Faithlife Sermons

Easter: God is Faithful

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Luke 24:1–12 ESV
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
Compare ; ;
John 20:1–10 ESV
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Matthew 28:1–7 ESV
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”
Mark 16:1–7 ESV
1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
Luke reports 2 men standing in the tomb; Matthew reports a single angel sitting on top of the stone; Mark only reports one “man” sitting inside the tomb;
In Luke it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary mother of James; in John it was just Mary Magdalene; in Matthew it was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary; in Mark it was Mary Magdalene, Mary Mother of James, and Salome
In Luke it was just Peter; in John it was Peter and John; Matthew and Mark do not report it;
Are these differences problems?
If every single narrative describing the resurrection sounded exactly the same, what do you think would be said about the narratives? “They must have copied each other.”
Imagine you’re at a theatrical performance and there are multiple actors on the stage. At one point, the lights go out and a spotlight shines on one of the actors. You know other actors are on the stage. But you can’t see them because the spotlight is focused on one person.
Literary spotlighting was a common practice for writers of the 1st century era. This is when an author mentions only one person performing an action while being aware of several others who are present.
There are occasions in the Gospels where literary spotlighting is likely at play. T

Ha’El hanne’eman: The Faithful God

Defending Jesus

Are you ready to defend the life, death, burial, and resurrection of your Lord?
Skeptics will say, “Of course the Bible will talk about the resurrection. That’s not proof.” How would you respond?
When the books of the New Testament were written, they proliferated quickly. They were copied many times, with copies being sent far off to other Christians so they could read them as well. After reading them, those Christians often copied the books before sending them on.
them on. How exactly can this kind of proliferation of texts, without any central control, be uniformly and undetectably altered? How can someone corrupt the words? No one had control over Christendom until hundreds of years after Christ.
How exactly can this kind of proliferation of texts, without any central control, be uniformly and undetectably altered? How can someone corrupt the words? No one had control over Christendom until hundreds of years after Christ.
them on. How exactly can this kind of proliferation of texts, without any central control, be uniformly and undetectably altered? How can someone corrupt the words? No one had control over Christendom until hundreds of years after Christ.
All historians agree that the gospels were written down and circulated during the first generation after the events, while the eyewitnesses were still alive. In order for the gospels to be legendary at their core, more generations would be needed between the events they record and the date of their composition.

Importance of the Resurrection

A Messiah who failed to deliver and to reign, one who was defeated, humiliated, and slain by his enemies was a contradiction in terms. Nowhere do ancient Jewish texts speak of this sort of “Messiah.”
Jews believed that the resurrection to glory and immortality only took place after the end of the world; they had no concept of, much less belief in, a resurrection within history. Ancient Judaism had no place for the resurrection of an isolated individual, especially of the Messiah.
How would you imagine the disciples were right after the crucifixion?
So it’s difficult to exaggerate, therefore, what a catastrophe Jesus’ crucifixion would have been for the disciples. It wasn’t just that their beloved teacher was gone; rather, Jesus’ death on the cross meant the crushing defeat of any hopes they had entertained that he was the Messiah.

Importance of the Resurrection

Why is the resurrection so important to Christianity? Read
1 Corinthians 15:14–19 ESV
14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

His Burial

Jesus’ burial is reported in extremely early, independent sources: ; ; ;
Joseph of Arimathea
Matthew 28:1–20 ESV
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” 11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 27:59–60 ESV
59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.
Jesus’ burial is reported in extremely early, independent sources:All four gospels contain accounts of Jesus’ resurrection (; ; ; ).
Mark 15:45–46 ESV
45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
Mark 16:1–8 ESV
1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Luke 24:1–53 ESV
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. 13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them. 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” 50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
Luke 23:53 ESV
53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.
John 19:40–42 ESV
40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
John 20:1–21:25 ESV
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” 24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. 1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. 15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” 20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. 25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Joseph of Arimathea was a well-known member of the Sanhedrin. What is significant about including him in the story?
Sanhedrin very opposed to The Way, and took part in the condemnation of Jesus. Using this man could easily be refuted
Burial place would be known to both Jews and Christians

The Empty Tomb

the disciples themselves could never have believed in the resurrection of Jesus when faced with a tomb containing His corpse.

