Summary: The evidence of history and the Bible points to the fact that Jesus died for you!
Jesus Died for You – True or False
April 4, 2004 – Palm Sunday
This message is based on a series suggestion from Outreach Marketing and some material from the Jesus Died for You message from Brian Mavis
Over the past couple of weeks we have been exploring the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first week we studied the facts that support Jesus being the Son of God. Last week, we studied the evidence for Jesus being the only way to God.
This morning we will be examining the facts for the death of Jesus and that He died for you.
True or False – Jesus was never crucified
This is absolutely false. There are two main theories that promote this argument. The first suggests that the crucifixion of Jesus was not an actual event and that the writers of the gospels just made it up.
We have already proven the validity of the gospel accounts but let me refresh your memory quickly. The New Testament is not only reliable for being an ancient document but it is the most reliable document from ancient times. There are several key points.
· The New Testament has more copies than any other ancient document of its kind. There have been over 24, 000 copies found of the New Testament in over a dozen languages. These copies record the message of the gospels with minute variant. In other words, they all tell the same story.
· The New Testament has little time span between the original events and the writing of the gospels. However, there was even less time from the original events and the epistles. The epistles record the basic message of the gospel that Jesus lived, died and was raised from the dead.
All of the gospel accounts agree on the fact that Jesus was crucified dead and buried. However, that is not the only ancient source to give us this information. The simple truth of the matter is that the crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most reliable events of all the New Testament because it was so well recorded by Roman historians.
Roman historians kept an accurate record of all, important executions as a matter of record and testimony to the entire empire. Jesus of Nazareth would have been seen as an important figure to the Romans in the area of Israel. Jesus was well known in both religious and political circles, not because He sought attention but because He drew the attention of the masses. The Romans would have taken an interest in Jesus because He had such a large following and because He caused a great deal of turmoil with the Jewish leaders.
The second theory is that the person who was crucified was not actually Jesus. The thinking here is that Jesus got another person to pretend to be Him so He could fake the resurrection. This is so far fetched that it is almost not worth mentioning. There is no possible way for a different person to take the place of Jesus at the crucifixion.
The legal proceedings were conducted in private and public. The religious leaders who were trying to have Jesus killed would not have made such a mistake because they made sure that they had the right person. The crowds at the trial would not have collectively made the mistake thinking that someone else was Jesus. The truth is that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified
True or False – Jesus did not die on the cross
The theory here is that Jesus did not actually die on the cross but that He merely passed out on the cross or was given a drug that would make Him appear dead. Again this does not seem logical given the rigors of a Roman crucifixion or a decent understanding of basic history.
The first speculation that Jesus did not die on the cross comes from the Koran. The reality of it is this that all of the attempts to downplay or degrade the reality of the death of Jesus have the purpose to dismiss the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus never really died then He could not have been raised from the dead.
There are several reasons that Jesus had to have been dead before He was removed from the cross.
1. Roman guards made sure that those being crucified were dead
The punishment for an escaped prisoner who was sentenced to death was death. In fact, the guards who allowed the person to escape alive were given the punishment of the escapee. In this case any guard who allowed Jesus to come down from that cross, alive would have been crucified
2. Pilate released the body of Jesus for burial
Pilate would have been given a report by the commanding officer that Jesus was dead before the body would have been released for burial. Again the punishment for an inaccurate or false report was death.