Summary: Stop doubting and believe!
Let’s suppose this morning that we could read the headlines that would have taken place in the week after that first Easter. What would the headlines have looked like if there were a Jerusalem Post in first century Palestine? Possibly the following:
“CRUCIFIED JESUS REPORTED TO BE ALIVE”
“ONE DISCIPLE HAS DOUBTS”
The first story, depending on the perspective of the writer, might have tried to explain away the reports of Jesus sightings. The writer might have expounded some theories on what really happened.
The Swoon Theory
This theory claims that Jesus didn’t really die, he just swooned on the cross. Christ was nailed to a cross and suffered from shock, pain and loss of blood. But the proponents of this theory claim that instead of actually dying, He only swooned. That when He was placed in the tomb, He was still alive and Joseph, mistaking Him for dead, buried Him alive.
This theory completely ignores the evidences of His death and would require a greater miracle than the resurrection.
These theorists claim that the cool, damp air in the tomb actually healed Jesus. Of course, then Jesus would have had to perform the miracle of escaping from the tightly wound wrappings, pushing away the heavy stone, overpowering the two guards. And He still would have been half dead. In His weakened condition He could not have walked the seven miles on the Emmaus road.
Christ died. He was dead in the judgment of the soldiers, in the judgment of Pilate, in the judgment of the Jews who requested the guard for the tomb, and in the judgment of the women who went to the tomb to further prepare the body.
The Hallucination Theory
This theory says all of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances were because the people had hallucinations. The big question is how could so many people have hallucinations under different conditions and spread out over different times? And 500 at one time?
The hallucination theory doesn’t work because it contradicts laws and principles which psychiatrists say are essential to hallucinations. Psychiatrists claim only certain kinds of people have hallucinations: high-strung, highly imaginative, and very nervous people. In fact, usually only paranoid or schizophrenic individuals have hallucinations. Hard to believe that all of those who saw Jesus were paranoid or schizophrenic.
Psychiatrists also say hallucinations are linked in an individual’s subconscious--to particular past experiences and this was certainly not a part of any past experience.
The Impersonation Theory
This is the theory that it was really someone impersonating Jesus. They argue this angle because they didn’t recognize Him at first (or at all).
The problem with this theory is that it would have been impossible to impersonate Christ’s wounds. Maybe in Hollywood today. This was Christ’s proof to Thomas that it was really Him. Also, remember that these guys had been with Jesus for three years and it’s hard to believe anybody could have fooled them.