Presentation on theme: "Session 3 - Foundations for the Resurrection In this session,and the following session, we will look at the historical evidence for the resurrection of."— Presentation transcript:
Session 3 - Foundations for the Resurrection In this session,and the following session, we will look at the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ Again keep in mind, if someone excludes the supernatural as a possibility in explaining an event, they will never believe… no matter how much evidence there is
One of the best evidences for the resurrection: The Eye Witnesses In the Bible we are given examples of many individuals who witnessed the resurrection of Christ and saw him after his death Keep in mind, this is one point where we will not have any sources outside Christianity, obviously if you witnessed the resurrection… you’d be a Christian
Some eye witness Testimonies are stronger than others Historians use a number of common-sense principles in assessing how strong or weak an eyewitness testimony is, here are five: 1. Testimony attested to by multiple, independent witnesses is usually considered stronger and more reliable than the testimony of one individual
2. Affirmation by a neutral or hostile source is usually considered stronger than affirmation from a friendly source, since bias in favor of the person or position is absent 3. People usually don’t make up details regarding a story that would tend to weaken their position 4. Eyewitness testimony is usually considered stronger than testimony heard from a second (or third) hand source
5. An early testimony from very close to the event in question is usually considered more reliable than one received years after the event Keeping this in mind, we are going to move on to looking at the evidence that the resurrection was a historical event Using The Minimal Fact Approach
The Minimal Fact Approach to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Presented by Gary Habermas originally, widely used now.) According to the limited fact method, there are five facts we can know about Jesus’ life that are best explained by the resurrection Keep in mind what we said about sources, because we will source each fact from history
Fact #1 – Jesus died by crucifixion This historical fact is as solid as any other fact that you could know about the first century or before The support from Biblical sources for this point is overwhelming, the authors of the New Testament (Paul, Luke, John, Matthew, Mark, etc) testify that Christ died by crucifixion
If they were making up the story this would make any sense… crucifixion was a dishonorable way to die in Roman society If they got to choose the way Jesus died in the Bible just to get people to accept it, it would be much more attractive if he died fighting for the Jews There is no reason to lie about Jesus being crucified, therefore we can trust them
1 Corinthians 15:3-5: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” Paul quotes a very early creed that talks about Jesus dying (obviously by crucifixion)
However, if you decide you still want non- Christian sources, we have plenty of those: Josephus Tacitus Lucian Mara Bar-Serapion The Talmud These five (non-Christian) sources all confirm the crucifixion of Jesus
Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?) Jewish Historian of his time : “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he... wrought surprising feats.... He was the Christ. When Pilate...condemned him to be crucified, those who had... come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared... restored to life.... And the tribe of Christians... has... not disappeared”
Lucian (circa 120-after 180) Greek writer "The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account The Babylonian Talmud: On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald... cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy."
MARA BAR-SERAPION (Post 70 A.D) "What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?
Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117, Roman historian) “Nero fastened the guilt... on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of... Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome....”
Fact #2 – The Disciples Sincerely Believed He Rose from the Dead and Appeared to Them This is the overwhelming belief of the New Testament writers such as Mathew, Mark, Luke, John We re not yet arguing that he did, we are only saying the evidence heavily supports that the disciples thought he did
Their belief was so strong, that they were willing to die for the belief that they saw the resurrected Christ It I possible to die for a lie, but nobody dies for a known lie! If the disciples made it up, they wouldn’t die for it. If they actually thought it though (true or false) they would be willing to die for that belief
Matthew - killed by stabbing as ordered by King Hircanus James, son of Alphaeous – Stoned and clubbed to death (Josephus) James, brother of Jesus - thrown down from a height, stoned and then beaten to death at the hands of Ananias (circa AD 66) John - tortured by boiling oil, exiled to Patmos in AD 95 Mark - burned during Roman emperor Trajan's reign Peter - crucified upside-down by the gardens of Nero on the Vatican hill circa AD 64 The Death and Martyrdom of Disciples
Andrew - crucified on an "X" shaped cross by Aegeas, governor of the Edessenes, around AD 80 Philip - stoned and crucified in Hierapolis, Phrygia Simon - crucified in Egypt under Trajan's reign Thomas - death by spear thrust in Calamina, India Thaddaeous - killed by arrows James, son of Zebedee - killed by sword in AD 44 by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea Bartholomew - beaten, flayed alive, crucified upside down, then beheaded Peter and Paul died under emperor Nero
The creed that we quoted earlier from 1 Cor. 15:3-7 shows that it was a foundational belief that Christ rose from the dead We also have apostolic fathers who date back to the ministry time of Jesus Christ, such as Clement of Rome and Polycarp who (while we are not told are eyewitnesses) had direct contact with those who were, and record that it was their sincere belief
Fact #3 – The conversion of Paul Saul, better known as Paul, started off as a persecutor of the earliest Christians We first here about Saul/Paul at the execution of Stephen “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” Galatians 1:23
1 Corinthians 15:9: ” For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Paul starts off in the world of Christianity as being the enemy, one who is fighting against the church and hates the church We have his conversion story recorded for us in the book of Acts:
Acts 9:1-6: “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven…
…Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Why else would Paul convert?
