I hope everyone has had a blessed Easter and I hope we’re still getting readers that have joined in from the suggestion of Slipstream. That’s a ministry broadcast out of the U.K.. A link to their ministry can be found on the right side of this page. A number of other Christians have been following through with blogs on the resurrection. A list of them can be found on the blog from the Thursday before this blog.
Today, we talk about the resurrection.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
Slipstream invites all readers to go to their website to hear Gary Habermas give a talk on the resurrection. I encourage that as well and recommend his excellent website of www.GaryHabermas.com. For an excellent book on the topic, get the book he co-authored with Mike Licona called “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus.” The book also comes with a game where you can quiz yourself on the material that you’ve read to see how much you’ve learned.
The case for the resurrection today is focusing on the facts of the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances, both of which are attested to in the creed in 1 Cor. 15:3-8. Now some may say the empty tomb is not mentioned explicitly, yet to say that Jesus was buried and that he rose again would in the mind of a Jew imply an empty tomb. There was no concept of Jesus resurrecting and a body still being in that tomb.
The appearances point to the fact that the disciples claimed to have seen the resurrected Christ. Paul mentions that there were 500 who say him at one time. He’s practically telling the people that they can go and ask for themselves. The witnesses were there. The story would be well-known especially since this was an early Christian creed. It would be known who these witnesses were.
The appearance to Paul is quite important in that Paul was one who was a skeptic and went on to die for his faith. There is no reason why Paul would embrace a faith he sought to persecute unless he believed it was true for some reason and a stron g way he would have come about that conclusion is by having an appearance of Christ to him. Some attempts to explain away the conversion of Paul are quite hysterical, particularly one like Dan Barker who says that Paul might have been struck by lightning.
The most noted attempt to explain the appearances is hallucination. Hallucination doesn’t work though as first off, they don’t explain the empty tomb. Second, people have to be in a suspectible state of mind to have hallucinations. The apostles were not. Third is the problem that if hallucinations had taken place, they would have been in Jesus in Abraham’s bosom or something like that. They would not have been hallucinations of a resurrection. Fourth is the problem of group hallucinations. That all of these people would hallucinate the same thing is extremely unlikely.
Another case can be made based on who it was. The argument for the resurrection of Christ fits in with biblical prophecy and the claims of who Jesus was and one can build a whole doctrine of atonement around the resurrection. It is the missing piece that fills in the gaps in the puzzle.
This is why N.T. Wright believes the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most likely explanation for all that followed and this can be seen in his work “The Resurrection of the Son of God.” If you want your PH.D. in the study of the resurrection, you need to go with that one.
There’s something else about this creed in 1 Cor. 15. It can be dated to within one year of the events. This is a gold mine in ancient history. In that kind of study, we consider ourselves fortunate if we have an account just 100 years after the events took place.
A lot of my readers are already Christians and I’ve pointed to the work of others for a lot of this as a single blog cannot go into all of this. Perchance later on I might do a series on the resurrection. I’d be amiss to not end this with the application of the resurrection truth.
I do not tend to be an emotional person. I would like to tell you that my life is filled with passion for Christ, but I would not say it is. A friend of mine pointed out to me recently that that’s not what really matters. What matters is how you act and not how you feel. There’s a lot of truth to that and we’ve easily confused the two.
There were times today though that I really did stop to think, “Yes. He is risen.” There are times I think that we have sadly heard the story so much all of our lives that the grandeur of it has not sunk in. Imagine if you lived right next door to a beautiful cathedral and you could walk outside and see it any time. You might be at a disadvantage compared to a tourist who can only see it when they travel a great distance and then feel blessed to be there.
I think we do that with the resurrection also. We’ve got so familiar with it that it doesn’t stun us as it should. We can hear about the resurrection but does it really sink in? As I ponder this, I think this is the problem a lot of marriages go through. Too many people in them don’t stop to remember the joy of their honeymoon and take for granted that they’ve got the other person. They seem to lose sight of the wonder that this person really is in their lives.
The resurrection should be something that stuns us. We must remember that death is a defeated foe. We do not say good-bye to loved ones in the Lord. We say “Until we meet again.” It’s only a temporary separation. It is not eternal.
It also doesn’t stop from us. Resurrection is not just of us. It’s resurrection cosmos. C.S. Lewis showed this well in the Chronicles of Narnia. When a deeper magic takes effect, even death itself will work backwards. We are not going to Eden though. We are bypassing Eden. We are getting something that will make Eden look paltry.
The resurrection is good news. It is because of that that I believe we have hope in this world.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!