Summary: With the risk of being miserable, why would a group of intelligent, rational individuals ever believe in the resurrection?

What History says about the Resurrection April 2000

1 Corinthians 15:16-19 - For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied or are most miserable)

By Pastor Rick MacDonald

From The Message

1 Corinthians 15:16-20 - If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ wasn’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.

With the risk of being miserable, why would a group of intelligent, rational individuals ever believe in the resurrection? In fact the guys the were responsible for having Jesus crucified, did so to quiet Him on a number of issues, one of which the resurrection from the dead! But the truth is, as hard as I’ve tried I can’t disprove the resurrection. In fact it is much easier to prove than to disprove.

First, we have first had historical accounts of the resurrection - But I don’t believe in the Bible.

I’m not talking about historians who didn’t follow after Jesus:

Adolf Harnack, a German historian, who rejects the resurrection says,

“The firm confidence of the disciples in Jesus was rooted in the belief that Jesus did not abide in death, but was raised by God. That Christ was risen, was, in virtue of what they had experienced in Him, certainly only after they had seen Him, just as sure as the fact of His death, and became the main article of their preaching about Him.”

Jospephus, a Jewish historian, writing at the end of the first century A.D. wrote this:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to Him many Jews, and also many of the Greeks. this man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned Him to the cross, upon His impeachment by the principal man among us, those who had loved him from the first did not forsake Him, for He appeared to them alive on the third day, the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about Him. And even now, the race of Christians, so named from Him, has not died out.”

Other religions:

The world today is hungry for spiritual understanding., but all but four of the world’s religions are based on philosophical beliefs. Of the four based on personalities, only Christianity claims an empty tomb.


Abraham, father of Judaism died about 1900 B.C., but no resurrection was claimed for him.


Buddhism is on the rise. But let me read to you what the Mahaparainibbana Sutta, the earliest account of history recorded about Buddha - “ . . . when he died, it was with that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind.” Buddha and Buddhists never have or will believe that Buddha was resurrected from the dead - he just died like any other ordinary human.


Sakya Muni, was the founder of Muhammadanism. The scriptures of the Muhammadans called the Pali, never claimed that Sakya Muni would be resurrected. In fact the Pali says that on June 8, 632 A.D., as the age of sixty-one, at Medina, where his tomb is annually visited by thousands of millions of Muhammadans, Sakya died.


Without the resurrection, Christianity cannot exist. The disciples would have remained crushed and defeated men. To better understand this, let’s go back to Friday, the day Jesus was crucified.

1. When Jesus was arrested, all the disciples ran away, except Peter who followed behind at a great distance.

Matthew 26:56 - “But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

2. When Peter was confronted about his association with Christ, he denied it so strongly, that he even cussed out a young girl who asked it he was with Jesus.

a. When Jesus was led out from His trial, He simply looked at Peter, and Peter ran and hid and wept bitterly.

3. A few hours later, Jesus was crucified. At the cross was his mother and one disciple, John. All the other disciples, except Judas who has killed himself, we off hiding out of fear.

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