The disciples themselves could never have believed in the resurrection of Jesus when faced with a tomb containing His corpse.
The disciples’ opponents would have exposed the whole affair as a sham by displaying the body of Jesus, perhaps even parading it through the streets of Jerusalem

The Creed Paul Received

Jesus’ resurrection story flourished in the very city where Jesus had been publicly crucified.
So long as the inhabitants of Jerusalem thought that Jesus’ corpse lay in the tomb, few would have been prepared to believe such silliness as the claim that God had raised Jesus from the dead.

The Creed Paul Received

Someone read
1 Corinthians 15:3–5 ESV
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth cites an old Christian tradition that he had received from the earliest disciples.
Paul probably received this tradition no later than his visit to Jerusalem in AD 36 after his conversion in AD 33 - look at
In the minds of first-century Jews, there would have been no question that Jesus’ tomb would have been empty as a result of his being raised. Therefore, when the tradition states that Christ “was buried and he was raised,” it automatically implies that an empty tomb was left behind.Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth cites an old Christian tradition that he had received from the earliest disciples Paul probably received this tradition no later than his visit to Jerusalem in AD 36 after his conversion in AD 33 ()This tradition, therefore, goes back to within the first five years after Jesus’ crucifixion in AD 30.
Galatians 1:18 ESV
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.

Timeline of Events

30 AD Crucifixion
33 AD Damascus Road
36 AD Paul visits Jerusalem
46 AD Book of James
52 AD Books of Thessalonians
55 AD Book of Galatians
57 AD Books of Corinthians
62 AD Gospel of Mark
This tradition, therefore, goes back to within the first five years after Jesus’ crucifixion in AD 30.

Empty Tomb: Women Witnesses

Why do you think using women as witnesses makes the story more credible?
First, women were not regarded as credible witnesses. Second, women occupied a low rung on the Jewish social ladder. Compared to men, women were, frankly, second-class citizens.The negative attitude toward the testimony of women is evident in the Jewish historian Josephus’ description of Jewish rules for admissible testimony: “Let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex.”
If you are going to create a legend, you certainly would not want to use weak witnesses to help your claim
If the empty tomb story were a legend, then male disciples would have been made to be the ones who discover the empty tomb. The fact that women— whose testimonies were deemed worthless— are the chief witnesses to the fact of the empty tomb can only be plausibly explained if, like it or not, they actually were the discoverers of the empty tomb, and the Gospel writers faithfully record what (for them) was an awkward and embarrassing fact.

The Disciples Stole the Body??

What’s the problem with this argument? Look at
Matthew 28:11–15 ESV
11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
What do these verses convey about the Jewish leaders?
Think about that: “His disciples came by night and stole him away.” The Jewish authorities did not deny the fact that Jesus’ tomb was empty; In other words, the Jewish claim that the disciples stole the body presupposes that the body was, in fact, missing. Therefore, we have evidence from the very adversaries of the early Christian movement for the fact of the empty tomb.

Resurrection Defined

What is the difference between Jesus’ resurrection and Lazarus? Look at
1 Corinthians 15:53 ESV
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
Rather, when Jesus rose from the dead, he began a new kind of human life in which he had a perfect body that was no longer subject to weakness, aging, death, or decay.

Evidence of a Physical Body

Look at , , , ,
Matthew 28:9 ESV
9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
Acts 10:41 ESV
41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
Luke 24:30 ESV
30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
Luke 24:39 ESV
39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
John 20:27 ESV
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
ESV41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
ESV30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
ESV39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
ESV27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

The Empty Tomb

According to the accounts, Jesus was buried by a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin named Joseph of Arimathea. As a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea is unlikely to be a Christian invention.If the accounts of Jesus’ burial in the Gospels are basically accurate, then the location of Jesus’ tomb was known in Jerusalem to both Jew and Christian alike. Why is this important?Even if people had believed that Jesus had risen, the Jewish authorities would have crushed the whole affair simply by pointing to Jesus’ occupied tomb or perhaps even opening the tomb to reveal the corpse as decisive proof that Jesus had not risen back to life.
Jesus’ resurrection story flourished in the very city where Jesus had been publicly crucified.
So long as the inhabitants of Jerusalem thought that Jesus’ corpse lay in the tomb, few would have been prepared to believe such silliness as the claim that God had raised Jesus from the dead.

