by Aaron Fong, 2010
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a vital event in Biblical history and in the history of mankind. In the present day, Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated at Easter, two days after Good Friday. The Bible had recorded that Jesus resurrected on the third day after his death. Christians all around the world celebrate this memorable event in history in tribute to Christ rising from the dead and ascending into Heaven, seated on the right hand of our Father’s throne. From that time on, the followers of Christ worship and serve a risen Saviour.
The theological significance of the resurrection is extremely profound. Jesus died and rose again, taking away the sting of death. Had Jesus not resurrected, it would have made Christianity unbelievable and unacceptable. Central to the faith is that Jesus’ resurrection displayed His ability to conquer death and its consequences. Death, being the consequence of sin, was permanently removed by Jesus’ rising from the dead. His failure to do so would have meant that He did not achieve victory over sin or did have the power or capability to do so. This would have meant that he was not the Son of God or God, but merely a man who had died with a promise. In a nutshell, had He not risen, Jesus, and the entire Christian faith would have been wishful thinking for eternal life after death.
How can we be sure that the resurrection occurred? First, we need to establish that the Bible was a historically accurate document. The Bible, down to the smallest of details, matches up with any other historically credited document that mankind possesses. The authors of most of the books of the Bible were some of the best scholars of their time, and they took the utmost care to convey and record the information and biblical truths carefully onto paper, carrying it down accurately from generation to generation. Till this day, many of the top scholars regard the Bible as 99.5% in likeness to its original source.
But the greatest testimony of the authors was that they, and almost all of the disciples, and many of the believers and preachers, were eventually persecuted for their faith. Many gave their lives spreading, preaching and defending the faith. Had they all believed that it was all a lie, or had they harboured any doubts of the basis of their faith in Christ, then they would not have continued to defend the faith knowing that they would suffer severely and die in vain, and all for a lie. If what they had written and been preaching were a bunch of lies, myths, and legends, then why die for it? It is clear from history that they believed in the resurrected Christ and gave their lives for it. People may die for the truth, but never for a lie that they conceived themselves.
Amazing Grace by Aaron Fong, THG Alumnus on guitar and violin
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence for the resurrection was that the tomb in which Jesus was buried, was found to be empty, with His garments neatly folded by the side. The corpse of Jesus was never found as well. Instead of making up malicious lies about Christianity, all the Jewish or Roman authorities had to do to discredit Christianity and destroy the faith, was to produce the body of Jesus Christ. But they were never able to find the body, let alone know what happened to the body.
Many skeptics had concocted possible theories to explain the resurrection and the disappearance of the body with scientific means. For the disappearance of the body, there are a few popular theories that have risen up in order to try and explain this miraculous event.
One of the more popular theories that was quite credited in the early 19th century was the swoon theory. This theory stated that Jesus did not die on the cross, and had just passed out due to the extensive pain and fatigue. Then, when he regained consciousness, he got up and left the tomb, and then appeared in front of the disciples, and they thought that he had risen from the dead. With just common sense we can disprove this theory. The people who were in charge of the crucifixion of Christ were scholars who knew how to effectively kill the criminal or torture him slowly to death. Long story short, they made sure that he had died. Then, even if Jesus did not die from crucifixion, it is even more unlikely, that without food or water for 3 days that he could regain consciousness, and then move a 2-tonne rock, escape the guards without notice, and march right up to the disciples pretending to have risen from the dead. Surely then they would notice that he was weak, ill and in need of medical attention. Sure without further investigation into the theory one can clearly see why many have discredited this theory.
Another of the most famous theories is the theory where it is said that the disciples managed to sneak past the guards on duty and steal and dispose of Jesus’ body. This theory also has many flaws, such as the disciples would not have been able to move a two-tonne rock without making a noise or alerting the Roman guards who were on strict duty. In retaliation to this, skeptics say that the guards could have fallen asleep. But even if the Roman guards were sleeping, how would they have known that it was the disciples that stole the body? Roman guards were not likely to fall asleep with such an important duty as well. They were well trained and knew the consequence of not following orders to the letter. Lastly, Jesus’ garments on his body were found neatly folded, separated from the linen. If the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body, I doubt they would have thought of carefully and meticulously removing and folding the garments in a corner. They would have torn the garments off and scrammed. So as you can see, this theory easily breaks down.
There are a couple other theories but they are widely discredited even by non-Christians and skeptics due to their radical backgrounds. There was a theory where the women looked into the wrong tomb and realized that it was empty, another theory stated that the disciples hallucinated the resurrection. But that could not be true, as 500+ witnesses all had the same appearing of Jesus to them.
As can be seen, all the counter theories against Jesus’ resurrection cannot hold water and cannot dispute the marvelous resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
If the resurrection was a lie, it would have meant Jesus failed to conquer sin. The failure of Christ not resurrecting would also diminish the significance of a new believer accepting Christ, as he too, will not be able to be resurrected in Christ. Baptism as we know it would have little or no meaning at all. Of equal importance, is that the act of the resurrection does not only refer to that of Jesus Christ Himself but refers to the daily dying of one’s old self to be reborn in Christ. This would rob the believer also the ability to have victory over sin. As pointed out to Jesus’ Himself in John 11:25: “”I am the Resurrection and the life”- it is because of the resurrection that there is life – eternal life in Jesus.
The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.