The Resurrection of Jesus: Fact of Fiction

 THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: FACT OR FICTION


Kurt Dahlin April 20, 2003
Triumph of the Cross of Jesus

 Col. 2:13‑15 (TLB)  You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross.  In this way God took away Satan's power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ's triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.

People offer sacrifices to the gods, but here we read that God makes a sacrifice for us. Why not serve the God who made a sacrifice for you

After his death and resurrection, Jesus explained the scriptures to two men walking on the road to the town of Emmaus. His death and resurrection were the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Luke 24:44-49

44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." 

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." 

There is no Christianity without the crucifixion and resurrection. The validity of Christianity hinges on the historical fact of the suffering and rising Christ.

1 Cor 15:12-19

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.   NIV

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the core authenticating fact of Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus makes everything we do and everything we suffer worthwhile. Moreover, Christianity would be a false religion since it was founded on the historicity of the resurrection. Peter preached the first Christian sermon in Jerusalem 50 days after the crucifixion and declared

Acts 2:32 - This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. NKJV

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the crown jewel of all Christian truth. The resurrection is the validation and vindication of the divine claims of Christ, the promises and prophecies of the Bible and the future of the world. If it did take place, then Jesus is both Christ and God, the Son and the Christian faith is absolute truth. If it did take place, then we should serve God through Christ with our resources, our talents, our gifts, our very lives. If it did take place, then the devil is defeated; we can receive the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life in heaven.

Jesus died just like everyone else but unlike everyone else, he resurrected his own dead body after three days. Everyone since Adam, even the greatest and holiest men, have died. Zoroaster, Confucius, Caesar, Buddha, Plato, Ghandi, Mohammed, Marx, Ed Murdock—men who made a profound impact on the world in one way or another—are all dead. Not one was resurrected or claimed to be resurrected. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the greatest miracle since the creation of the world. The resurrection makes Jesus unique among every other religious leader. The resurrection makes Christianity unique among every other religion. Anyone could predict that they would be killed by a politically oppressive regime. Yet, how likely is it to predict successfully your own resurrection after three days? It is impossible. That is why no one ever made such a claim because no one could fulfill such a claim.

The resurrection was a very clear teaching of Jesus frequently recorded in all four gospels. Even though there is a firm root for the resurrection in OT prophecy—no one at the time of Christ expected the Messiah to suffer and die or to be resurrected. So, there was no need for anyone to create such a difficult idea. Jesus could have died an heroic death on the cross and still have been considered a great prophet. For so persecuted were all the prophets before him. Yet, that is precisely the point—Jesus was much more than a mere prophet and his resurrection from the dead would prove it.

Jesus came to fulfill the law and prophets. No man could fulfill such a claim. Only God could fulfill the law and prophets. Jesus claimed to die as the atonement for the sins of the world. No man could fulfill such a claim. Jesus came to precipitate the coming of the Holy Spirit. He would go to the Father and send the Holy Spirit. No man could fulfill such a claim. Jesus predicted his death and resurrection after three days. This could have been accomplished only if Jesus is God, the Son come to earth.

There are only two options:

1.     The resurrection happened.

2.     The resurrection did not happen.

The resurrection is either fact or fiction; history or hysteria; trick of truth; miracle or myth. The options are few. The impact is eternal. What is the evidence for the resurrection? Sometimes the best arguments for something are the arguments against it. In this case, the arguments against the resurrection are weak and unreasonable. 

God is a God of reason. The historicity of the resurrection should have a legitimate basis in fact.

Historical Fact # 1: Jesus Was Crucified

Mark 15:25 It was the third hour when they crucified him. NIV

Jesus was nailed to the cross about 9 AM according to our modern American way of calculating time. In the ancient Jewish way of dividing the day it was called the third hour.

The chief priests, Annas and Caiaphas along with the teachers of the law were present at the crucifixion site mocking Jesus.

Mark 15:31-32

31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! 32 Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

Mark 15:33-34

33 At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"    NIV

After three hours had passed, a supernatural darkness came over all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour. In our American way of keeping time, we would say from noon to 3 PM. Jesus died some time around three o'clock in the afternoon on Friday.

Historical Fact #2: Jesus Died

Mark 15:37 - With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. NIV

Mark 15:42-47

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. NIV

  • Why did Joe lay him in a tomb? Because Jesus was dead.
  • If Jesus were still alive, he should have taken him to a hospital.
  • The Gospels are very clear: Jesus died on the cross.
  • The linen burial of Jesus cloth is housed in Turin and known as the Shroud of Turin.

