Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” – 1 Corinthians 15:12-15
The Broken Roman Seal
- Consequences of breaking the seal would be severe
- Anyone who did so could face execution
- Even the disciples were afraid and hid themselves
The Empty Tomb
- Unless the tomb were empty, the disciples would never have been believed in Jerusalem
- The disciples did not go off to some distant land to preach the empty tomb. They went right back to Jerusalem, where, if their teaching could be disproved by a simple visit to the tomb.
- If the tomb remained occupied, why would the apostles try to tell people that Christ had risen from the dead in the city were the tomb was?
- There have been positive evidence of an empty tomb from Jewish and Roman historical sources.
- Even Gamaliel, a Sanhedrin member, put forth the suggestion that the Christian movement was of God (Acts 5:34-42); he would not have done this if the tomb had been occupied or if the Sanhedrin knew where the body was.
- Why would the Jewish authorities bribe the Roman guard and spread the “stolen body” rumor/theory, if the tomb were still occupied?
- The empty tomb is therefore a historical fact
Roman Guard Goes AWOL
- The Roman guard fled and left their place of responsibility
- To abandon one’s position or to fall asleep on the job meant punishment
- Fear of Punishment
- There was a serious threat of being stripped of clothes and being burned alive as punishment hanging over the heads of these soldiers
- If the tomb had not been empty, the guards would never have left their position, nor have gone to the high priest
- The chief priest could also not make any valid charge against for what they saw – they must have seen the empty tomb and the location of the rock to determine that nothing human could have done this
Appearances of Christ Confirmed
A Principle to Remember ;
- Enough participants and eyewitnesses to the event
- The number should be substantial
- Fifty Hours of Eyewitnesses
- According to Saint Paul, Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time and that the majority of these people were still alive at the time of writing the epistle to the Corinthians and could be questioned
- If you examined all of them for about 6 minutes each in court, you would have nearly 50 hours of eyewitness testimony
- Variety of People
- Variety of locations and people involved
- Saint Mary Magdalene
- Two disciples on the road to Emmaus
- 500 men at one time
- Reactions also varied
- Saint Mary Magdalene overwhelmed with emotion
- Disciples frightened
- Saint Thomas doubtful
- He appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced
- He wasn’t just seen by friends and followers
- For instance, Saul of Tarsus (Saint Paul) was by no means a follower of Christ – he was the exact opposite
- Saint Paul became one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection
- Women saw Him first
- The disciples did NOT see Him first and they were Christ’s inner circle – it would seem illogical to write an account where the women saw Him first
- Furthermore, the Jewish principles of legal evidence state that women at the time are invalid witnesses and did not have a right to give testimony in a court of law.
- Even the disciples doubted their witness
- But if the resurrection accounts had been manufactured…women would never have been included in the story, at least, not as first witnesses.