We are continuing today to think about the resurrection of Jesus. People come up with all kinds of reasons as to why they won’t believe, but for every skeptic who will reasonably think through the evidence, God has covered all the bases. Some say the following:
1) Jesus didn’t die. He just swooned on the cross, and later in the tomb, he revived and left the tomb. Answer: We have evidence from the Roman soldiers who made sure that Jesus was dead by thrusting a spear into his side (John 19:33-35). Out of Christ's body came a “sudden flow of blood and water.” We know this to be medical evidence of death. The chances that His wounds could have healed up in the tomb to the point where he could remove a one-ton stone outside and then walk the seven miles to Emmaus that afternoon is remote, even if He could have gotten past the guards. That's without the evidence of the Roman spear thrust into His side (John 19:34). Also, if He had survived the cross, the three days in the cold tomb with the loss of blood and no food and water would have killed him. Remember that Peter had warmed himself by the fire in the courtyard of Caiaphas the night before the death of Christ (Luke 22:55), thus revealing that it was cold in Jerusalem.
2) Animals got into the tomb and ate the body. Answer: The stone was sealed and very heavy. They would not have gotten past the guards; plus, Peter and John saw the grave clothes putting away that theory.
3) The guards and the women came to the wrong tomb. Answer: The women had followed Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea to the gravesite and watched Him being buried. It was also near to the crucifixion site, a place where everyone knew. The Roman soldiers were not known to get such things wrong, especially as their lives depended on not losing their charge.
4) The disciples stole the body and perpetuated the myth that Jesus was raised from the dead. Answer: The apostles had fled in the Garden of Gethsemane and were discouraged after His death. It doesn’t seem possible that they would deliberately confront the Roman soldiers and steal Jesus’ body. Peter lost his courage to the point where he had disowned his Master. How could these frightened men have taken on the fierce and well-trained Roman soldiers? It could not have happened while the Roman soldiers slept, either, for the noise of rolling back that huge stone would have awakened them all. There was also the fact that the soldiers knew they would lose their lives if they lost the body they were guarding. The disciples would not have been ready to be martyred and give their lives for something they knew to be a myth.
5) The High Priest and leaders or even grave robbers stole the body. Answer: When the disciples started preaching that Jesus was alive, it would have been the perfect time for the Jewish leaders to show all the people the dead body, but they couldn’t because they didn’t have it. Grave robbers would not have taken the time to set up the grave clothes in such a way that would make John believe. The guards protected the tomb so that they could stop such things from happening.
6) The disciples of Jesus imagined it all. Answer: The empty tomb stands in silent witness to the fact that this was nobody’s imagination. The 500 disciples to whom He appeared at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6) and all the disciples with whom He had eaten in the upper room and by the Sea of Galilee saw Him. We can also think of the courage of Peter the Apostle to preach to several thousand on the Day of Pentecost. Could he have done it if it was all imagination? Most of the apostles died for their faith, and no opposition could muzzle them. It doesn’t seem possible to die for something that you know is a hoax or imagination.
The only conclusion based on the evidence is that God has raised Christ from the dead, and that He is alive forever and overcome death and won eternal life for all who place their trust in Him. The resurrection is not a myth; it is a fact of history. Keith Thomas
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Taken from the study in Luke’s Gospel. Study 64. The Resurrection of Christ