1 Corinthians 15:12-20 The Passion Translation (TPT)
“12 The message we preach is Christ, who has been raised from the dead. So how could any of you possibly say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, all of our preaching has been for nothing and your faith is useless. 15 Moreover, if the dead are not raised, that would mean that we are false witnesses who are misrepresenting God. And that would mean that we have preached a lie, stating that God raised him from the dead, if in reality he didn’t.
16 If the dead aren’t raised up, that would mean that Christ has not been raised up either. 17 And if Christ is not alive, you are still lost in your sins and your faith is a fantasy. 18 It would also mean that those believers in Christ who have passed away have simply perished. 19 If the only benefit of our hope in Christ is limited to this life on earth, we deserve to be pitied more than all others!
20 But the truth is, Christ is risen from the dead, as the first fruit of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died.”
The resurrection is important because if Christ had been raised from the dead we would still be dead in our sins and our faith would be a fantasy! We would deserve to be pitied more than anyone else! But Christ is risen from the dead and because of this we have hope for eternity!
There is much evidence for the resurrection! And in the next couple of podcasts I want to skim over a couple of major points of evidence for the resurrection. Firstly, because Jesus was publicly executed this fact was documented by the Roman authorities and kept on public record. We could only have a resurrection if there was a real death and the brutal Roman soldiers would have made sure that Jesus was dead. These guys were experts in executions, and so we can rest assured that they would have done a good job in beating Jesus and making sure that He was dead. A lot of people say that Jesus didn’t really die and that he was just resuscitated because he was unconscious – people who propagate this idea try to prove that Jesus didn’t really die to show that it was a faked resurrection! But for someone to have gone through the beating that Jesus went through, to the point of being unrecognizable, it would have been a miracle in itself for him to be resuscitated and start parading himself around as whole and well and for people to see him as risen from the dead. Jesus would have needed a much longer to time to recover from such cruel beatings. That together with the mere fact that the Roman soldiers would have done a proper job in killing Him made sure that he was dead is evidence enough to support the claims.
The second point on evidence for the resurrection is that a high official secured the grave site, so you know that just stealing the body was pretty much impossible! They put Roman guards at his tomb to make sure that that there would be no problems with anyone trying to steal the body or anything like that! And in spite of all the guards surrounding his tomb the grave was still found empty! This couldn’t have just been a mistake, and it was a big problem for the Roman authorities!
“The resurrection proclamation could not have been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact.” Paul Althus.
Everybody that was there in Jerusalem was aware that someone had been crucified that day and the news spread about it. News also spread of the empty tomb and if it was a lie, then the rumour would have been countered quicker. People wouldn’t have believed it unless there was an empty tomb and a lot of panic amongst the Roman soldiers!
So we’re faced with two facts so far; that Jesus was beaten and then he died and was buried, and then in a short space of time the tomb became empty. The next point for evidence for the resurrection would be that people claimed to have seen him alive.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 Living Bible (TLB)
“3 I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me, that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, 4 and that he was buried, and that three days afterwards he arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold. 5 He was seen by Peter and later by the rest of ―the Twelve. 6 After that he was seen by more than five hundred Christian brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now. 7 Then James saw him, and later all the apostles. 8 Last of all I saw him too, long after the others, as though I had been born almost too late for this.”
Here are some of the eye-witnesses listed: Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18), The other women at the tomb (Matthew 28:8-10), Peter in Jerusalem (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5), The two travellers on the road (Mark 16:12, 13), Ten disciples behind closed doors (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25), All the disciples, with Thomas (excl. Judas) (John 20:26-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5), Seven disciples while fishing (John 21:1-14), Eleven disciples on the mountain – Matthew 28:16-20, A crowd of 500 (1 Corinthians 15:6), Jesus‘ brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7), Those who watched Jesus ascend into heaven (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:3-8).
Some people say that all these witnesses hallucinated and didn’t really see the risen Christ, but it wasn’t a hallucination by merely defining the word “hallucination”. A hallucination is something that is specific or unique to one person, and so you can’t have more than one person experiencing exactly the same hallucination, especially 500 people at the same time – even if they were all smoking weed!
I trust that this is has inspired you, stirred you up and encouraged you that there is a tangibility to Christianity – it’s not just a religion, it’s His life in us, because Jesus is alive!