Kohima Bible College
2000 years have flown by. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ still remains a mystery to many. For Christians, the Resurrection isconsidered anultimate event fortheir hope and faith in Christ. It is the Resurrection that gives assurance of their future glorification. But for other religions, as opposed to Christianity, Resurrection of the death doesn’t play a major key in defining their beliefs.
There are too many misconstrued ideas relating to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. For Islam, they sustain that Jesus only appeared to have been crucifiedand killed in the eyes of the followers of Jesus. He was not really crucified or killed. Therefore, the idea of Resurrection is absent. For Judaism, they are of the view that Jesus’ body was stolen by the disciples (Matthew 28:13). For the Gnostics, they do not believe in a literal physical resurrection as they view flesh or substance evil and corrupt. Sofor them, the resurrection can only happen to the soul.
Now it is interesting to note that the early disciples of Jesus Christ were also not very certain about this glorious triumph until they saw the real Jesus with bruised, pierced hands and legs. The description of the Resurrected Christ is mainly affirmed in the four gospels of the New Testament Bible. Thereby, many doubt the authenticity of the gospel writers that they could’ve written it with the idea to propagate a forged risen Saviour. But reading through the accounts of the gospel, it is very plain that the gospel scribes have written it scrupulously of how it actually happened. Now, if the Resurrection was a myth and the followers of Jesus were trying to come up with a cover-up embellished story. The gospel description would have been much dissimilar. Here’s why:
Roman Crucifixion: Crucifixion by the Romans was the worst kind of punishment for the insurrectionists and criminals. It was the most gruesome form of capital punishment. The Jews considered the Crucifixion an anathema. The detail of excruciating pain and distress felt by the criminals during the process of being crucified was known to all in the first century and so the gospel writers didn’t give a full depiction of how it happened. Now, for any gospel writer to invent a story of a Divine Messiah dying on the cross would connote too dramatic and questionable for people to believe. But that is exactly how the Gospel presented, Christ Crucified.
Pilate’s reaction: Mark 15:44 says that Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. Death in a few hours was rare and Eusebius, the Church historian says that martyrs, even when nailed to the cross, sometimes were guarded till they died of hunger. Josephus, Jewish historian writes that among a number of crucified captives he found three of his acquaintances still alive, and got a centurion, Titus to have them taken down. Two died under medical treatment, but one recovered. Mark’s account of Pilate’s amazement at Jesus’ speedy death would have caused doubts in the minds of the reader. So Mark could’ve disregarded the plain response of Pilate in his writing. But he did not because it was a record of bare facts. Jesus died earlier than that of the two thieves. He was, therefore, pierced on the side with a spear to make sure that He died, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water (probably His right side, piercing both the lungs and the heart).
Tomb of Joseph: It is very unlikely that if the Gospel writers were producing a Christian fiction, they would suggest the name of a Jewish Sanhedrin member, Joseph of Arimathea, in being so generous to offer his own tomb for the corpse (Jesus) since the Christians blame the Jewish council for having executed Jesus.According to the late John A.T. Robinson of Cambridge University, the burial of Jesus in the tomb is “one of the earliest and best-attested facts about Jesus.”
Empty Tomb: Many Biblical scholars roughly estimate employing of about 20 Roman soldiers or more so in securing the tomb of Jesus Christ. The soldiers admitted the empty tombafter three days to the chief priest and elders to which they quickly devised a plan of a stolen body.This story of stolen body was believed by the Judaizers even to this day. This clearly points out that the tomb was empty. Now, the only reasonable conclusion is that, Christwas truly raised, as claimed by the disciples or that the body was stolen by the disciples.The latter claim is doubtful because the disciples went into hiding right after Jesus’ Crucifixion and they were locked inside a room for fear of the Jewish leaders.
Women Witnesses: Even Josephus, a Jewish historian wrote that the Jewish women’ testimony in a court of law was given null amount. So, it would be a foolish thing for the gospel scribes to mention the names of women like Mary Magdalene (formerly demon-possessed woman), Mary the mother of James, and Salome as being thefirst witness to the empty tomb. If it were, the writers would have given some worthy names as that of Apostle Peter or James and the likes.
With all the points above to prove that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection was not an invention of the early gospel writers. It is also more convincing and undeniable to read the sudden change of the frightened disciples into furious proclaimers of the gospel which explains that something extraordinary event happened in their lives. That supernatural event could not fall short of the Resurrection of Christ. The transformation and the conviction of this glorious gospel that led the 10 disciples to be martyred for Christ speaks with clarity that the story of redemption was not an invention of the fearful followers of Christ. It was a glorious, supernatural act of God in resurrecting the Son of God from the grave. Amen. Have a meaningful Passion Week.