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Mission Possible -The Resurrection - Hoax, Lie or True?

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The Resurrection – Hoax, Lie or True?

1 Corinthians 15: 3-26


Intro:  What is Christianity without the resurrection?

   READ: “12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.  20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”


What are the ramifications if Christ has not risen?

  • Preaching meaningless
  • Faith meaningless & futile
  • They were false witness', liars or deceived
  • We are still in our sin
  • No afterlife
  • We are the most pitiable of all men

   Christianity Wholly Relies On The Resurrection. CELEBRATE DEATH DESTROYED

  MOVIE: No Resurrection  *** (Dismiss Children)

READ: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

Corinthians (like Saducees) struggling with the resurrection. Experience -> Dead men stay dead

Appeared to: Peter – The 12 – To 500 – James – All apostles – Paul


Mission Impossible OR Possible?

       Secular history:    Josephus       Phlegon

The resurrection - legend embellished over time.
          ASK: Why is it that the Bible cannot be legend or myth?

o        Gospels were written between 56 and 70 A.D.. Some of the books of the Bible were written by @ 42 A.D.. This is not enough time for legendary features to have developed since the crucifixion was around 30 A.D.. Furthermore, many of the witness' of the resurrection were still alive to testify to this when the Gospels were written.

o        The Gospels were written in an environment that was hostile to Christianity. This would have prevented legend to develop as the enemies of Christianity could have easily thwarted its development.

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, Edward K. Boyd, Letters From a Skeptic Cook Communications Ministries, 1994 pp. 103

o        Problem: Must be legend because religions 100's of years older than Christianity have amazingly similar features to the Christ story.

- Suetonius writes that Augustus, Emperor of Rome's (during the time of Jesus) mother was supposedly impregnated by Apollo and Augustus is therefore "divine".
- Islam & Buddhism say similar things of Buddha & Muhammad.
- At least a dozen nature deities are said to have suffered, died and rose again on the third day... Some even on a cross.
- One account has the savior of the world interrogated, condemned, scourged, executed among criminals, had a gushing spear wound and descended into hell. (Bell-Marduk mystery religion)

Michael R. Licona Cross Examined TruthQuest Publishers 1998 pp. 154-155

How do we, as Christians, account for these stories?

We Need To Ask:
- When did these accounts of risen deities, from the older religions, first start to surface?
NOT until at least the 2nd century A.D.! About 100 years following Jesus' crucifixion!
- Is there ANY historical mention of a resurrection, before Jesus or 2nd century?
NONE! (Closest story- Osiris killed by brother and chops him into 14 pieces. The goddess Isis reassembles 13 of the pieces but his body is understood to remain buried & his existence is considered that of a nether world.) NOT a real resurrection!
- Qur'an has no mention of Muhammad's deity. Mention of his deity is recorded in other writings @ 75-100 years after the Qur'an is written.
- Hindu says, "Krishna is God" - The only other religion to make this claim besides Jesus. NO evidence he ever existed! In the Bhagavad-Gita written 350 - 1300 years later.

So who is borrowing the story from whom?
- Christianity comes & says Jesus is the true God & we have proof... The resurrection. Then others later realized the power of the argument & start saying, "Yeah, we have that too."
- It's been said "it's like comparing Disney's Little Mermaid to The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau!"

o        If the Bible is legendary, why have we not found any scriptures without the miracles included in them?
There are NO unmythed documents!!


      The resurrection - lies perpetrated by Jesus’ followers.

    • Eating Crow - Says the disciples followed and trusted Jesus who would set up a kingdom free of persecution. They were going to have to face religious leaders in public humiliation. They claimed He was Messiah! NOW HE'S DEAD!

ASK: Why can't this be true?

Were they willing to lie to save face?

2 reasons people lie:
1. To avoid negative consequences.
2. To gain something.

What were the benefits of this lie?

- Crucifixion, Stoning, Imprisonment. The likelihood is that someone would have broke under pressure.
- They ALL had to be willing to conspire to the same lie.
- It is unlikely the disciples stole the body as they were in hiding out of fear and did not believe he was risen when told.

Would they all die for a lie?  -  I'd rather "eat crow" than be eaten by a lion.

