He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Last updated 4/26/2019 at 9:12am
The most important historical event for Christianity is Jesus rising from the dead. Over the years many skeptics have tried to explain away the resurrection. Why? Because Jesus rising from the dead is the proof that He is who He claimed to be (God in the flesh) and that He can do what He said He would do (grant us forgiveness of sins and eternal life). If Jesus did not rise from the dead then He was a liar and a false teacher, prophet, and messiah.
The problem the skeptics have is, everyone acknowledges that the tomb was empty come Sunday morning. No one to my knowledge has ever refuted the empty tomb. So the question is: What happened to Jesus’ body? The three main possibilities are: 1) He didn’t die, but passed out, revived in the tomb and escaped. 2) The disciples (or someone) stole His body and claimed He was alive. 3) He actually did rise from the dead.
The Apostle Paul went so far as to say it this way: And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 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…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also 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. (1 Corinthians 15:14–19, NIV84)
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA, responds to one of the biggest skeptics claims in the following article: Could Jesus Have Survived the Crucifixion?
The swoon theory is one of Satan’s oldest lies concerning the Resurrection. This theory proposes that Jesus did not rise from the dead, because He never really died. Instead, Jesus went into a deep coma or “swoon” from the severe pain and trauma of the Crucifixion. Then, in the cool atmosphere of the tomb, Christ revived, somehow escaped the strips of cloths that were wrapped tightly upon Him, and then appeared to His disciples.
The swoon theory flies in the face of the facts. You see, the Roman guards were experts at execution and would be put to death if they allowed a condemned man, like Christ, to escape death. The guards were certain Jesus was dead, because when they thrust a spear into His side, it brought forth blood and water. This was their final proof of His death because this occurs when the heart stops beating.
Some time ago I read a local advice column that featured a reader’s question about the Resurrection. The reader asked, “Dear Uticus, Our preacher said that Jesus swooned on the cross and then His disciples nursed Him to health. What do you think? Signed, Bewildered.” Uticus responded, “Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-o’-nine-tails thirty-nine times. Nail him to a cross. Hang him in the sun for six hours. Run a spear through his side, embalm him, and put him in an airless tomb for thirty-six hours and see what happens. Sincerely, Uticus.”
Uticus’ response points to the ridiculousness of the swoon theory. Amazingly enough, people still subscribe to this theory. Not because it’s plausible. Not because it’s logical, but because it’s something to hang their doubt on. The truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ has risen!
There are many other skeptic’s claims to the resurrection, but unfortunately I do not have space to discuss any of the others at this time.
I encourage everyone, if you haven’t been to church in awhile, come join one of the churches for Easter Sunday as we celebrate the risen Christ. OCMA is also hosting a sunrise service at 6 a.m. at the cemetery with a breakfast hosted by Christ Lutheran, immediately following. Let’s give thanks to God for His wondrous gift to mankind, Jesus, the risen Lord! Hallelujah! Christ arose!