Easter... Or Resurrection Day more importantly and accurately for believers...Is the single-most important Day in all of History to our Faith...Every single thing we hold to be true and completely life changing...Comes down to whether THIS DAY actually even occurred in History...And if it did... Whether THIS DAY... And all the Events attested to about Jesus... Are credible beyond doubt... Or are the equivalent of fairytales... Myths... Legends
The writer of two-thirds of the entire New Testament...Who started as a non-believer... And actually was a high-ranking, Christian hating...Powerful man of his time...A persecutor, imprisoner, and murderer of Christians...Who's writings have been accepted...By almost all historians... Secular and Christian...For their accuracy and authenticity...Made a more honest statement about Christ... And this Resurrection Day...Than anyone could possibly state...
1 Corinthians 15:9, 14-15, 17-19 (HCSB)
9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God... 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. 15 In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ... 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
So ... ON this Wonderful Day... Christians come together to worship and Proclaim Christ like no other day! We are also faced with the task of communicating why we are so excited...To a number of good-hearted, but misled people...Who take in the beliefs and opinions of the world 24/7... Year round...And then give one hour... On this one day... With limited attention even then...To counter all they have heard and believed!
Ask yourself... If there is ANY CHANCE these claims about Christ even could be true... Aren't the life-changing, thought-altering, purpose-filled implications... WORTH the giving all of your attention... Until you KNOW for yourself?!
That is an obviously difficult task... Which could not be properly addressed in months... Much less a single sermon!
But… A handful of unignorable Truths... Seen with an open heart and mind...Through the Power of the Spirit…Are all one needs to crack open an entire world...That has been hidden, misrepresented, or lied about...By a culture with ulterior motives...My desire... My request...Is that you simply give that open heart and mind...For the following moments together...They may become some of your most important moments in life!
The FIRST obstacle to prevent many from even considering the Evidence of Jesus Christ... NO MATTER how strong...Is totally understandable...But is often... Simply a parroted view...Which is seldom contemplated in fairness or proof...
That obstacle goes something like this...
"For me to accept that Jesus Resurrected on Easter...
Means that I have to believe in the Supernatural...
I have to Break the Laws of Nature!
Which makes your religion outdated and weak!"
If that is your view... Please listen closely to the following...
If I placed 2 hotdogs on the kitchen counter... And my wife placed 2 more...
There should be 4 hotdogs when we come back from getting the drinks!
When we discover there is only 1 hotdog when we return...
We don't question whether the Laws of Science & Mathematics have been broken...We simply accept the proof of reality...That... Being the "Law of Chamois"(Our dog) is IN the house...Which states that... "Any food left unguarded more than 30 seconds disappears in unknown quantities!"
In other words... It wasn't a "closed system!" The very presence of perfectly designed Laws of Science...Which actually allow for our existence... We NOW KNOW… SCREAMS the FACT...Of an Intelligent, Powerful Creator OUTSIDE their existence...Because the very Laws of Science... CANNOT account for their own existence...And according to Einstein's Theory of Relativity...All space, matter, time and the Laws which intertwine them...BEGAN AT THE MOMENT OF CREATION...
Meaning Something OUTSIDE of these Laws...And BEFORE these Laws Had to create them!
A Creator to work outside the Laws He Creates...In order to express and Prove His Existence...Would be completely NATURAL...
And the second thing to consider...Which makes the argument not only invalid but hypocritical! Is the FACT... That the biggest reason many will proclaim Jesus cannot Exist..."Because It breaks the known Laws of Nature!"
Is the very thing they must accept and embrace...To REJECT Him!!! In order to accept the existence of the Universe today thru Evolution...And the belief of Spontaneous Life from a dead rock...Accidentally hurled into space in an explosion with no scientific origin...And the complexity of that life evolving from a spark...Into unfathomably intricate designs...Following CODED INFORMATION...
Written in a learnable LANGUAGE!
BREAKS SO MANY KNOWN, TESTED, ACCEPTED...LAWS OF FOUNDATIONAL SCIENCE...THAT IT IS HUMOROUS TO USE…AS AN ARGUMENT AGAINST GOD!
To accept Evolution as being more logical than My Creator...Means you must break these Laws of Science... Just for starters!
- And the precision of the very Laws which govern them...
- Needed to create LIFE...
- Renowned Mathematical Physicist/ Contributor to General Relativity/ Shared Physics awards with Stephen Hawkins...
- A complete mathematical impossibility!
At 10, to the 10th Power, to the 123rd Power!!
NOT increasing... With each passing generation!