The Creed Paul Received

Someone read
ESV3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
In the minds of first-century Jews, there would have been no question that Jesus’ tomb would have been empty as a result of his being raised. Therefore, when the tradition states that Christ “was buried and he was raised,” it automatically implies that an empty tomb was left behind.Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth cites an old Christian tradition that he had received from the earliest disciples Paul probably received this tradition no later than his visit to Jerusalem in AD 36 after his conversion in AD 33 ()This tradition, therefore, goes back to within the first five years after Jesus’ crucifixion in AD 30.
ESV18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.

Empty Tomb: Women Witnesses

First, women were not regarded as credible witnesses. Second, women occupied a low rung on the Jewish social ladder. Compared to men, women were, frankly, second-class citizens.The negative attitude toward the testimony of women is evident in the Jewish historian Josephus’ description of Jewish rules for admissible testimony: “Let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex.”
If you are going to create a legend, you certainly would not want to use weak witnesses to help your claim
If the empty tomb story were a legend, then male disciples would have been made to be the ones who discover the empty tomb. The fact that women— whose testimonies were deemed worthless— are the chief witnesses to the fact of the empty tomb can only be plausibly explained if, like it or not, they actually were the discoverers of the empty tomb, and the Gospel writers faithfully record what (for them) was an awkward and embarrassing fact.

The Disciples Stole the Body??

What’s the problem with this argument?
ESV11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
Think about that: “His disciples came by night and stole him away.” The Jewish authorities did not deny the fact that Jesus’ tomb was empty; In other words, the Jewish claim that the disciples stole the body presupposes that the body was, in fact, missing. Therefore, we have evidence from the very adversaries of the early Christian movement for the fact of the empty tomb.

Some Key Appearances

There can be little doubt that such an appearance occurred, for it is attested in the old Christian tradition, vouched for by Paul, and independently described by both Luke and John.The Gospel-appearance narratives also show that the appearances were physical and bodily; in fact, every resurrection appearance cited in the Gospels unanimously testifies to a physical, bodily appearance.

The 500

Look at
1 Corinthians 15:6 ESV
6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
What is the significance of Paul’s statement here?
the fact that the most of the 500 are still alive, unless Paul is saying, in effect, ‘The witnesses are there to be questioned.’” 10 Paul would not have said this if the event had not occurred. He wouldn’t have challenged people to talk to the eyewitnesses if the event had never taken place and there were no eyewitnesses.
What is the significance of Paul’s statement here?the fact that the most of the 500 are still alive, unless Paul is saying, in effect, ‘The witnesses are there to be questioned.’” 10 Paul would not have said this if the event had not occurred. He wouldn’t have challenged people to talk to the eyewitnesses if the event had never taken place and there were no eyewitnesses.

The Appearance to James, brother of Jesus

1 Corinthians 15:7 ESV
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
1 Cor
What was so special about this one? Look at ;
What was so special about this one? Look at ;
Mark 3:21 ESV
21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
John 7:5 ESV
5 For not even his brothers believed in him.
Jesus’ family didn’t believe he was the Messiah, or a prophet, or even anybody special. By the criterion of embarrassment, the unbelief of Jesus’ own family is undoubtedly a historical fact.Go to ;
Jesus’ crucifixion would not account for this transformation, since Jesus’ execution would only confirm in James’ mind that his brother’s Messianic pretensions were delusory, just as he had thought.Yet, James was one of the earliest martyrs for the Christian faith. Why would he change so dramatically?
ESV5 For not even his brothers believed in him.
Jesus’ crucifixion would not account for this transformation, since Jesus’ execution would only confirm in James’ mind that his brother’s Messianic pretensions were delusory, just as he had thought.Yet, James was one of the earliest martyrs for the Christian faith. Why would he change so dramatically?

