Summary: Part 10 of a series looking at the Extra Ordinary Man Jesus
Today we come to the most important subject in the whole of Christianity- the Resurrection of Jesus!
For sure, everything else we have looked at over the course of this study, from His Origin in heaven from before time began, to His humility at His Birth, the perfectness of His Life and His radical Teachings, to His Death and why He had to die are all important, but without the Resurrection they mean nothing!
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15 says that if Jesus didn't rise from the dead then we Christians, above all men are foolish and we are still dead in our sins!!!
It is the Resurrection of Jesus that separates Christians from the rest! Many people believe that Jesus was a good man, a prophet who did some great works and greater miracles, but at the resurrection they disagree. The Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses, and Judaism for example believe Jesus to be one of the greatest of the prophets but He didn't resurrect!
And because the Resurrection is so fundamental to our faith we shall spend our time today examining it, looking at some of the arguments against it and some of the evidence for it and next week we shall talk about what the Resurrection means to us Christians.
So the first thing we must do is clarify what we mean by Resurrection. Resurrection doesn't just mean a coming back to life. This is resuscitation, and we see this throughout the Bible history and even in modern history how people have died and have been resuscitated, they come back to life.
We see this with Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, even Paul, they've all brought people back from the dead. But they all came back with their same bodies, with their same limitations and ultimately they died again.
But the Resurrection speaks of more than that. It speaks of a change, a new body, a glorified body. A body free from sin, sickness and death. This is the eternal body!
And it's this glorious body that awaits us in the future, but we'll speak more about that next week.
The next thing we need to do it look at some of the major arguments against the Resurrection. And because the Resurrection is so important to us, many have attacked it and argued against it!
And one of those arguments is that Jesus didn't really die on the cross. They say He just passed out and when He was put in the cool damp tomb that He regained consciousness and was able to walk away.
Now there are many holes in this argument. Firstly is the fact that the cross, as we looked at in detail last week, was designed to kill! It was designed to cause death! And the Roman executioners knew exactly what they were doing!
You remember the account of Jesus' crucifixion where the Romans didn't want to leave the bodies up on the cross over the Jewish festival so executioners were sent out to break the legs of those on the cross to speed up death. When they came to Jesus they found Him already dead but still stuck a spear through His side into the heart area and blood and water came out! A sure sign of death!
On top of that you'll remember Jesus suffered a terrible beating before He even got to the cross which in itself had been the cause of death for many before.
And on top of that, when Jesus was taken down from the cross and taken to the tomb He was wrapped in bandages, about 100 pound of it, from head to toe! Surely it wouldn't take long for a man to suffocate after being wrapped up like that!
Then, in His beaten and crucified condition, remember those nails through the hands and feet, He would have had to somehow unwrap Himself from those bandages, roll the huge stone that covered the entrance of the grave away, overpower and beat up the guards, the elite guards who were guarding the tomb and make His escape and then appear to the Disciples and the 500 plus other people and convince them there were no ill effects!!
Another argument is that the Disciples lied about the Resurrection of Jesus. That they all conspired to tell everyone that Jesus rose from the dead and that they had seen Him on different times over a period of 40 days and then He ascended into heaven.
Now the question that arises from this is 'Why?' 'Why would these people lie?' 'What is the benefit to them of lying?' Read through the book of Acts. Read the Foxes Book of Martyrs. Look up some history and see what happened to these people! Hated! Persecuted! Beaten and murdered! ALL the Apostles were murdered except for John, and him they boiled alive in oil! He just didn't die!