Why would Paul go on to die for this faith if he didn’t actually believe that he had seen the resurrected Christ? His death is recorded and spoken of by many early writers (Clement of Rome, Polycarp, etc) why did this educated, sophisticated man suddenly convert to the persecuted faith?
Fast #4 – The Conversion of the Skeptic James How would you feel if people said your brother was God? Probably wouldn’t be on that bandwagon right? We have archeological evidence to confirm that James is the brother of Jesus (his tomb was found)
The Bible says that James was not a believer during the time of Christ ministry here on earth Before his conversion, we have evidence from another historian (Hegesippus) that James was a devout Jew who followed the Jewish laws John 7:5: “For even His brothers did not believe in Him.”
But after Jesus dies, James converts and becomes the head at the Church in Jerusalem… Why? What would suddenly change the mind of a skeptic brother? Why would he suddenly believe in Jesus after his death (if there wasn't a resurrection) James dies for his belief according to Josephus
Flavius Josephus mentions James, the brother of Jesus - Antiquities, Book 20, ch. 9. "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done."
Fact #5 – The empty tomb There is great historical evidence and reasons why we can be sure that the tomb was empty We have three evidences that the tomb was empty: The Jerusalem Factor Enemy Attestation Attestation of Women
The Jerusalem Factor The resurrection was first proclaimed in Jerusalem, and it would have been impossible to get off the ground as a religion if they could have gone down to the tomb and seen the body No one bothers writing against the Christians saying “We still have the body” which shows they didn’t
No matter how you want to interpret the evidence, the fact remains that historically the tomb was empty
Matthew 28:12-13: “When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’” Enemy Attestation It is not a direct quote from an enemy, but easy to infer from the record:
The testimony of women Often people do not understand the importance of this point In that culture the testimony of women was considered worthless… listen to some quotes from the times: “Sooner let the words of the Law be burnt than delivered to women. (Talmud, Sotah 19a)
“But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex, nor let servants be admitted to give testimony on account of the ignobility of their souls; since it is probable that they may not speak truth, either our of hope of gain, or fear of punishment.” (Josephus, Antiquities )
“Any evidence which a women [gives[ is not valid (to offer), also they are not valid to offer. This is equivalent to saying that one who is Rabbinically accounted a robber is qualified to give the same evidence as a women.” (Talmud, Rosh Hashannah)
Why is this such great evidence that the tomb was empty like the Bible says? If it wasn’t, and the disciples were trying to deceive everyone into thinking that it was, why would they use women as their initial witnesses in their accounts? If you want to convince a society you’d use men as your witness… but they chose women (because they were recording what actually happened, not making it up.)
Fact #1 – Jesus died by crucifixion Fact #2 – The Disciples Sincerely Believed He Rose from the Dead and Appeared to Them Fact #3 – The conversion of Paul Fast #4 – The Conversion of the Skeptic James Fact #5 – The empty tomb The Five Historical Facts
What is the best explanation for these five facts that we have from history? Acts 4:33: ” And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” What we know from history lines up with what we are told in the Bible
Memory Verse: Acts 4:33: ” And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”