Speaking of Faith: Did the Resurrection Really Happen?

By  Jonathan Fisk
It’s kind of an important question. I mean, if the resurrection didn’t happen, what on earth are we Christians doing? It’s not like it’s gaining us any power or money or anything. But if the resurrection did happen, then why is it that so many people in the world don’t believe it?

1. Jesus was a real human.

Even without the Bible, modern scholars have to admit that there was a Jewish man named Jesus who lived in the first century. Non-biblical writings like Flavius Josephus, Mara Bar-Serapion and the Jewish Talmud all mention Him as a real, historical figure.

2. The real human Jesus died by crucifixion and was buried.

In the same way, some of these extra-biblical texts mention that Jesus was killed. They don’t go into detail, but only an ignorant person who gets all their information from internet forums will try to tell you that the real Jesus didn’t die, and wasn’t even buried.

3. This Jesus had real followers who took his death very hard.

At this point, we have to start trusting the books of the Bible as eyewitness accounts. We don’t have to believe they are true. We just have to trust that they tell us what the people who wrote them actually thought. That’s what we do with every historical document about any piece of history, at least, until we find other history that tells us something different. So the guy who wrote John’s Gospel around 90 AD also claims he followed this real guy Jesus, and believed He was the Savior of the world before He was murdered, watched Him die, and then fell into despair.

4. Jesus’ tomb was found empty three days later.

Next, the followers of Jesus who despaired after His death also tell us that they stopped despairing because He appeared to them as risen. But not just to them. Extra-biblical sources from Roman historians tell us that after Jesus was killed, “a most mischievous superstition...again broke out.” Yet another document, traced to Jewish sources, tells of a gardener named Juda who stole Jesus’ body. When you put all of these pieces of history together, and combine it with the fact that Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection all started within walking distance of His tomb, there is only one reasonable historical answer: Somehow, some way, that tomb was empty.

5. The disciples stopped despairing and started preaching, even though it meant their own deaths.

Both biblical and extra-biblical documents tell us that Christianity came from the meeting together of these followers, in order to worship their leader “Christ” and listen to his teachings. Rather than give this up, the same disciples who once fled, willingly faced gruesome and painful deaths.

6. Antagonists converted.

James, Jesus’ brother by blood, and Saul, a man who made a business of killing Christians, were among these converts. More so, Saul’s own writings claim his reason for conversion was a face-to-face meeting with the risen Jesus.

7. This is the event upon which Christianity is founded.
 

Christianity is not direct proof that Jesus rose, but it is proof that people who knew Jesus personally before His death believed that He rose.

8. Christianity was founded in Jerusalem.

No one in the town where all this was happening could present the dead body so as to put a stop to it. Instead, the “stolen body theory” is preached even by the first skeptics.

9. They worshiped on Sunday.

These new Christians, a bunch of Jews (whose religion insists they worship on Saturday) start worshiping on Sunday, because Sunday is the day when they believe the resurrection happened.

10. Do the math.

The challenge for the non-Christian or the skeptic (which they are usually unwilling to take up) is to find an alternative historical explanation for where this Christianity came from which also fits all of these simple, documented facts. What could make orthodox Jews change their most sacred rituals, and go to the ends of the earth to tell others about it even though it only gets them killed? They say it was because they themselves saw this man risen from the dead. On top of this, the tomb was clearly empty and the man was nowhere to be found. So, what other explanation for all the facts can you come up with?

Over the last several hundred years many skeptics have tried to debunk the resurrection. There’s the hallucination theory, and the swoon theory, and that good ol’ stolen body theory. But none of those theories explain all of the above facts. You can’t steal a swooned body that gets up and walks away. Separate groups of people don’t experience the same hallucination. A Jesus who needed to be taken to the hospital would hardly have convinced terrified disciples to go out and die for him.

The simple reality is that there is only one explanation of the evidence that fits all the facts. It might be unbelievable, but it is anything but unreasonable. So put it in your pocket for the next time a skeptic attacks you with his claims that you are ignorant. Ask him how he explains what Tacitus says. Ask him why the Talmud called Jesus a sorcerer. Ask him to explain all the historical facts. Then, when he won’t (since he can’t), feel free to go right on believing the truth: that the resurrection did happen. Not only is it the best explanation for all of the real historical evidence, it also happens to be what the Bible says was God’s plan for the precise purpose of saving you.

