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If Christ Is Not Risen A Look at Some Evidence for Jesus and the Resurrection 1 Cor 15:12-19.

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Presentation on theme: "If Christ Is Not Risen A Look at Some Evidence for Jesus and the Resurrection 1 Cor 15:12-19."— Presentation transcript:


2 If Christ Is Not Risen A Look at Some Evidence for Jesus and the Resurrection 1 Cor 15:12-19

3 Introduction Even before Jesus arose, men were already denying the resurrection  Matt 27:62-66 So it should not surprise us that denials have continued ever since Some want to deny Jesus ever lived  Others want to reduce Jesus to just another man who lived and died as other men (denying the New Testament writings as lies and embellishments) e.g., The Jesus Seminar, Killing Jesus Yet if Christianity is based on a lie, then Paul said our faith is futile and we will die in our sins

4 Introduction How do we prove the existence of Jesus and the veracity of the New Testament?  There are basically three types of evidence that can be used: 1 Internal evidence: What the Bible says about itself and the events 2 External evidence: What other sources (written or archaeological) prove about the Bible and the events recorded therein 3 Logic: Using your mind and knowledge of how things work to weigh the evidence ● We will begin with a comparison of some internal and external evidence

5 Darkness and earthquake Mark 15:33  Three hours of darkness in the middle of the day Matt 27:51  An earthquake, damaging the temple Two events occuring together with the crucifixion  Earthquakes are not uncommon and often go unreported in histories, unless causing significant damage and/or loss of life  Although solar eclipses are not uncommon (average of one every 18 months) The longest recorded solar eclipse lasted barely more than 7 minutes Even then, darkness is not complete

6 Darkness and earthquake Thallus, a Roman historian,around AD 50 wrote a 3 volume history beginning at the fall of Troy and continuing to his own time  His books all lost/destroyed during the Dark Ages  Fragments of all 3 volumes have been found  His works were quoted extensively by other historians The quotations appear in several languages over many centuries Sextus Julius Africanus, a Roman historian around AD 200 wrote A History of the World  He quotes from and alludes to many earlier historians

7 Darkness and earthquake Africanus wrote: “On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the Passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun?” Thallus knew of a darkness that occurred during the full moon and claimed it was an eclipse  Africanus is correct that Passover is at the full moon and that an eclipse is impossible at that time

8 Darkness and earthquake Africanus continued: “Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth—manifestly that one of which we speak.” Phlegon of Trailes, a Greek historian around AD 140, wrote a 16 volume history of the Olympics  The section alluded to by Africanus was quoted by many early historians and translated in several languages, one example “In the years of Olympiad 202, an eclipse of the sun happened, greater and more excellent than any that had happened before it; at the sixth hour, day turned into dark night, so that the stars were seen in the sky, and an earthquake in Bithynia toppled many buildings of the city of Nicaea”  The 202 Olympiad lasted from AD 29 to AD 33

9 Darkness and earthquake Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian, wrote a History of the Jewish War (AD66 -73)  Wrote that 40 years before the destruction of the temple (AD 70), during the feast of unleavened bread (Passover), there were signs pointing to the future destruction of the temple Including the opening of a large gate that had been stuck closed for more than 20 years The Jewish Talmud, written AD 90 – 500), mentions the same opening of the gate  Also mentions that the Sanhedrin was forced to move out of their stone chamber next to the temple Another historian mentions that the temple's stone lintel (holding the veil) broke, tearing the veil

10 Proof from attacks Celsus, pagan, Greek philosopher 2 nd century AD, attacked Christianity for following a low-born Jew who thought he was God (using sorcery) and was killed by his own people and whose disciples deceptively claimed he had been raised from the dead  His attack actually confirms the Biblical account  Only the opinions of Celsus were that Jesus was crazy and his disciples were liars He never denies the events, but rather confirms them

11 Proof from attacks Lucian of Samosata, Greek satirist of the 2 nd century AD, wrote many works including The Death of Peregrinus  In that work he makes fun of Christians as generous but gullible people who worshipped a well-known sophist who had been killed by his own people because he introduced new mysteries  Again, though he doesn't believe, he actual confirms that Jesus existed and His death at Jewish hands

12 Tacitus Tacitus, Roman senator, consul, governor of Asia and historian, wrote a history of Nero around AD 112  Explaining how everyone believed Nero set the fire that destroyed Rome  “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had it origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…”

13 Pliny, the Younger Pliny, Roman lawyer, author, and governor of Bithynia-Pontus (AD 110-113)  While governor, he wrote to emperor Trajan asking if he should continue to execute Christians. He said he had questioned (under torture when needed) several and concluded: “They were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, adultery, never to falsify their word, not to deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of a meal—but ordinary and innocent food.”

14 Manuscripts Of course, the overwhelming majority of what we know about Jesus is found in the New Testament  These are the writings of men who experienced the events first-hand or had access to the witnesses Some want to dismiss their writing because we don't have the original writings (autographs)  What we have are copies of the originals or copies of copies Is that a reasonable basis for ignoring those manuscripts?

15 Manuscript Evidence for Ancient Writings Author WrittenEarliest Copy# of Original lang mnscrpts Caesar50 BCAD 90010 Tacitus AD 100AD 90014 Livy AD 10 AD 30035 Thucydides400 BCAD 900 8 SuetoniusAD 120AD 950 8 Plato350 BCAD 900 7 Homer800 BC400 BC643 New TstmntAD 45-96AD 12524,000+ Comparing the 643 manuscripts, the Homer manuscripts have 95% agreement Comparing the 24,000+ manuscripts, the New Testament manuscripts have 99.5% agreement

16 Internal evidence Luke 1:1-4  Luke claimed to be an accurate historian Sir William Ramsay, Scottish archaeologist, held 9 doctorates and 3 Oxford fellowships  He set out to prove that Luke was a “hopelessly inaccurate” historian and writer  After decades of research, digs, and travel, he wrote : “Further study... showed that the book could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement …. I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it there [in Acts]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian's and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment...”.'

17 Internal evidence and Logic 1 Cor 15:3-8  There were witnesses, more than 500 1 Cor 15:12-19  If Christ was not risen, then the 500+ witnesses were all liars (v15)  Since these 500+ were willing to die (some already had died like James) for what they believed If Christ wasn't risen, they must have all been crazy and to be pitied (v19) Paul affirms he would not die for a lie (1 Cor 15:30-32)  It doesn't make sense, it is illogical, to believe 500+ people were all crazy liars about the exact same thing

18 Conclusion Jesus Christ lived and died  The evidence (internal, external, and logical) is all in agreement 1 Cor 15:20  Christ is risen! The evidence (internal and logical) is in agreement


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