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  • Dan Arsenault

The Resurrection of Jesus

The vast majority of historians agree on the following list of facts concerning Jesus of Nazareth:

1. He was a 1st century Jewish Rabbi, who claimed to be the Messiah of Israel and the Son of

God.

2. He was crucified under the rule of Pontius Pilate.

3. According to Jewish law, he was buried before nightfall on the day of his death (Deut.

21:22-23). Even his enemies among the Jewish leadership would have wanted to obey this

Old Testament law.

4. His tomb was found to be empty.

5. His disciples would not have stolen his body for three reasons:

a. There was a Roman guard protecting the tomb.

b. Jewish law required a full year before the bones could be removed to a family

“ossuary.”

c. His Jewish disciples had no concept of a dying and rising Messiah.

6. A contrived resurrection story would never have women as the first eyewitnesses.

The testimony of women was considered worthless in 1st century Palestine.

7. His enemies could have, if possible, simply produced the dead body of Jesus. The

Christian movement would have been stopped before it started.

8. The consensus of ancient and modern historians is that his disciples actually

believed that God had raised Jesus from the dead. They were martyred rather than

deny what they knew as eyewitnesses to be true.

Every theory that attempts to explain these agreed upon facts without a miraculous resurrection fails. The New Testament gives two reasons for the resurrection of Jesus:

a. The resurrection vindicates Jesus’ claims of Deity (Romans 1:4)

b. Because the death of Jesus is the payment of our moral debt, his resurrection

declares that debt to be paid in full (Romans 4:25).

If one believes miracles to be impossible, some other explanation of the facts is necessary. If God exists, the best explanation is the one given by the eyewitnesses. Liars make poor martyrs.

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