SO HOW DO YOU PROVE THE RESURRECTION HAPPENED? part 2

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is of utmost importance!
The apostle Paul said, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:14-19

If the resurrection did not happen, the apostles were liars, our faith is futile, we are still lost in our sins, the dead in Christ have simply perished, and everyone who has ever hoped in Christ is to be pitied above all men.  The resurrection of Jesus is important indeed.  Because of this,  it has been met with vehement opposition through the years.  Many alternative theories have been put forth to explain away the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These theories, however, simply do not hold water.

Here are the most common alternate theories given by critics:

1) Confusion — Perhaps the silliest argument of all is that the disciples went to the wrong tomb! Yes, some supposedly learned men have proposed this theory over the years. Yet, the Gospel accounts tell us that Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, both accompanied Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemas to the tomb and watched them prepare the body for burial (Matthew 27:57-61 and John 19:38-42). Are we to suppose that when the women returned they could not find their way? And even if they did get lost and looked in the wrong tomb, did Peter and John do the same thing? Did the Roman soldiers forget which tomb they were guarding? Did Joseph of Arimathea suddenly have a memory lapse as to where his tomb was located? And why didn’t the Jewish leaders simply go to the right tomb and produce the body? The answer is simple: the tomb was empty!

2) Theft — The oldest explanation of the empty tomb is the one the Jews made up and bribed the soldiers to tell namely, that the body of Jesus was stolen by His disciples. Yes, this explanation would have us believe that Peter, Andrew, James and John were body snatchers! Now wait a minute. Are we really to believe that a small rag-tag band of followers who were scared witless at the arrest of Jesus and who fled into the night to save their own skins, suddenly found the courage three days later to take on a guard of Roman soldiers? Even more significant, what would have been the motivation of the disciples to steal the body? We’re told over and over again in the Scriptures that they did not understand that Jesus was to be resurrected (Mark 9:30-32). Their behavior after the crucifixion testified to this as they sat around in despair mourning the loss of their leader. And yet, this very group suddenly came alive with hope and went forth boldly proclaiming the Resurrection at the risk of their lives. Are we really to believe that a group of frightened disciples could be transformed into a courageous band of fearless proclaimers by snatching a body, hiding it, and then committing their lives to a lie? That’s more difficult to believe than the Resurrection!

3) Hallucination — One of the popular modern day theories has been the idea that the disciples experienced a series of hallucinations. As one advocate of this novel concept has put it, “They experienced a disruption of the physio-chemical structures of the brain in such a way as to be able to see what they desperately wanted to see.” I will grant that Mary Magdalene might have had an hallucination. After all, she was a frightened and frustrated young woman wandering around in a cemetery at day break. As a matter of fact, the reaction of the disciples to her news of the empty tomb and her encounter with angels who informed her of the resurrection indicates that they thought she had been “seeing things” (Luke 24:11). But what about the appearance of Jesus to all the apostles on three different occasions, or His appearance to 500 believers on a Galilean mountain, or His ascension before a host of disciples? (1 Corinthians 15:5-7 and Acts 1:1-11) An hallucination is a highly subjective experience and a very personal one. Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. To believe that 500 people could have the same hallucination simultaneously takes more faith than a belief in the Resurrection! And furthermore, the hallucination theory does not explain the empty tomb.

4) Hypnosis — Another modern theory is that the disciples experienced mass hypnosis. The advocates of this idea argue that the disciples so desperately wanted Jesus to rise from the dead that they created an aura of auto-suggestion (or mental hypnosis) and thus, whenever the name of Jesus was mentioned, His disciples believed they could see Him. Now, mass hypnosis is a probability, with even as many as 500 people, given precisely the right type of controlled environment and the proper mass medium like radio, television, or film. But mass hypnosis without some form of mass media, and without a professional hypnotist, and without ideal conditions, is utterly outside the realm of sound reasoning. So, I ask you, how could 500 people in the open air of a country side, before the invention of mass media, and before the discovery of hypnosis, be subject to mass hypnosis? And how does this explain the fact of the empty tomb? I think it’s obvious that the skeptics are grasping at straws.

5) Fainting — This leaves us with a centuries old theory that has recently been popularized by an apostate Christian named Hugh Sconfield. It’s called the “swoon theory.” This is the idea that Jesus really didn’t die on the cross. Instead, He just passed out and then woke up three days later. Sconfield has revived this idea in his book called The Passover Plot. Mr. Sconfield would ask us to believe that after Jesus was scourged and crucified, and after He had laid in a cold, damp tomb for three days without food or water, He suddenly revived, removed His burial wrappings, rolled back the stone, and ran around the country side for 40 days without the benefit of even a dose of penicillin or a tetanus shot. Only a fool could believe such utter nonsense!

Believe in Jesus….Believe in the power of His resurrection!

Until next time…