Evidences for the resurrection of Jesus

Jesus was miraculously raised from the dead nearly 2,000 years ago.

It is interesting to note that while many Christians talk frequently about the Cross, and yet they only seem to  speak about the Resurrection at Easter! Why? Many sermons  today tend to assume the Resurrection while emphasizing the Cross. The sermons in the book of Acts do the exact opposite. The sermons in Acts speak far more about the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead and how it we can be forgiven our sin by God they they do about the cross.

The Resurrection of Jesus verifies the fact that his death was more than that of a martyr. The death of Jesus on the cross was both a spiritual and physical when he died as a sacrifice for sin, a sin offering.  The Resurrection of Jesus declares that to be a fact and it is on the basis of the death of Jesus, God commands all people everywhere to repent 

he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed, Jesus Christ. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Jesus from the dead. Acts 17:30-31

Charles Spurgeon argued that if  preaching better matched the book of Acts, we would see more people become Christians! The apostle Paul cut to the core of Christianity with his statement on the Resurrection: "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" 1 Corinthians 15:13-14

Evidences That Jesus Rose Physically From The Dead

1       Security precautions taken to ensure no-one stole the body of Jesus from the tomb

  • there were six trials - 3 Jewish and 3 Roman. Pilate, the Roman Governor in Jerusalem condemned Jesus to death
  • crucifixion of Jesus is a historical fact attested by non-biblical historians
  • the body of Jesus was removed from the cross and buried - Matthew 27:57-60
  • the body of Jesus was entombment in a new tomb - Matthew 27:57-60
  • The tomb where Jesus' body was place was seal with a Roman Seal - Matthew 27:66
  • Roman soldiers guarded to tomb to prevent anyone breaking in - Matthew 27:65-66

2       Signs that Jesus actually died

  • his cry - “it is finished”
  • the earthquake
  • the resurrection of saints from the grave
  • the curtain in temple is torn from the top to the bottom

3          Confirmation that Jesus actually died

  • Bible says that the death of Jesus was all that was required by God to make possible eternal salvation
  • it is a finished work
  • the results are eternal
  • Disciples go back into city and proclaim Christ is risen!

Fact #1  -  broken Roman seal  Matthew 27:66

Fact #2  -  empty tomb - no one  ever found or produced the body of Jesus

Fact #3  -  large stone was moved from the entrance to the tomb  Matthew 28:1-3

Fact #4  -  the Roman solders guarding the tomb desert their post  Matthew 28:4-15

Fact #5  -  the way the grave clothes lay indicate Jesus came back to life Luke 24:12 “like an empty chrysalis”

Fact #6 Jesus’ multiple appearances after resurrection to so many different people in different geographic locations

  • 11 different appearances to the disciples & others
  • four appearances to Paul 
  • one appearances to John  - Revelation 1
  • to Mary Magdalene
  • to other women
  • to Peter
  • to the disciples walking along the road to Emmaus
  • to the ten disciples in a room
  • to the eleven disciples in a room
  • to the seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee
  • to 500 people at once
  • to James the Lord's brother
  • to the eleven on a mountain in Galilee
  • to the disciples on the Mount of Olives
  • to Stephen Acts 7:55-56
  • to Paul on Damascus road  Acts 9:3-6; 22:6-11; 26:13-18
  • to Paul in Arabia? Galatians 1:10-12
  • to Paul in the temple Acts 22:17-21
  • to Paul in prison in Caesarea Acts 23:11
  • to the Apostle John on Patmos             Revelation 1:12-20

Fact #7  -  conversion and work of the Apostle Paul

Fact #8  -  existence of the early church

Fact #9  -  miracle of the Bible

Fact #10  -  attested by all four Gospels, the Acts the Epistles, and Revelation

Fact #11  -  Disciples appealed to the Old Testament, Ps 2:1, 7   cf Acts 2; Ps 16:10; Ps 49:15; Ps 110:1

