout history even to present time. Consider these things.
  • Saul of Tarsus If Saul of Tarsus, the chief persecutor of Christians did not see the resurrected Jesus Christ why would he give up all that he had done up to the point to rid the world of Christians, to become the very same thing he so much hated. Remember unlike others at that time who had the gospel witnessed to them Saul of Tarsus (The Apostle Paul) did not have this luxury his knowledge of Christ was direct revelation of Jesus Christ Himself.

But I certify you, brethren that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (Galatians 1:12-15) KJV
  • The boldness of the followers; The disciples of Jesus Christ were not the most bold of men in the world, Peter was so afraid when Jesus was taken prisoner that he denied three times to even knowing Jesus. What changed these cowards into men bold in preaching Jesus Christ? It was nothing but the resurrection. When these disciples seen that Jesus had defeated death. They were assured of the possibility of resurrection for themselves and then knew that for those that were in Christ death had lost it sting.(1Corinthains 15:55)
  • Christianity effect on the World
    My argument is this today almost ¼ of everyone living on this planet are Christians. 
    • Many countries in Africa had less than 1% Christians 20 years ago now have over 55% Christians. 
    • Korea 40 years ago had no Christians at all, now have 44 % of the population are Christian, and is home of the largest Pentecostal church in the world with over 750,000 members
    • China in 1945 had no Christians at all. Now has the largest Christian population in the world
    •  Christianity is exploding all over the world, in the southern hemisphere Christianity is the dominate religion throughout the world. Now consider that I choose these countries because they are still persecution just because they are Christians. 
    •  In spite of being in communist China, Christianity is still growing. 
    • In spite of being in a once predominate Islam area, Africa Christianity is still growing. 
    •  In spite of the fact that every year over 210,000 people are killed just because the call the name of Jesus. Christianity is still growing. The fact that even today people are willing to die for Jesus is unwaiverable proof that the resurrection is real. Still not convinced take it from a atheist who investigated the resurrection himself and what he found forced him to convert to Christianity Evidence for the Resurrection

Your Brother in Christ
T.Charves FireSpeaks

Further reading

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