Some time between 3 PM and sunset Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Sanhedrin, went to Pilate to obtain permission to bury Jesus. According to every official source Jesus was dead. He was completely dead not just mostly dead. Everyone who watched the crucifixion knew he was dead. The chief priests and teachers of the law knew he was dead. The women, the Roman soldiers, the centurion, Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea all knew Jesus was dead. There was no possibility that Jesus survived the crucifixion. The simple fact of his incontrovertible death would put to death the Swoon Theory; the They Switched the Body Theory; the He Survived the Cross Theory; the They Took Him Down Alive Theory.

FOR INSTANCE

Some Muslims sincerely gave me a book called, Jesus Lived In India.  The author, Hans Nevor had a vision in 1947. Hans stated that, "Jesus appeared and authorized him to testify before the world that the subject of the crucifixion had only appeared to be dead but was in fact in a kind of coma from which he awoke after three days."  Hans said,

The crucifixion did not bring about his death. Exact analysis of the shroud of Turin leads to scientific proof that Jesus survived the crucifixion and only appeared to be dead.  After the resurrection, Jesus lived at first in the near east and later returned to India where he finally died at an old age.  His tomb exists to this day.

Hans wrote that the Koran and the New Testament support his vision, "The Koran confirms the truth that Jesus had been saved from death on the cross and a cursed death unworthy of him.  The text of the gospels would also confirm Jesus' survival of the crucifixion." 

Hans declared that the gospels confirm that Jesus survived the crucifixion.  My question is: Which gospels did Hans read? The Bible clearly teaches the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as fulfilled prophecy. Instead, Hans teaches,

Jesus did indeed live in Cashmere for a long period of time.  I personally find in Jesus an idealic example of Buddha.  What is vital is to constantly improve one's karma by appropriate action.

Hans believed that anyone acquainted with reincarnation must give up the “belief in the ascension of the physical body of the crucified Jesus.”  In other words, if you believe in reincarnation you have to reject belief in the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus.  The physical resurrection and ascension of Jesus are arguments against reincarnation.  All religions are not the same.

Let us test the theory that Jesus did not die on the cross. Let us say for the sake of argument that the beatings, the crucifixion, the loss of blood, the spear into the heart did not kill Jesus. Let us suppose that all the gospels are uniformly wrong and everyone who witnessed the crucifixion was wrong. Yet, keep in mind, no one contemporary with the events ever denied the death of Jesus. However, there are those to this day who state that Jesus did not die on the cross. He merely fainted from exhaustion, the flogging, the mental torture, lack of sleep, lack of food and water, nail wounds, pierced side and significant blood loss. Everyone thought he was dead, even the high priests. Joseph of Arimathea buried him in the mistaken belief that he was dead.

Apparently, the cold dark tomb revived him from his comatose condition. Whatever small spark of life he retained through all his sufferings brought him back to consciousness. In his severely weakened, half-dead condition, he struggled to remove himself from the linen shroud and folded it neatly. In the dark, he fought his way to the door of the tomb. He put his deeply lacerated back against the one-ton stone and caught his breath. He held his bleeding side with a hand paralyzed by the severed nerves in his wrist and with his other hand twisted into the shape of a claw; he pushed and pushed against the stone. He planted his nail pierced feet against the cold dirty floor and braced himself for another great push. Single-handedly, he inched the giant stone up the incline. He left the tomb, overpowered the 60 Roman soldiers, walked through Jerusalem in search of the disciples. In his critical physical condition, bloody, dressed only his loincloth, he convinced his disciples that they should preach that he was raised gloriously from the dead. Jesus excited them to go into the entire world proclaiming the hoax of his miraculous resurrection from the dead. If need be they should suffer persecution even death for the Great Prince of Life and Soon Coming King. The pitiful sight of the non-miraculous, non-Messianic, human failure energized them to not only serve Jesus, a mere poet, with their lives but also to deify him and worship him as God. They were so amazed that he survived the crucifixion they all chipped in and bought him a ticket on the slow boat to India.

Historical Fact # 3: The Empty Tomb

Matt 27:62-66

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

65 "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. NIV

The next day, following the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate and requested his help in securing the tomb. They were well aware of his resurrection predictions. Fortunately, Mark included a note to explain that Preparation Day was before the Sabbath. The first day of the feast of the Passover was called the day of preparation. Everything was prepared on that day in readiness for the weeklong Jewish festival commemorating the exodus of the Hebrews from captivity in Egypt.

The Jewish day was counted from sunset to sunset. We count our American days from midnight to midnight. It is important to remember the culture in attempting to understand scripture. The next day began for the Jew at sundown on Friday. The next day for us begins at midnight. There was a rush to get Jesus down from the cross and buried before Sabbath began at sunset Friday evening. The next day mentioned here does not mean Saturday morning as it would in our use of the words. The next day does not mean after midnight Friday. The next day in the Jewish way of speaking means after sundown.

