Summary: An apologetic sermon discussing the proofs of the resurrection
Can You Handle the Proof?
Text: Matthew 28:11-15; 1st Corinthians 15:17
By: Ken McKinley
This text is of course part of the Easter Message, and of course this is the time of year when we start thinking about Easter and all that goes with it; Palm Sunday, the betrayal and trial of Jesus, the crucifixion, and most importantly – the resurrection And as I was praying and considering what to preach on this particular Sunday I decided that I would try to do a little equipping. Being that we’ve issued a call for everyone to invite someone to our Easter services in a couple of weeks. So my sermon this morning is more of an apologetic than what you might normally hear me preach, dealing specifically with the proof of the resurrection. The reason I want to look at that, is because, the entire Christian faith rests on the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus I hope that when you do invite someone to church on Easter, if they happen to ask you why they should come, and why they should even believe in the resurrection account, you will be adequately equipped to give them a reason for what you believe.
In the early 1900’s a group of lawyers met in England to discuss the Biblical accounts of Jesus resurrection given to us in the Gospels. They wanted to see if enough information was available to make a case that would hold up in a court of law. They concluded that Christ’s resurrection was one of the most well established facts of history. There is a book that came out in 1970 called, “Countdown: A Time to Choose” and it was written by a Canadian scientist named G.B. Hardy. In that book Hardy writes about determining ones religion. He says, “I have only two questions to ask. One, has anyone ever defeated death? Two, did he make a way for me to do it also?” And he found the answer to those two questions was found in Jesus Christ alone.
But over the 2000 years since the resurrection of Jesus Christ there have been a lot of people who have tried to deny the resurrection, and they’ve come up with quite a few theories and ideas to try and disprove it. After all, if there is no resurrection, then there is no Christianity, and if there is no Christianity, then there is no God, at least not the God of the Bible, and if there is no God, then there is no judgment, and that’s what people want to get rid of. They want to live their lives however they see fit. And this goes for unreligious folks and for some of the religious folks as well. Think about it for a minute. The Pharisees were very religious, but they denied that Jesus was raised from the dead, the Sadducees were very religious, but they denied the resurrection. Muslims are very religious but they reject the resurrection. And there are many other religious groups out there that reject and deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And like I said, they’ve come up with all sorts of theories to try and debunk this doctrine.
There’s the “Swoon Theory.” The swoon theorist says that Jesus never died on the cross, He just passed out from shock and was put in the tomb, but then the aroma of the spices and the coolness of the tomb revived Him. It’s not a very well thought out theory… I mean think about it for a minute. Here’s a guy who had been beaten beyond recognition, and lost a lot of blood in the process. The Roman soldiers were experts when it came to crucifixion, and I’m pretty sure they knew when someone was dead. In-fact, that’s why they stabbed Jesus with the spear rather than broke His legs. And again, the spear stab was a fatal wound. It was near the heart, that’s why both blood and water poured out. But if Jesus did survive a severe beating, crucifixion, and a spear thrust into His side, He would’ve then had to have survived 3 days without food or water, been awakened without any medical assistance, rolled the stone away, overcome the Roman guards placed outside the tomb, and then walked 7 miles to Emmaus on feet that had been pierced with nails. Sounds pretty ridiculous to me, but you’re free to make your own minds up if the Swoon theory is credible or not.
Others say that the body of Jesus wasn’t actually buried in the tomb, that the Jews took it and threw it into a pit along with the criminals. But if that’s the case then why bother sealing the tomb, and posting guards at it? And… if that’s what they did, the Jews could’ve easily went to the trash pit and pulled out the body of Jesus, when the disciples began speaking of the resurrection. The Jewish leaders could’ve said, “Oh no, He’s not alive, here’s the body.” But they didn’t.