April 1, 2018
Easter 2018: The Case for the Resurrection
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. Simply put, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then as Paul said to the Corinthians, “Our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” But is there a case for the resurrection? Is there evidence that we can examine today, 2000 years after the fact, that would create a reasonable and compelling case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In this message, Pastor Andy deals with three common objections to the resurrection.
First, it is argued that the New Testament is not a reliable source of information. It is riddled with too many errors, and we have lost the original manuscripts. There are simply too many problems with the New Testament to consider it reliable. While it is true that we have lost the original manuscripts, and the copies we have now are filled with variants, it is false to say that the New Testament is not reliable. There are over 5,000 ancient copies of the Greek New Testament in whole or part, some dating to within 100 years or less of its original composition. And using the science of textual criticism, we can use this embarrassment of textual riches to gain a reasonable understanding of what was written in those first manuscripts.
The second objection is that the accounts of the resurrection can’t be trusted. But there is good evidence to indicate that the 500+ witnesses mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15 was a list compiled within 2 or 3 years of the resurrection. At that time, almost all of those people would have been alive, ready and willing to answer any and all questions about Jesus. There simply was not enough time for legends and fantasies to develop around what happened to Jesus.
The third objection is that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross. However, given the eyewitness testimony in John 19:33-34, our knowledge of the ability of Roman soldiers to kill would be revolutionaries, and what actually happens in a crucifixion (and in the case of Jesus, before it), it is simply unreasonable to assert that Jesus survived the cross. Even if he had, what kind of condition would he have been in three days later? He would have appeared as someone worthy of pity, not worship.
All of this just scratches the surface of the case for the resurrection, but the evidence is reasonable and compelling. There is much more that could be said in this regard, but the question before is: If Jesus did rise from the dead, then what must we do now?