Rev. Jonathan Fisk is the senior administrative pastor at Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Rockford Illinois, as well as a podcaster and author.  
This article was originally published in the Spring 2012 issue of Higher Things Magazine.

Related Posts

Recent

Archive

 2021
 January
Reflections: January 1, 2021This Just In: The Ultimate ResolutionReflections: January 2, 2021Reflections: January 3, 2021Reflections: January 4, 2021Video Short: January 5, 2021Video Short: January 4, 2021Reflections: January 5, 2021Reflections: January 6, 2021Video Short: January 6, 2021Under the Cross: Don't Look at the ListReflections: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 8, 2021Reflections: January 8, 2021Dean's List: The Catechism Really Is for YouReflections: January 9, 2021Reflections: January 10, 2021Reflections: January 11, 2021Video Short: January 11, 2021Helpful Things: Fundraising Essentials FOR YOUReflections: January 13, 2021Video Short: January 12, 2021Reflections: January 12, 2021Video Short: January 13, 2021Reflections: January 14, 2021Video Short: January 14, 2021Under the Cross: You Don't Belong to This WorldReflections: January 15, 2021Video Short: January 15, 2021Reflections: January 16, 2021Reflections: January 17, 2021Reflections: January 18, 2021Video Short: January 18, 2021This Just In: Martin Luther King, Jr.--The Man Who Had a DreamReflections: January 19, 2021Video Short: January 19, 2021Dead Christians You Should Know About: Saint SebastianReflections: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 22, 2021Reflections: January 23, 2021Video Short: January 22, 2021Dean's List: Jesus Hits the Spot!Reflections: January 24, 2021Reflections: January 25, 2021Reflections: January 26, 2021Video Short: The Conversion of St. PaulHelpful Things: Effective Fundraising Through Midweek MealsVideo Short: Suffering Doesn't Mean God Doesn't Love YouReflections: January 27, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday: Karma, Karma, KarmaVideo Short: Abortion and the Church's WorkReflections: January 28, 2021Reflections: January 29, 2021Video Short: What Goes On In Your Pastor's Mind About Closed CommunionFoundations: You Need Your Pastor More Than EverReflections: January 30, 2021Reflections: January 31, 2021