How they died:

Last week we mentioned persecution of apostles:
- Dragged through the streets. Then burned. – Beheaded - Crucified - Beaten
- Thrust through with a spear. - Hanged

-   John boiled in pitch and survived. Then banished to the Isle of Patmos.

-  Peter crucified upside-down feeling unworthy to die the same manner as Christ.

Others: Flayed alive, burned, boiled, bound to wheel rolled on spikes, nailed in box & thrown into a river, molten hot substances thrown on them, fryed alive in large pans. Nero burned bodies as torches in the streets.


      The disciples hallucinated or where delusional.

Conjecture that the disciples mind set at the disappointment& embarrassment of the situation caused great anguish leading to hallucinations or delusions.

ASK:   Could the disciples have had hallucinations?

    • You must ask can 500 people have exactly the same hallucination at exactly the same time? Perhaps someone thought it was Jesus in the distance & convinced others it was Him until gradually the whole group bought into the story?
    • William Lane Craig - In a debate with John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar made the point that "if the faith of the disciples led to hallucination or delusions, the Gospel accounts may have read quite differently. We might read that... Peter encouraged them [saying]: 'Fear and despair not. Remember that while he was among us, he claimed he was the Messiah and would rise from the dead. Let's wait and trust him. He has never let us down before.'...Instead we read that when the women went to the tomb and saw it empty, /they thought that someone had stolen the body/ (John 20:13)...After the women saw the angels and Jesus, they reported these things to /the disciples who doubted/ (Mark 16:10-14; Luke 24:10-11). They were not expecting it either (John 20:10). Then Jesus appeared to all of the disciples but Thomas. They announced to him that Jesus was risen, /but he refused to believe until he actually saw him/ (John 20:24-29). Therefore, it is quite clear that /it was the appearances that led to the disciples' faith, not the other way around./" Michael R. Licona Cross Examined TruthQuest Publishers 1998 pp. 159-160

"It appears... it wasn't their faith which led to the appearances. It was the appearances which led to their faith!"
Michael R. Licona Cross Examined TruthQuest Publishers 1998 pp. 94


    • If a delusion... Out of sheer will they convinced themselves, they heard a voice or saw a face like Jesus' then why wouldn't He have come directly to those who were his followers? Wouldn't someone have questioned, "Maybe we didn't really see or hear Jesus" and recant their story before they were executed for their beliefs? The enemies of Christianity could have easily debunked this story by producing a body. Everyone knew where the tomb of Jesus was.* Especially since it was owned by a prominent man (Joseph of Arimethea). But this was never done because, although many stories existed as to what happened to the body,

   BUT even critics & everyone else accepted that The Body Was Gone!

            The Tomb Was Empty!!!

    • Did Paul (Saul) hallucinate? He was not in anguish over Christ's death and was likely Christianities biggest enemy but saw Jesus on the road to Damascus & changed dramatically! James, Jesus' half brother, was an unbeliever before but became a staunch believer after Jesus' resurrection. (Mocked & Jeered Him in Jn. 7:4-5)*


      Jesus never died.

- Jesus could have passed out or gone into a coma from the trauma. The burial clothes could have provided warmth & He came to 3 days later.

    • But - After a sever beating, loss of blood, no food or water for days & severe crucifixion wounds He rolled away a 1-2 ton stone, Overcame guards & Walked on nail pierced feet to His disciples (One of His appearances was in Galilee about 80 miles away).  MOVIE: Crucifixion

It was very easy to know when a crucified person was dead. They simply were not pushing up for air any longer.

    • While still on the cross, as the soldiers were breaking the legs of the others to facilitate death because the Passover was about to begin they came to Jesus and did not break his legs because he was already dead. They did however, stab Him in the side, apparently to be sure He was dead, and the soldiers seemed satisfied that he was indeed dead. (John 19:32-37) Fulfilling:  Ps. 34:20 (no bones broken) AND Zech. 12:10 (pierced).
      ALSO NOTE: Passover regulations prohibit breaking bones of the Passover sacrifice (cf. Ex. 12:46 and Num. 9:12)


  What doubt could you have now!

  Jesus REALLY DID come back from the dead!!!


READ: But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death./”

He destroyed death! -- Man (Adam) caused it. -- God became man (Jesus) to end it!

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