Luke 23:50-56

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. NIV

John 19:31-34

Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. NASU

The chief priests were under an incredible urgency to secure the tomb. They spent the last 24 hours manipulating the court system to put Jesus to death. They bribed Judas. They arrested Jesus at night and tried him illegally. They conspired to convict him of a capital offense without any cause. They change the charges before Pilate from blasphemy to aspiring king. They viciously aroused a crowd to riot in order to force Pilate to yield to their unjust demands. They had Barrabas released instead of Jesus. They stood at the cross to make sure he was dead. There was no way the chief priests would leave the tomb unguarded for a single night. The disciples would be just as likely to steal the body Friday night as on Saturday. They would not have waited until Saturday morning to approach Pilate to guard the grave. The Praetorium was only 650 yards from the crucifixion site. The disciples could steal the body and proclaim a resurrection. Of course, why would the disciples steal the body in the first place? (adapted from Barnes' Notes, 1997 by Biblesoft)

The Origin of the Stolen Body Theory

Matt 28:1-15

1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.   3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." 

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. NIV

There were many stories circulated about Jesus—not all of them true.

Analysis of the Stolen Body Theory

1.     Jesus had often foretold his own death and resurrection. See Matthew 12:38-42; 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:31-32; 28:5-6; Luke 24:25-27; John 2:19; 10:17-21; 16:16; and many other passages in all four Gospels.

2.     There was no doubt that Jesus was thoroughly and completely dead. The Jews leaders, the Romans authorities and the disciples all agreed that Jesus was dead.

3.     Every precaution was taken to prevent the secret removal of his dead body. A Roman guard, usually consisting of sixty men, was stationed at the garden tomb for the express purpose of guarding the body of Jesus. The burial chamber was secured by a large stone and sealed.

4.     On Sunday, the third day since the crucifixion, the body of Jesus was missing from the tomb.

5.     The empty tomb shows that the resurrection was physical not just spiritual or symbolic.

6.     No one disputed that the tomb was empty. The high priests did not call the empty tomb into question.

7.     Instead, they devised a plan to explain the disappearance of the body. The high priests bribed the Roman soldiers to announce that Jesus was stolen while they slept on duty.  The high priests had shown themselves to be malicious, vicious, dishonest, liars. Their attempt to deceive the people concerning the resurrection was another lie. They knew the precautions they took to ensure against theft. They heard the testimony of the soldiers concerning the empty tomb. Instead, of accepting the obvious historicity of the resurrection—they collaborated to fabricate the story of the stolen body.

8.     The disciples were surprised to discover that Jesus was resurrected bodily from the garden tomb.

9.     The apostles were not smart enough to create the resurrection story. Why would they lie and agree together to fabricate such a difficult concept? There was no need in the Jewish worldview to deify a prophet. There was no precedent for a suffering and resurrected Messiah.

Jesus was dead. No one disputed that. The tomb was found empty on Sunday morning. No one disputed that. There were only two explanations for the empty tomb:

1.     The Bodily Resurrection

2.     The Bodily Removal

11 Reasons Why The Stolen Body Theory Is Fatally Flawed:

1.     The Roman guard was composed usually of 60 men. They were stationed at the tomb for the express purpose of preventing the body from being stolen.

2.     The punishment for sleeping while on duty in the Roman army was death.

3.     It was impossible that all 60 soldiers should fall asleep at the same time and expose themselves to the death penalty.

4.     If all the highly trained Roman guard were asleep, how could they know the body was stolen? How could they identify who stole the body? If all were asleep—how could they possibly know it was the disciples that stole the body?

5.     If the Jewish legal system really believed their own story they should have arrested the disciples and forced them to produce the body. In other words, if their own story were true about the stolen body, there should have been an all out investigation, arrests made and the body found. However, there was never any attempt to jail the apostles on theft charges and no body was ever found. If the Stolen Body Theory was true—they would not rest until the body was found. Torture the apostles, find the body and parade it through the streets of Jerusalem. Here’s the body—end of story. If their story were true the Roman guards would be put to death.

6.     The entire controversy would end if the body of Jesus were found and paraded through the streets of Jerusalem.

7.     The garden tomb of Joseph was a small area near the place of the skull. If all 60 guards were sleeping the disciples would have tripped over them on the way to the door. How did the disciples move the heavy stone and remove the body of Jesus without waking even one highly trained soldier?

8.     If the Roman guard was awake—how could the rag tag band of fisherman and commoners overpower them and steal the body?