Categories

Tags

1 Cor 11 1 John 10th Commandment 1525 1Tim 2 2000 2002 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021AD 20th birthday 2nd Adam Jesus 2nd Commandment 3rd Article 3rd commandment 3rd day of wedding 40 days 4th commandment 5th Commandment 8th Commandment 9/11 95 Thesis 9th commandment Abraham Absolution Acts 1 Acts 9 Acts Adam Adiaphora Advent Age of Accountability Albrecht Peters All Hallows Eve Alpha and Omega Ambrose Amen-I beleve Amen American Andrew Anointed One Apology Apostles Creed Apostles' Creed Areopagus Ascension Day Athens Augsburg Augustian monk Augustine Babylonians Bach Baker Bamsch Barabbas Beatitudes Beginning and End Benediction Benedictus Best Friend Jesus Bethany Bethel Bethesda Bethlehem Bible study Boaz Bondage of the Will Book of Life Book of Mormon Book of Prayer Bread of Life Buddha C.S. Lewis CDC COVID-19 COVID Caesar Calling Calvary Canaanite woman Canaan Capernaum Castillero Catholic Cath Changed form Chestfeeding Chief Sheperd Chief Shepherd Christ Jesus Christ crucified Christ death Christ fills repentance Christ raised Christ righteousness Christ the King Christ's precious blood Christ\'s precious blood Christ\\\'s precious blood Christ\\\\\\\'s precious blood Christian Church Christian Science Christological Christology Church Communion Compline Concordia Constantine Coram Deo Corinthians Corrow Creator Creeds Cross of Christ Cross of Jesus DCYSKNA DNA Daniel Dan Dare to be Lutheran Date to Be Lutheran David's decendant David\'s decendant David\\\'s decendant David Dawkins Deborah Diet of Worms Divergent Divine Service Dorothy Sayers Dr Seuss Drosendahl Dying to Live Earth Day Eastern Sages/Gentiles Ecclesiastes Eden Ehrhard Eighth Commandment Elijah Elisha Elvis Emmanuel Enlightenment Ephesians 2 Ephesians 3 Ephrath Epiphany=Gentile Christmas Esau Espinosa Eternal Son Eucharist Evening Prayer Eve Eyes on Jesus Ezekiel Ezkiel Father Fenker Fibbing Fifth Commandment First Article First Commandment Fisk Flood Following the Star Formula of Concord Fourth Commandment Fourth Petition France Frederick Friedich Wyneken Friend of Sinners From Above Ft Wayne seminary Gabriel Garden Gen Z Genesis Germany German Gideon Gifts of God Given God Helps God forgives sin God hides himself God of grace God of mercy God on the cross God saves losers God saves God the Father God who saves God works good from evil God-man God's Church God's I will God's Law God's Word God's justice God's kingdon God's nos create trust God's plan God's sight God's will God's wisdom God's work God\'s I will God\'s Law God\'s Word God\'s justice God\'s kingdon God\'s plan God\'s sight God\'s will God\'s wisdom God\'s work God\\\'s I will God\\\'s Law God\\\'s Word God\\\'s justice God\\\'s kingdon God\\\'s plan God\\\'s sight God\\\'s wisdom God\\\'s work God\\\\\\\'s Law God\\\\\\\'s Word God\\\\\\\'s kingdon God\\\\\\\'s wisdom God\\\\\\\'s work God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Word God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s wisdom God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s work God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s work God Gof's glory Gof\'s glory Gof\\\'s glory Gof\\\\\\\'s glory Golgotha Goliath Good Friday Good News Good Sheperd Goodman Goodness of the Lord Gospel = forgiveness Gospel requires hearing Grace Greeks Greek Hagar Halloween Han Solo Happy Lent Haughty Heavenly Father Hebrews Hebrew Here I Stand Hiding Place Hill His Name Hogwarts Hokana Holly Innocents Holocaust Holy Baptism Holy Communion Holy Land Holy Sacrement Holy Saturday Holy Week Holy name Hosanna Hull I am Immanuel Independence Indulgences Isaac Isaiah 66 Isaiah Islam Jacoby Jacob Jeremiah Jesus juatifies the ungodly Jesus Christ Jesus body Jesus calls Jesus died Jesus fixed sin Jesus forgives Jesus is Lord Jesus is Truth Jesus is Yaweh Jesus is future Jesus is present Jesus is the suwwer Jesus is true God Jesus is true man Jesus is with us Jesus lived Jesus on the Cross Jesus os past Jesus peace Jesus reveals God Jesus rose Jesus saves Jesus shines like the sun Jesus suffering Jesus the Crucified Jesus the Sent One Jesus took God's anger Jesus took God\'s anger Jesus took God\\\'s anger Jesus took all sins Jesus travels to sinners Jesus washing feet Jesus-access tot he Father Jesus" peace Jesus' baptism Jesus' love Jesus' will Jesus\" peace Jesus\' baptism Jesus\\\" peace Jesus\\\\\\\" peace Jews and gentiles Joanna John 12 John 6 John the Baptist Johnson John Jonah Joseph Smith Josephus Joseph Joshua Joy/suffering Jubilate Judah Judgment Day Judica Sunday Karma=get what you give Keith Kenobi Kieselowsky King Solomon King of Kings Kingdom of God Klages Kosche LGBTQ Laban Lamb of God Lamb Lamentations Lamg of God Last Day Law requires doing Law shows sin Lazarus Leah Lent Levi Life or death Lincoln Lord's Prayer Lord's Supper Lord\'s Prayer Lord\'s Supper Lord\\\'s Prayer Lord\\\'s Supper Lords's Prayer Lords\'s Prayer Lords\\\'s Prayer Lord Loss Luke 11 Luke 17 Luke 18 Luke 1 Luther Lydia Maggie Karner Magnificat Maiwald Making Waves