It’s been about 6 weeks approximately that we’ve been focusing on Mashiach – the Messiah that the Bible speaks so much about. We’ve learned that there have been dozens and dozens of different messiahs throughout history from many nations and belief systems, but the only one that actually stacks up is the Jewish Messiah. But there’s controversy surrounding Him as well, and most of that controversy is from the Jewish people themselves who don’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and we’ve discussed the many reasons for this.
But there’s a single, essential criteria for the Mashiach to accomplish that unequivocally identifies Him, and that is His resurrection from the dead after being three days buried. That’s not only incredibly specific, but it’s impossible. I’ve often said to people that if you say you believe in the Christian faith, then don’t be frightened to put it to the test, because if you’re going to give your whole life for something, you want to make sure it’s true and rock solid. In fact, I don’t care what your belief system is, put it to the test to make sure it stands up strong at the end. I’ve done that with Christianity and it stands every single time. This testing is just as important when it comes to the issue of the resurrection. That’s what we’re going to focus on.
I’m using as my basis for our conversation some research from the site of One For Israel, from an article called ‘Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead.’
I want to start with the words of the Apostle Paul who explained to the Corinthian believers the necessity of the resurrection. In fact he was so adamant about this issue, he basically said that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, our goose is cooked!
1 Corinthians 15:12-19, “Now if Christ is preached, that He’s been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there’s no resurrection of the dead? If there’s no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ hasn’t been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith is also in vain! Moreover, we’re even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He didn’t raise…if in fact the dead aren’t raised! If the dead aren’t raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ hasn’t been raised, your faith is worthless; you’re still in your sins. Then those who’ve fallen asleep (dead) in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”
So Paul explained that if there’s no resurrection, all we have is this life now, our sins haven’t been paid for, because the evidence of Jesus’ authority to pay for them was His power over death and sin, when He rose again. If that’s not the case, we’re doomed. And what’s more, we’re delusional and are deserving of nothing but pity. We’re an embarrassment.
So lets look to see what the evidence is for Jesus’ resurrection, which is what the New Covenant claims.
The Gospel accounts – all four of them – tell the narrative of Jesus birth, His ministry years, His torture and execution and finally His resurrection and ascension. It’s a breathtaking story no matter which way you look at it. If you just considered it a fictional story, it’s still amazing because of its scope, plotline, character development, the villains and betrayals, not to mention the drama, edge of the seat unfolding of the conspiracy to murder the champion and then of course, the supernatural ending and victory when the king rises from the grave, His enemies are defeated and put to shame and He claims His kingdom, endowing His followers with power to take the message to the world. It’s a great story.
The issue of course is the claim that it’s real. All of it can be believed, but the resurrection is a bit of a stretch because well, scientifically it’s impossible. If the resurrection is false, then the entire New Covenant is called into question…the resurrection is essential or Christianity falls.
A few bullet points to take note of:
- Jesus was crucified and killed
- His death is the most famous death in human history
- Three days after His death and burial, He rose from the dead
- His disciples and some of the women who followed Him, discovered the tomb empty
- Hundreds of eyewitness accounts claimed to have personally seen Jesus alive after His resurrection
- The news of His resurrection was spread around the entire globe
- Our calendar is divided by His life…before He came and after He came, Jesus is the centre of our calendar and our civil society known around the whole world
That’s a pretty impressive history based on a fantasy if He didn’t in fact rise from the dead.
Next time I want to look at the assumption that the claim of Jesus resurrection is a lie and see where that leads us.