Is it intellectually feasible that dead people can come back to life?  Or, do you have to throw your brains in the trash can to believe this?  We need good intellectual answers for hard intellectual questions.  Is there evidence to support a faith in the Jesus of the Bible, a Jesus who claims to be God, a Jesus who claims to be the giver of Life and the source of absolute Truth?  All our answers must start with one foundation.  If this foundation is true, great!  If it is not, then everything we believe as Christians is a hoax. That foundation is the resurrection of Christ Jesus.  Even the Apostle Paul said, “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And, if Christ has not been raised, your faith is not bad, it is FUTILE and you are STILL in your sins (emphasis mine).  Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ we are to be pitied more than all men.”  Boy, those are tough words.  If Christ was not resurrected we are lost and without hope.  Praise God, we are not lost nor without hope because Christ WAS resurrected!

There are seven reasons why the literal resurrection of Jesus is true. We will go over 4 of those reasons in this part.

1.  The historicity of Jesus of Nazareth is airtight.  Did He really exist?  Or, is He a myth or legend? Did He literally and historically live on this planet? Biblical manuscripts overwhelmingly demonstrate that He actually lived. Also, manuscripts in antiquity (such as Homer, Plato, Shakespeare) also demonstrate that He was a living, breathing, human being.  Often we may have only half a dozen to a dozen manuscripts to give evidence that what Plato (for example) said was really from Plato. Twenty manuscripts would be considered huge!  In the New Testament, we have 5,000 First century manuscripts! Not only do Biblical scholars treat those manuscripts as historical documents but there are many extra-Biblical sources.  A Jewish historian named Josephus has written alot of information about Jesus.  Also, Pleny the Roman historian has written information about Jesus.  So we have non-Biblical sources as well as Biblical sources that say Jesus was a man who actually lived. We also have archaeological confirmation.  Many times in the New Testament, Jesus would refer to governing peoples by name, mention an inscription on a coin, or talk about a specific census taken in Bethlehem at the time of His birth.  In the last 30 years, these fact have all been validated by archaeological evidence.

2.  The character of Jesus is unquestioned by friend and foe alike.  He was a great man, the leading moral teacher ever to live.  Even Islam holds Him in high regard.  Ghandi called Him a hero.  Even in the new age of today, we have the “Christ Consciousness.”  This character came from a literal man who lived a literal life (John 8:46) who claimed to be sinless.  No one ever accused Him of sinning.  All of history changed centered around the character of this man called Jesus.

3.  The works of Jesus went unchallenged. Did He do what He said He did?  Feeding 5,000 people, raising people from the dead, lame men walking, blind men seeing – is this the stuff of myth and legend?  The facts of His miracles were never disputed by His foes.  His no. 1 archenemy, the established Jewish religion, never said that He was lying about the miracles He had performed.  In fact, they witnessed many of them!  For 3 years and thousands of eyewitnesses, the only thing they could come up with was that He did the miracles BUT by the power of Beelzebub!  They never questioned the validity, they only questioned the source.

4.  The identity of Jesus was confirmed. Who did Jesus claim to be?  Jesus confirmed who He was in in John 14:6 when He said “I am the Truth, the Life, the Way.”  He claimed to be God.  He also said, “If you have seen Me then you have seen the Father.”  His identity was confirmed by God the Father in Mark 9:7 where God spake, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.”  His identity was confirmed by the disciples in Mark 8. “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”  It was even confirmed by His enemies in John 10 where they say, “That is blasphemy because you make yourself out to be God.”  Jesus also fulfilled over 700 Old Testament prophecies.  Isaiah said that He would be born of a virgin, He was.  Micah said the He would be born in Bethlehem, He was.  Zechariah said He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, He did.  Psalm 22 predicted how the Messiah would die, yet crucifixion was not invented or used by the Roman government for another 200 years after Psalms 22 was written.

Closing Thoughts

According to scripture, the Apostle Paul said if Jesus was not resurrected, our faith basically does not hold water.  We are living in a world where people want us to feel like we are anti-intellectual – not thinking people if we believe .  However, just the opposite is true.  We need to be able to think our way through the resurrection.  We need to be able to understand and lovingly articulate our faith.

This study is taken from “Why I Believe” by Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram

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