Margery Kempe Mark 7 Mark 8 Marr 3 Martha Martin Luther Mary Mass Master Matt 13 Matt 20 Matt 3 Matt 6 Matthew 2 Matthew Matthias replaces Judas Matthias Maundy Thursday McCrorey McKenna Melanchthon Memorial Day Messiah Micah 7 Micah Middle East Monica Mormonism Mormon Mother of God Mt Zion Muhammad Muhlenberg Muslims Myers Nagel Nazareth New Testament New Year Nicene Nicodemus Nunes Office of Ministry Old Testament One tru God Ostapowich Palmarum Paradise Passion time Passover Paul/greatest apostle Pauls Peperkorn Person of Jesus Peter's confession Peter\'s confession Pharaoh Pharisees Pharoah Philip Philistines Phillip and James Phillip Phoebe Pierson Pilate Polycarp Pontius Pilate Populus Zion Potiphar Pray ye Preus Proverbs 31 Psalm 13 Psalm 25 Psalm 43 Psalm 51 Rachel Rahab Rebekah Redeemer Reuben Revelation Riley Risen Lord Rogate Roman persecution Romans 1 Romans 3 Romans 4 Romans 5 Romans Rosebrough Ruth Sabbath Salome Sanchez Sanctus Sarah Saul/greatest preseutor Savior of all Savior Schools shouln't lead prayer Schuldheisz Sebastian Second Article Seed Septuagesima Shakespeare Simeon Simon Sin-Bearer Singing Sinner team becomes Jesus' team Sinner team becomes Jesus\' team Sixth Commandment Sletten Smalcald Sodom Son of David Son of God Son of Mam Son of Man Son of the Living God Sons of God Son Spirit of God St Patrick St. Joseph St. Matthias St. Paul Staupitz Supper Table of Duties Te Deum Ten Commandments The Feast The Son of God Theotokos Third Article Timothy Titus Tolkien Transfiguation Transfiquration Tree of Cross Tree of Knowledge Tree of Life Twelve UFO Valentine Vieker Visitation Weedon Winter Wittenberg Woelmer Word and Sacraments Word and Sacrement Word of Christ Word of God Word Yaweh Zachariah Zacharias "Not" "you are god" \"you are god\" \\\"you are god\\\" abortion is evil abortion abram absolve abuse academic acceptable sacrifice active ad te levavi adultery adults advice affirmation agape agnostic alcoholic aliens all have sinned all powerful almighty altar guild altar always anabaptists angel anger animal anna anouthen answering prayers answer anti-christian antinomian antioch antiphonal antithetical to Christianity anxiety apocalypse apologetic apostle appearances appearance archaeology archangels ark armed forces artist ascension athanasian atheism atheist atonement augustana authority awake babylon baby baggage banquet baptismal grace baptism baptized baptizing barnabas barren bartholomew beginning being made holy belief believes believing is recieving benjamin best construction betray between you bible bigot birth of Jesus birthright blessing blind blood boast body and blood body bonhoeffer borghardt born again bound will brandt bread breakup bride of Christ bridegroom bride brother buetow burial cain calendar cancel culture cancelling the past cancer candle casket catechesis catechism catechize celebration centurion chant character of God chastity child abuse children of promise children choir chosen christianity christmas christ circumcision clean clergy clerical cling coin college colossians combat comfort commandment command compassion concupiscence condemn conferences confession of Trinity confession of fITH confessions confession confess confirmation connection conscience conspiracy theory context conversion cookie cornerstone corrupting sin council counselor covenant coveting covet creation creed critical theory cross crown crucifiction crucified crucifix cry culture shock culture cupid curb/guide/rule curb current events curse cwirla daily bread danger darkness dating de-platform deadly sin dead dean death debt cancelled debt decrease defeat delivered demon depression descriptive vs prescriptive destroy devil disappointment disaster disciples discipline dishonesty dispair disposition of delight disruption diversity divorce doctrine dogma domestic violence donations donkey door doubts doubt doxology dream drew driven by the Spirit drugs earthquake easter ecclesiastical egypt election elizabeth embarrassment emotions empty tomb encourager encourgement endure enemy engineering enlightened enlivening entertainment envy epiphany epistle equality equal equity escped forced idolitry estates eternal life for us eternal life evangelism evangelist evil evolution examine example excuses exercise love exhalted exhortation exiles exile extra nos extra-biblical eyewitness failure faith alone faith in Jesus faithful faith fall false gods false preachers false teachers family famine fasting fate father's house father\'s house father\\\'s house father\\\\\\\'s house fear feast feelings fellowship of believers female feminism fiery serpent filial fear fire firstfruits flesh flowers font foolish for you forerunner foretaste forgiven in Christ forgiveness forgiven forgive fornication forsaken fortress fraud free gift free will freedom frees us freshman friendship from scripture fulfilles fulfillment full pardon funeral fun future games gaudete gay gender inclusive gender geneology generations generosity genetics genetic genocide gentiles gerhardt gift of justification gift