So we must work OUTSIDE of ALL of these examples…Of the KNOWN Laws of Nature...In order to propose a Theory... We must work… "Supernaturally!" All of these "Scientific Observations"…Which defy the known Laws of Nature...Give powerful proof of a Creator which is...Outside the Laws of Nature...Existing before the Laws of Nature...Bigger than or equal to…All the power and complexity of Nature...This Rock that we KNOW moved on Resurrection Morning...Is much more scientifically sound...Than your "rock" which came from nothing...With no guidance or purpose... And miraculously created and evolved life...With scientifically impossible information, purpose & Design...
AGAINST all of your own "Laws of Nature!"
Dr. George Wald, in an article from Scientific American...
Honestly stated the real problem when facing these facts:
"... I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution." - George Wald, 1954. The Origin of Life. Scientific American August: 44-53.
So If FAITH in MIRACLES against nature is your stumbling block...Come to Christianity... It is far more reasonable!
Sadly... Ignorantly... Many people today... Based upon nothing but a few poorly researched YouTube videos...Emphatically proclaim that Jesus was not…Even a Real Person! Much less that He was Crucified and Resurrected again Listen closely and research yourself...No TRUE historical scholar... Christian or secular...Has ANY doubt of Jesus' existence... Or of His Death...
Or that His disciples believed and proclaimed He Rose again!
Well, if He was so important, and did such amazing things…He should have been written about by someone other than your religious fanatics... Right?!
Can you prove that one?!
Well, let's look at this undisputed historical fact:
Within just the first 150 years of Jesus' life…When the Truth was best known and irrefutable...Ten known non-Christian writers…Speak of Jesus in their writings!
By contrast, in the same 150 years…Only nine non-Christian authors…Even mention Tiberius Caesar…Who happened to be the Roman Emperor in Jesus’ time! Add to it, Christian writers, and the ratio of writings mentioning Jesus verse Tiberius grows to 43 to 10!
Many of these non-Christian writers…Were even strongly "Anti-Christian!"
And not one of these anti-Christian sources…Ever contradicts what Scriptures wrote about Jesus Christ! Not one! In contrast, these writings actually CONFIRM many important facts brought to us by the Gospels, which we will see shortly!!
There are so many points in history that agree with Scriptures...Recognized by even the most bitter anti-Christian scholars...That it is totally absurd to historically consider…The New Testament stories to be a lie, or even embellished!
All of this can be easily and quickly established by an true seeker of history! This is why movies and books such as "Zeitgeist" and others, who deceitfully and pitifully try to sell the, "Jesus myth"...Would not even make it to the screen or bookstore if people would research for themselves!
So based strictly on non-Christian (even Christian hating) writers of the historical times of Christ and shortly following...We have more solid proof of Jesus Christ than of the Emperor of Rome!
Now that we have established that fact, which should never have been questioned in the first place! We move to the next point of proof! We constantly are hit by the
claims of the Islamic Faith or by the readers of Gnostic Gospels...
(Both written hundreds of years later after Christ)
“Well, OK, we concede... Jesus did exist…But, He wasn’t crucified like the Bible says…Some even say, He went on to get married, have kids and die naturally!” And you think, “Well, at least they acknowledge Him! “That’s not so bad…”
Well, it’s not really a problem, accept that: It destroys the whole reason that Jesus came to earth! Takes away salvation from sin! Discredits Jesus as God... And makes Him a Horrible Liar & Deceiver...And destroys the Gospels, and the Scriptures as a whole!
Let’s just take a look at what evidence there is for the crucified death of Jesus in history, other than in the Gospels! Baraia – Writings Of Sanhedrin: (High Court of Jews!!) This writing is a carefully preserved quote from the religious legal system that actually hated Christ in His time…The evidence here is most powerful…
Because we get testimony about Christ from a hostile witness!One that would benefit if the evidence were not true!
“On the Eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu (of Nazareth)… But they found in Him naught in His defence and hanged Him on the eve of Passover.” (Babylonian Sanhedrin 43a)
Proof that He existed and was crucified!
Listen to these other writers, some kind…Some scornful of Christ-All acknowledged what happened!
LUCIAN OF SAMOSATA, a satirist (mocking abusive writer) of the second century, spoke hatefully of Christ and mentioned Him as:
“…the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world…Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they were all brothers one of another after they transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws.” -The Passing Peregrinus
FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (born A.D. 37), a Jewish historian who became a Pharisee at age 19 and in A.D. 66 became commander of Jewish forces in Galilee. He wrote the following:
"He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day." - Antiquities 18.3.3, Retrieved on 4-1-21 from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/testimonium.html
JUSTIN MARTYR, well educated philosopher, wrote 150 A.D.: (Important - read slowly)
“But the words, ‘They pierced my hands and my feet’ are a description of the nails that were fixed in His hands and His feet on the cross; and after He was crucified, those who crucified Him cast lots for His garments, and divided them among themselves; and that these things were so, you may learn from the ‘Acts’ which were recorded under Pontius Pilate.”