The resurrection of Christ is crucial to:

  • the promises made to Abraham & David
  • the predictions made by Jesus
  • the identity of Jesus Christ
  • the salvation of the sinner
  • the hope of the believer
  • the establishment of the christian church

Key reason why Jesus rose from the dead

  • because Old Testament prophets predicted Jesus would rise from the dead
  • because Jesus repeatedly said he’d rise
  • as the source of Life and Hope Christ had to be raised
  • because of who He was - the Son of God Acts 2:23-36
  • because of  the covenant made with Abraham
  • because of  the covenant made with David
  • His resurrection  enables him to be head of the new creation, head of the church
  • His resurrection is the supreme display of his power and authority over sin, Satan, death
  • His resurrection validates the Gospel
  • His resurrection makes possible the redemption and justification of those who believe in Him
  • His resurrection guarantees the resurrection of all

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Questions to answer

1   How would you describe the gospel?

2   Let’s have a look now at how Paul describes the gospel. What are the key features of the gospel? Do you see a pattern?

3   Are there any differences between what Paul includes and what we would like to include?

4   Why are these elements included? Why does Paul see each element as crucial?

5   Why do you think it is necessary to defend the gospel like this? What are the specific issues being addressed in these verses?

Read verses 12-19

6   What are the ‘seven ifs’ in vv12-19 that are used. What is at the core of this reasoning?

7   Do you see the argument being used?  Does this argument it make sense? Why? Why not?

Read verses 20-28

8   What does the resurrection of Jesus achieve?

9   Why is the Resurrection of Jesus so important?

10   Where would we be if the resurrection of Jesus from the dead had not happened?

11   What you advise a person to do if they doubt the resurrection of Jesus or don’t believe it?

12   How should the resurrection shape our daily life? Is it too big to do this?

Notes on Text

  • v29 What do those people think they are doing who are baptised for the dead (i.e. Christ)?

The resurrected human body of a christian is likened to:

  • a seed that produces a plant (wheat, grain); they are the same substance, but are very different. By inference, our post-resurrection bodies will be very different to our current bodies – even though they will still be ‘ours’
  • there are many different species now, with different bodies – implying that heavenly bodies will be very different to earthly bodies (v40)
  • the heavenly body will be of a different order of glory – something superior to our current bodies (v40, 41). However, even though our current bodies possess glory
  • To sum up; the resurrection will bring a transformation of our bodies. We will remain ‘us’ – but our bodies will be more glorious.

The Resurrection of the Body 1 Corinthians 15:29 - 58

1   As a teenager, what did you like least about your body? Did you do anything to try to change it? As an adult, what do you fear about your changing body?

2   Have you ever heard the words of Verses 51-54 in a well-known musical piece?

3   Paul quotes from Isaiah in Verse 32 and in Verse 33 quotes from the Greek poet Menander. What is his point? Does this apply today?

4   What do you think Paul means in Verses 31-32 when he says, “I die every day” and “I fought wild beasts?”

5   What three analogies does Paul use in discussing the nature of resurrection in verses 36-41? What do these analogies teach you about your resurrected body?

6   In verses 42-49 a contrast is drawn between our present bodies and our new resurrected/changed bodies. Write the description of our present bodies then the opposite the description of our resurrected bodies. What’s the impression you get from all this?

7   Who is “the last Adam” in Verse 45? (John 3:13, 31, Philippians 3:20-21)

8   After his resurrection, Jesus appears to his disciples in his new form, Luke 24:36-43. What things do we know about Jesus' resurrected body?

9   In Verses 51-52 we learned that “we will all be changed—in a flash . . .” When will we be changed - at death or at some other time?? (Matthew 24:31, Revelation 11:15, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Revelation 20:4-6

10   Explain Verse 56.

11    What are the implications of all this? How should we respond to the promise of the resurrection?

12    What does v58 encourage us to do?

Dr Keith Graham

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