The Appearance to Paul

The incident on the Damascus Road changed Saul’s whole life. He was a rabbi, a Pharisee, a respected Jewish leader. He hated the Christian heresy and did everything he could to stamp it out. What is it about Paul that proves Jesus appeared to him?Then suddenly, he gave up everything— including his position as a respected Jewish leader— and became a Christian missionary. He entered a life of poverty, labor, and suffering. He was whipped, beaten, and stoned; left for dead; shipwrecked three times; and remained in constant danger, deprivation, and anxiety ()
2 Corinthians 11:25–28 ESV
25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
The Bible does not record Paul’s death, but early Christian writers such as Eusebius record his death during the reign of Emperor Nero, likely occuring anywhere from A.D. 64 - A.D. 68. As a Roman citizen, he would not have been crucified, but likely beheaded.

A Change of Attitude

It is difficult to exaggerate how devastating the crucifixion must have been for the disciples. They had pinned all their hopes, their lives, on Jesus, but He had died. Even though Jesus had predicted his resurrection, the gospels are clear that the disciples did not understand Him. They had no conception of a dying, much less a rising, Messiah, for the Scriptures said that the Messiah would reign forever (; compare ). Thus, Jesus’ crucifixion shattered any hopes they might have entertained that He was the Messiah.
The Bible does not record Paul’s death, but early Christian writers such as Eusebius record his death during the reign of Emperor Nero, likely occuring anywhere from A.D. 64 - A.D. 68. As a Roman citizen, he would not have been crucified, but likely beheaded.
It is difficult to exaggerate how devastating the crucifixion must have been for the disciples. They had pinned all their hopes, their lives, on Jesus, but He had died. Even though Jesus had predicted his resurrection, the gospels are clear that the disciples did not understand Him. They had no conception of a dying, much less a rising, Messiah, for the Scriptures said that the Messiah would reign forever (; compare ). Thus, Jesus’ crucifixion shattered any hopes they might have entertained that He was the Messiah.
Isaiah 9:7 ESV
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection, therefore, cannot be explained as the result of either Christian or Jewish influences. Left to themselves, the disciples would never have come up with such an idea as Jesus’ resurrection. And remember: they were fishermen and taxcollectors, not theologians.

John 12:34 ESV
34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
The disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection, therefore, cannot be explained as the result of either Christian or Jewish influences. Left to themselves, the disciples would never have come up with such an idea as Jesus’ resurrection. And remember: they were fishermen and tax collectors, not theologians.

Apologetic Summary

Multiple sources indicate an empty tomb
No natural explanation is plausible
Numerous accounts of physical, bodily appearances of Jesus alive from dead to different witnesses
No natural explanation, no hallucination theory can account for these appearances
The origin of the Christian faith itself and the dramatic turnaround of these individuals cannot be explained other than the belief that they did indeed see Jesus alive
Nobody lives and dies such a harsh life for a lie that they know is a lie.

First, we have seen that ten lines of historical evidence support the fact that Jesus’ tomb was found empty. We further saw that no natural explanation has been offered that can plausibly account for the empty tomb. Second, we have also seen that four lines of historical evidence support the fact that on numerous occasions and in different places Jesus appeared bodily and physically alive from the dead to different witnesses. We found that no natural explanation, either in terms of hallucinations or veridical visions, could plausibly account for those appearances. Finally, we have seen that the very origin of the Christian faith depends on the belief in Jesus’ resurrection and that this belief cannot be plausibly explained in terms of natural causes. Each of these three great facts—the empty tomb, the appearances, the origin of the Christian faith—is independently established. Together they point with unwavering conviction to the same unavoidable and marvelous conclusion: Jesus actually rose from the dead.

In , , Peter declares to the Jews, “This Jesus God raised up.… Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Craig, W. L. (2000). The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (p. 127). Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Craig, W. L. (2000). The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (p. 128). Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
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