“That He performed these miracles you may easily be satisfied from the ‘Acts’ of Pontius Pilate” -Apology 1.48
This man appealed to the readers to prove what he said by looking it up under the local Govt. records!!! So like it or not, Jesus of Nazareth…A Real Figure in history…WAS crucified under the reign of a Roman leader named Pontius Pilate!
And was established completely in historic evidence!
There are claims that Jesus was surely crucified…But that He could not have died and Risen again…
One - So, His body had to have been taken by the disciples…
Two - Or, He must have just swooned after the crucifixion and been nursed back to health!
The evidence brought to you on this matter should show three things:
One- His body could not have been stolen…
Two- He could not have been alive after the trials, beatings and the crucifixion that He endured…
Three- most importantly, what He had to experience…Out of His love and Passion for YOU!
Let’s examine first whether He could have survived the crucifixion:
(Using archeological, historical and medical evidences!)
The physical trauma of Christ begins in Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of His suffering - the bloody sweat.
The physician, Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says...
Luke 22:44 (KJV)
And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.
Very rare, the phenomenon of hemathidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented.
Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This alone meant Jesus was very weakened and probably in a stage of shock!!
Next, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest…
There He was blindfolded, mocked, taunted, spat on, and beaten repeatedly in the face… At a mock trial in the middle of the night!
Early the next morning to Pilate... Then Herod... Then Pilate...Beaten, bruised and dehydrated while probably in a state of shock…Pilate ordered the release of a criminal Bar-Abbas and condemned Jesus to death by scourging and crucifixion!
Crucifixion was one of the most cruel and torturous deaths that one could endure…
An entire barrack of soldiers surrendered with the pledge that when they were killed, they would not be crucified... – Recorded by the historian Flavius Josephus
So horrible was crucifixion, that Roman citizens were excluded from ever being crucified.
Preceding His crucifixion, Jesus endured a number of horrific things:
He was beaten with fists until unrecognizable…
Scourged until His flesh ripped open, bones & organs probably in view
Suffering massive blood loss, dehydrated, and probably in shock...
Tries to carry the patibulum (horizontal section) of cross, weighing 75 to 125 lb to crucifixion site does not even have the strength and life left to carry it!
Finally, He is Crucified:
Designed to make the victim's torture as long and humiliating as possible...As their last intimate moments of death are spent naked and mutilated...In front of a jeering, hateful crowd..Dying slowly of slowly from: hypovolemic shock- rapid fluid loss resulting in multiple organ failures...exhaustion asphyxia- unable to push up to exhale...Knees bent slightly to make constant, agonizing torture and cramps...
Congestive heart failure- fluids around heart...To be certain of Jesus’ death…A legionnaire drove a spear through His chest…Which resulted in blood and water coming out separately!
We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence He died...Not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation...But of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.
Blood and water coming from the wound…Are a medical and historical guaranteed sign…That the victim has expired...
“Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right ribs, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death.”
- Davis CT: The crucifixion of Jesus: The passion of Christ from a medical point of view. Ariz Med 1965;22:183-187
“Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.” - Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 255, No. 11, March 21, 1986, Authored by a group of Scholars from Mayo Clinic
Four Executioners SAY Jesus was dead!
The Romans had four different executioners
Each one had to sign the death warrant
Each one had to examine the body to be certain
If not dead then the very Roman guard and executioners were punished by the Romans… With death!
Ok, you’ve proved the case so far…But how ON EARTH can you show any evidence that Jesus really did rise from the dead again…Almost 2000 years later?! How do you KNOW He wasn’t stolen? (Show Tomb Area-MAP)
The men in the pages of the New Testament confirm to us that Jesus did actually rise again… That the tomb was actually empty! These men make claims concerning this resurrection that embarrass…The most powerful government and fighting force that history has ever known… The Romans!
Not stolen because: In order to “steal” Jesus’ Body…The Roman seal had to be broken for Jesus to leave the tomb…Which meant immediate and sure death to the violator!
This Seal was secured by an entire guard of the most well trained men in the world… (After verifying His Body in Tomb)
Historian Dr. Paul Maier writes…That when guarding something outside of a prison…A Roman guard consisted of a minimum of 16 men working under threat of death. (4 Guards, shifting every 4 hours) If a Roman Guard Unit failed, they were stripped of their clothes and burned alive in a fire started with them! Or, crucified upside down!