9.     Why did they take the time to unwrap Jesus and leave the shroud neatly folded behind?

10. The disciples were few in number, unarmed, terrified and in hiding.  They had recently deserted Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Peter denied Christ three times. The disciples had no well thought out understanding of the crucifixion or the need for the resurrection. How could it be that in a just few short hours they devised a plan to steal the body from the Roman guard and create the miraculous story of the glorious resurrection of a divine Jesus? 

11. Picture the 11 at a board meeting busily poking their palm pilots planning and coordinating their things to do today lists. Picture the discussion among the apostles, “Let us overpower the Romans, steal the body, hide it perfectly, create a resurrection hoax, fearlessly preach the hoax in the temple courts in Jerusalem, start a world religion, be beaten, imprisoned and put to death.”

A CRIMINAL LIE

Supposedly, the real Jesus of history was just a wandering Jewish storyteller. Critics state that the church manufactured the mythological or biblical Jesus to help them during their tough times of persecution and suffering. However, the manufactured or so-called mythological Jesus was the source of their suffering. If the church were to construct a new Jesus that would help them—the old Jesus would do fine.

It would be a lie, a criminal lie to create such a false hope as the biblical Jesus. It would be a sinister deception to invent such a magnificent personality worthy of your life and often your death. Many thousands upon thousands of people have suffered and died for faith in the biblical Jesus. There need not be a suffering church except for the biblical Jesus. A suffering church would cease suffering for the secular Jewish cynic. However, the church did not suffer incredible persecution because their Jesus was a peasant poet. The church suffered torture and death because of faith in the biblical resurrected Jesus.

Why would the apostles or anyone else for that matter invent a Jesus that would only get them killed? Why not create a compatible Jesus or a milk toast Jesus just like the so-called historical Jesus of the Jesus Seminar.

If a new Jesus were to be created to help the persecuted church—the non-offensive, tolerant, egalitarian philosopher Jesus would be the better choice. It would be stupidity, incredible idiocy, to construct a Jesus that would prove to be your own death warrant. It was the dogged faith in the biblical Jesus that caused their suffering in the first place. Who would repent of their sins and live a virtuous life and suffer martyrdom for a dead cynic or make believe Savior? Why would a Gentile give up his life for a dead Jewish sage?

Whoever created the biblical Jesus sent thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people to a needless and useless grave. The cynic Jesus inspires no one. All the biblical Jesus did was get them imprisoned, tortured and killed. If the church needed to create a new Jesus that would help them in their suffering—the biblical Jesus was not the one. Why create a miraculous, resurrected, divine Jesus that would only increase their suffering? It would make more sense to stick with the Jewish cynic and repeat his pithy quips at your own dinner parties.

Supposedly, the church created the biblical Jesus to help them through tough times. Which church did this no one is sure. Was it the church in Corinth or the church in Antioch or Alexandria? How long did it take before the new Jesus became the universal Jesus? Yet, why was the church experiencing hard times?  It was due to faith in the biblical resurrected Jesus. The reason for their suffering was that they were followers of the biblical Jesus. If there were two competing Jesuses in the church—only the churches with the new mythologized Jesus would suffer.

The Roman persecution of Christians broke out under Nero in AD 64. Wouldn’t it make sense to revert back to the original so-called historical Jesus? Every Christian would know the so-called historical Jesus since the new mythological Jesus wasn’t popularized until Mark wrote his gospel in A.D. 60. Everyone would know that Mark’s Jesus was a myth. Why bother with the new Jesus when the result would mean torture and death? The so-called historical Jesus posed no threat to anyone.

Peter had 9 long months in the filthy stench of the Mamertine prison in Rome to rethink his part in inventing the biblical Jesus. It certainly didn’t help him. Peter would fare better by rejecting his own manmade mythological Jesus.

CONCLUSION

One reason Christianity sprang up so quickly in Jerusalem and spread so rapidly throughout the world is that the alternative story was so weak. Picture a local Jew thinking through the issues, Let me get this straight: You’re telling me the chief priests told the truth, the Roman guards fell asleep. The disciples courageously stole the body and hid it somewhere. Some Galilean fishermen made up the story of the resurrection.” It would take more faith to believe the miracle of the Stolen Body Theory than it would to believe the resurrection. Thousands and thousands and thousands upon thousands of Jews in Jerusalem believed the disciples story of the resurrection. The first Christian church was comprised only of Jews who believed in the OT prophecies, the messianic mission of Jesus and his glorious resurrection from the dead. Jewish synagogues were full of messianic Jews faithful the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Sanhedrin would never have accepted Gamalie's speech, recorded in Act 5, if the Stolen Body theory was considered even a remote possibility.