girlfriend given not earned glory of God glory gnosticism goats godliness godly husband golden rule golf good gifts good samaritan good works good work good gospel gossiping government grace repents us gracious gratitude great commission grief groom guarded tomb guardian guard guest guide guilt by association guilt habitual sins hannah happiness harm to win hatred have mercy healing hearing/listening heart hear heaven heinz heirs hell heresy herod high priest high school history holiday holiness holy spirit holy trinity holy homosexuality honor parents honor hope against hope hopelessness hope hostility house of israel humble humblw glory humility hurt husband hymnal hymn hypocrisy hypocrites iPad identity idol worship image imitate impossible improved imputed in Jesus incarnation inconsistant standards increase inheritance instigating faith institution internet interpretation introit invitation isolation israel issues james jerome jerusalem jesus jewish job joyful joy judas jude judge Jesus judge me judgement judge justice justification justify justin martyr kantor karma keep keseman keys kill kind kingdom king knowledge kohlmeier kuhlman lange language large catechism latin laugh law leaven lectionary legacy lemon lepers lept lex credendi lex orendi life-changing life lightning light lion listen liturgical liturgy live doubt live living bread living water lonely lords prayer lords supper lost sheep lost love your neighbor love-Christ on cross love lowly lust lutheran madden magicians magisterial magruder manger manifestation manipulative manna marked as redeemed marriage martyrs martyr mary magdalene mary/faith masks meals means of grace means measures measure mediator mental health merciful mercy and grace mercy metaphor microagression mietzner millennium miracles miracle missionary modernism money moses mountains movement murder musician myth name narrow door nation nature nebuchadnezzar need Jesus negative neighbor net of sin new command new creation new in Christ new life newborns news noah not blesses not condemned obey offering old Adam on our knees on the knees onesimus orders ordinary ordination organ orgiven original sin orthodox our neighbors body overseer pagan pandemic papacy parable of sower parable paraments parents represent God parents teach religion parents party passive pastors pastor patience patriarch paul payed the debt payment peace peers pentecost people perpetual forgiveness persecution person peter pharasies' bribes pharisee philemon philosophy physical touch place or vacation plagues plan plenary pope possible post-Christian postmodern poverty praise pray for leaders prayers prayer praying pray pre-Lent=prepare pre-emptive restraint preaching preach prepare for Calvary pride priesthood proclaim prodigal promises promise prophecy prophet psalms psalm punish purchased and won purity quarantine racism raised ram ransom rape rapture real presence reality reason rebel reconcile reconciliation redeemed sinners redemption reflection reformation refuge regenerated rejoice rejouce relationship relativism religion religious remember loving kindness renewal of faith repent now repentance repent resolutions restoration rest resurrection reverence with joy richard rich righteousness riots risen road to Damascus rock rorate coeli rule sacraments sacrament sacrement delivers Calvary sacrements sacrifice of presentation sacrifice safety saints saint salvation samaritan sanctification sanctified satan satis est saul saved by grace saved save scapegoat scholarship school science scripture seek God's salvation seek God\'s salvation seek God\\\'s salvation segregation self-centered self-esteem self-justify self-worth selfish human desire selfishness seraphim sermon servant serve ou neighbor served without fanfare service project servile fear set apart sexual sex shaltanis shame shepherd shield showed glory sick silas simul sinners sinner sins sin skeptic slavery small catechism social media shunning sojouner sola fide sola gratia sola soldiers sophia sorrow sorry enough soul soup supper speeding spiritual drink spiritual spirit star state steal stephen stewardship steward stottlemyer strength stress strong subjective suffer for...my name suffer/die/rise again suffering suicide is forgiven suicide support single mothers symbol synagogue tabernacle tax collectors teaching teach technology temple temptation tempted tenderness tertullian tetelestai the Christ the Church the Cross the Word theology things of God thomas throne through faith tomb tongues trinity triune God triune trust in God trust truth unbelief undeserved favor unforgiveable unity universal changing event universalism universe university unrighteousness unwoke veil vestments victim victoory victory video virgin virtue vocation voice war washed watermarked water weakness weak wealth wedding weeping wept widow will of God wine for wedding wisdom wise witness woke=aware of social justice wokeism=American civil religion woke works world's religion is transactional world worship wrath yahweh youth ministry youth zechariah zion zombie