This… Is the Guard given to protect the tomb…The most controversial tomb in their day. Which had the potential to cause a major crisis and rebellion if left unguarded. This is the Guard that fled their positions and yet were not executed or even punished! But, bribed instead! Could disciples get past a Guard like this…And move a 2 ton stone… Uphill?! Risen because: Scripture tells that Jesus appeared…To over 500 people shortly after His resurrection:
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (NKJV)
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
What is more awesome, is that even here Paul claims…That the vast majority of these witnesses…Are still living at the time he writes.
He is simply saying, “Go and ask them if you don’t believe me!” Were each of these 500 persons asked to give just 5 minutes of testimony to our case…That would account for over 50 hours of personal testimony given in our court today! (overwhelming!) Some of which... Were Jesus' own FAMILY! (Knew Him best!)
Next, we have some of the most powerful evidence known to modern courts...
Positive evidence for a case which comes from a hostile source is the most persuasive! In other words, a source confirms a fact that they decidedly feel is not in their favor…Such is the case, because a number of Jewish and Roman sources acknowledge the empty tomb in history!
They try to explain it… They try to cover it…But, they acknowledge it as a fact!
And, though all they needed do…Was go to the local tomb minutes from the community and produce one dead body…To stop the uprising that followed…They could not!
When the Christians, and their Jewish and Roman opponents… ALL agree that the tomb was empty…There is little choice historically…Other than to accept this as fact!
Scripture & historians both tell us of a handful of the least likely men alive - Tax collectors, fishermen, etc…Who carried this story of a risen Savior, NOT YEARS LATER…But a matter of weeks later…To the same crowd that put Him to death!
The same crowd that would eventually cause their deaths. Same crowd that had great knowledge of the events...And was the most intellectual center of Judea...And the most able teachers in the Law of that day.
Same crowd who lived a 15 minute walk from the tomb. Yet, with all of their knowledge of Scripture, of the events, and of the tomb…This is where the disciples chose to begin their work.
And this ban of unlearned peasants not only disrupted the entire Jewish world, but:
Within just 20 years had impressed every town in the Mediterranean. And within just 50 years, threatened the peace of the Rome!
And eventually went on to split the world into two time frames even today… B.C. and A.D.
These men died horrible deaths for the cause of the resurrection! Would they do this for a senseless lie of their own creation? And if they would - Could they convince literally hundreds of thousands of same-day, eye-witnesses to do the same thing!? Facing separation from family and torture...For a lie they had not confirmed with their own eyes!?
CORNELIUS TACITUS (born A.D. 52-54), a Roman Historian & Governor of Asia wrote of Nero:
“Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius:”
The proof is historically, and in testimony, overwhelming: The Scriptures are proven to be accurate historically. The Roman & Jewish cultures, through clenched teeth had to admit what happened…Not one historical writing from either party…Ever tries to refute the empty tomb... While many historical writings parallel the Gospel accounts!
Hundreds of eye-witnesses accepted these accounts as authentic… Many at the cost of their lives. All of this occurred in spite of the fact that a guard…Of 16 of the best trained fighting men of history…Guarded one tomb under threat of death!
The very people who could first-hand prove whether these events were facts or not…Went on to live horrible lives, and die horrible deaths... All in defense of these facts! Impossible to do, if they knew they were defending a lie!
The Pen (history), the Spade (archeology), and the Sword (Truth held against all violence and persecution). Show the Truth of Jesus Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection!! (One Rock holds True!)
Dr. Simon Greenleaf, famous Royall Professor of Law at Harvard University, largely responsible for the rise of Harvard to it’s eminent position today comments on the legal authority of the Resurrection in history!
“According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history.”
To the informed person, there is simply no reason to be found NOT to believe in Jesus as our Christ and Savior! Unless you just simply choose not to believe! But when you show this kind of proof…For ALL CHRIST DID FOR US...It is not my job, nor would it honor Christ…To BEG ANYONE TO ACCEPT HIM!
Jesus Christ Himself, spent more time trying to run the multitudes away, than to get cheap followers!
Matthew 13:14-16 (NKJV)
14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; 15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.' 16 "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
Jesus spoke in parables, so they would ONLY understand if they were hungry enough to dig deeper! If you see this evidence plainly…And you are not overwhelmingly moved…To plead with Him to be your Savior... You are one He was weeding out!
HE LOVES YOU, BUT HE DOESN'T WANT YOU! He doesn't want you, because He wants true love...Not cheap, selfish, shallow, uncertain love! He deserves so much more! The most important question you will ever decide…
Matthew 16:15 (NKJV)
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
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