Acts 5:34-40

34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. NIV

Gamaliel's speech was an implied recognition that the resurrection of Jesus had occurred and was in fact the work of God. What should Gamaliel have said if the Stolen Body Theory were true? “Now that we have arrested the principle parties of the resurrection story let us flog them, find out where they hid body of Jesus and put an end to this new heresy.” Gamaliel did not believe the Stolen Body Theory. There was only one other alternative: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The bottom line: Leave these men alone. Their purpose and message is from God. You are fighting against God.

Someone was lying about the empty tomb. Both stories cannot be true at the same time. Jesus cannot have risen from the dead and not have risen from the dead. It cannot be said, “Whatever is good for you. That’s your truth.” The high priests have shown themselves to be dishonest men. Dishonest men will take dishonest measures to hide, twist and distort the truth. They must pretend to believe their own spin. With straight faces they promoted their lie for the masses. Yet, the Christian church began in Jerusalem among Jews that rejected the lies of the establishment and were willing to follow the resurrected glorious Christ. No thinking person believed that the body was stolen by the apostles.

The dead and resurrection of the promised Son was for the unlimited atonement of all the sins of the world.

Luke 24:24-49

44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." 

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." 

ALL HAVE SINNED

  • Only one God  has the power to forgive sin and that God is Jesus Christ.  Buddha cannot forgive sin, Krishna cannot forgive sin, and Mohammed cannot forgive sin. Jesus is the onlycure for sin.
  • The Word of God says that all have sinned. God is not a liar. We know we are not perfect.  Every one of us has done wrong things.  Only someone perfect can escape punishment.
  • This means that each and every one of us deserves to be punished. One small sin will take us to hell.
  • What can we do to be forgiven of our sins?  We must remove the penalty of sin from our souls.
  • How can we escape the penalty of hell?  Jesus Christ provides the way by his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.  This is why Jesus is so great.
  • Jesus Christ paid the perfect price for sin.  He is greater than all sin.  His death and resurrection were enough to remove the penalty for all sin for all people. The crucifixion was a triumph over the power of the devil.
  • God shows his love for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Jesus came to recover, redeem, save, and set free those captive to sin.We can be set free from the punishment of sin through Jesus Christ.
Luke 19:10 (NIV)

For  (the Son of Man) Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost."

Rom 5:8‑9 (NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!

  • How can we receive God’s freely given grace?
  • How can we be forgiven for our sins?
  • The Bible was written to show us the way to heaven.
  • If we can be set free from our evil deeds and evil words we can escape from the endless cycle of rebirths and have a positive future in the after life.
  • This message of Jesus is good news.  We cannot change the message.

INDIVIDUAL CHOICE

Acts 2:21 (NIV)

               And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

Rom 10:9‑13 (NIV)

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (forgiven).   For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile‑‑ the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

TESTIMONY

  • You must call upon the Lord yourself and invite him into your life. No one can do it for you.
  • Your mother cannot pray for you to receive Christ. Your friends cannot pray Christ into your life. The choice is yours to make and yours alone.
  • Each of us will stand before God and give an account for our actions.
  • The choice is to repent of sin and follow Jesus or to reject Jesus.
  • To receive Jesus as Lord and Savior means to turn away from evil, lies, idols, illegal drugs and the devil.
  • The choice is to enter into an agreement with God to obey God and then learn to master or overcome sin by following the teachings of the Bible.

Rom 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

OBEY GOD

John 14:23‑24 (NIV)

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

  • If you really love God, your life will change. You will be different.
  • Repentance means to leave sin and follow Jesus Christ.
  • We are called to seek righteousness or to do what is right in the sight of God.

NO OTHER GOD CAN FORGIVE SIN

John 14:6 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

You can accept the truth about Jesus or reject the truth – but you cannot change the truth to please yourself.

NOTHING ELSE CAN SAVE YOU

NOTHING MORE IS NEEDED TO SAVE YOU

Acts 2:38‑39 (NIV)

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off‑‑ for all whom the Lord our God will call."

  • The story of Jesus is not another myth.  The truth about Jesus is a message of hope for the world.
  • A church does not save you.
  • Good works do not save you.
  • Religion cannot save you.

Eph 2:8‑10 (NIV)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ‑‑ and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God‑‑not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Titus 3:4‑7 (NKJ)

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

NOTHING LESS CAN SAVE YOU

John 1:12‑14 (NKJ)

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

NO TURNING BACK

  • Jesus went all the way to the cross: not 0000 way.
  • There is a secret road that Jesus walked that leads directly to heaven. You can find that road.
  • But you must leave your bag of sin behind.