history of the resurrection

thecross

 

To discuss the historical facts and points of the resurrection only solidifies the fact Christ is our risen savior and to believe other is simply a denial of the truth.

Let’s discuss four topics then we can give further details about each of them.

1. Jesus was buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb

2. The tomb was found empty by women followers

3. Jesus appeared too many people in different places

4. The disciples fully believed in the resurrection even though they had no predisposition to do so

1. Jesus was buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb

He is mentioned in all four gospels ( Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:43-46; Luke 23:50-55; John 19:38-42). He was a high counselor, a voting member of the Sanhedrin which officially wanted Jesus condemned to death. There is no competing stories to this one, if it were a legend then there would have been competing accounts as to where and who the body of Jesus went with. And according to various historical sources, Joseph’s actions provoked both the Roman and Jewish elders and he eventually did spend time in prison for his support of Jesus.

2. The tomb was found empty by women followers

When you understand the role of women in first-century Jewish society, what’s really extraordinary is that this empty tomb story should feature women as the discoverers of the empty tomb in the first place. Women were on a very low rung of the social ladder in first-century Palestine. There are old sayings that said, ‘Let the words of Law be burned rather than delivered to women’ and ‘blessed is he whose children are male, but woe to him whose children are female.’ Women’s testimony was regarded as so worthless that they weren’t even allowed to serve as legal witnesses in a Jewish court of Law. In light of this, it’s absolutely remarkable that the chief witnesses to the empty tomb are these women… Any later legendary account would have certainly portrayed male disciples as discovering the tomb — Peter or John, for example. The fact that women are the first witnesses to the empty tomb is most plausibly explained by the reality that — like it or not — they were the discoverers of the empty tomb! This shows that the Gospel writers faithfully recorded what happened, even if it was embarrassing. This bespeaks the historicity of this tradition rather than its legendary status

3. Jesus appeared too many people in different places

To start the list there was Simon Peter, the twelve disciples, five hundred brothers, James, all the apostles, and to Paul. He also appeared to Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary,” as they were running from the empty tomb. As well as to the eleven on a mountain in Galilee where Jesus had told the apostles to go. To two of Jesus’ followers as they were walking in the countryside. And again to the eleven while they were dining. To Cleopas and one other disciple as they walked to Emmaus. To Mary Magdalene, at first she did not recognize him and thought that he was a gardener. When he spoke she recognized him. To the disciples (not including Thomas) on that same day. They were indoors “for fear of the Jews.” To the disciples including Thomas. This was eight days later, again indoors. To Peter, Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples, by Lake Tiberias. To the Church in Jerusalem— forty days after the resurrection when he ascended into heaven.

1 Corinthians 15; Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; John 21; Acts 1

4. The disciples fully believed in the resurrection even though they had no predisposition to do so

Think of the situation the disciples faced following Jesus’ crucifixion:

1. Their leader was dead. And Jewish Messianic expectations had no idea of a Messiah who, instead of triumphing over Israel’s enemies, would be shamefully executed by them as a criminal.

2. Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone’s rising from the dead to glory and immortality before the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.

Nevertheless, the original disciples suddenly came to believe so strongly that God had raised Jesus from the dead that they were willing to die for the truth of that belief. But then the obvious question arises: What in the world caused them to believe such an un-Jewish and outlandish thing? Luke Johnson, a New Testament scholar at Emory University, muses, “Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was.” And N. T. Wright, an eminent British scholar, concludes, “That is why, as an historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.”

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