The Resurrection – An Introduction

“He is risen!”

“He is risen indeed!”

This was the call and response of the early church as well as how Christians greeted one another. The resurrection was such a central part of their lives that they would greet one another with this reminder. But is the resurrection any less central to the church and our faith today? With the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution, have modern Christians come to the disbelief that a dead person can rise again? Tragically, yes. They view the resurrection as something either metaphorical or spiritual only. They would deny the physical resurrection of the body and even worse, have those who believe in such things to deny it as well. But what one often finds is that seemingly new objections to core Christian beliefs are not new at all. This is the same polemic Paul argued against in 1 Corinthians 15. And the good news is that our answer today is the exact same as Paul’s was then: we can offer up historical evidence that shows the resurrection of Jesus happened as recorded; that the same body that went down to the grave is the same one that came up, albeit transformed.

So what is the evidence? We can cite the following twelve facts that naturalistic theories cannot explain in total: (1) Jesus died by Roman crucifixion; (2) He was buried, most likely in a private tomb; (3) Soon afterwards the disciples were discouraged, despondent, and bereaved, having lost hope; (4) Jesus’ tomb was found empty very soon after his burial; (5) The disciples had experiences that they believed were actual appearances of the risen Jesus; (6) Due to those experiences, the disciples’ lives were thoroughly transformed, even being willing to die for this belief; (7) The proclamation of the resurrection took place very early, at the beginning of church history; (8) The disciples’ public testimony and preaching of the resurrection took place in the city of Jerusalem, where Jesus had been crucified and buried shortly before; (9) The Gospel message centered on the death and resurrection of Jesus; (10) Sunday was the primary day for gathering and worshipping; (11) James, the brother of Jesus and a former skeptic, was converted when, he believed, he saw the risen Jesus; (12) Just a few years later, Saul of Tarsus (Paul) became a Christian believer due to an experience that he believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus.[1]

Whatever happens, the church must stand firm in the resurrection for as the resurrection goes, so goes Christianity with it.

“He is risen!”

“He is risen indeed!”


 

1 Reference for the 12 facts of the resurrection were taken from the following source: Gary R. Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003), 9-10.

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