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JESUS, A FRAUD, A LUNATIC OR THE MESSIAH? Part 8: Resurrection — Hoax or History? Introduction

Among all the religions of this world, only one claims an empty tomb for its founder. Only one claims that their founder is still alive and claims that anyone can experience Him in one’s daily life.  In fact without the fact of Jesus’ resurrection, Christianity would collapse, as it its the founding stone.

The apostle Paul makes this clear in 1 Cor 15:13-19 “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

This is why the apostle Paul, as any Christian can boldly declare:

1 Cor 15:20-21 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.”

Even Jesus declared clearly that he would be killed and be raised to life on the third day:

Matt 16:21 “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life..”

Matt 17:22-23 “When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.”

Mark 10:32-34 “They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” 

Luke 9:22 “And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”   (See also Matthew 12:38-40; 17:9; 20:18-19; 26:32; 27:63; Mark 8:31-9:1; 9:10, 31; 14:28, 58; John 2:18-22; 12:34; chapters 14-16.)

This was not well received by the apostles, as they expected a Saviour who would free them from Rome:

Matt 16:22 “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Matt 17:23 “And the disciples were filled with grief.”

John 20:9 “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”

How could a dead Saviour free them from the Romans?  They didn’t realize that Jesus would die so they could be set free from their own sins!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

They only understood that after the fact of Jesus’ resurrection!

Now let us look at the evidence of Jesus’ death and resurrection and explore any possibilities that Jesus may not have been raised from the dead.

Part 9