Is Christ’s Resurrection Real?

Is Christ’s Resurrection Real?

Is Christ’s Resurrection Real – 1 Corinthians 15:12-17  (4-5-15)

IS CHRIST’S RESURRECTION REAL?

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  1 Corinthians 15:12-17

Opening Argument

The issue before the court this morning is not that of a crime, but a claim — a claim so spectacular and so crucial that it is either the cornerstone of Christianity or its fatal flaw. Members of the jury, the claim is that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead.

The Resurrection is the supreme miracle of Christianity — it’s at the very heart of the faith. If it never happened, Christianity collapses into mythology and billions of people have been deceived. If it did happen, it authenticates everything Jesus did and said — and believers have the guarantee of eternal life and forgiveness of sins.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  1 Corinthians 15:17

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.  Acts 1:3

Exhibit A: The Empty Tomb  [Wayne – make this a slide by itself – nothing but the background picture and these words]

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.  Matthew 28:5-6

So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.  Matthew 27:66

Other possibilities

  • Disciples stole the body
  • Religious leaders disposed the body

Exhibit B: Multiple Witnesses[Wayne – make this a slide by itself – nothing but the background picture and these words]

The early Christians did not believe Jesus had risen just because of the empty tomb — they believed because they saw Him with their own eyes. When they talked to others about Jesus, they did not say, “We found an empty tomb,” instead, they said, “We saw Jesus alive!”

More than 515 eyewitnesses saw the risen Christ on 12 different occasions

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.  Acts 1:3

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 

1 Corinthians 15:3-6

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.  Acts 2:32

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  2 Peter 1:16

Exhibit C: Changed Lives[Wayne – make this a slide by itself – nothing but the background picture and these words]

Those who met the Resurrected Jesus have had their lives totally transformed. The Resurrection is validated by the changed lives of His followers.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.  John 20:19-20

These ordinary men were transformed from frightened wimps into the most effective missionary movement the world has ever seen.

How His disciples and followers died:

  • Matthew was stabbed to death
  • Peter, Simon the Zealot, Andrew, and Philip were crucified
  • James was beheaded
  • Bartholomew was flayed alive
  • Thomas was pierced with lances
  • James, the less, was thrown from the temple and stoned to death
  • Jude was shot to death with arrows
  • Matthias was burned to death
  • Paul was boiled in hot oil and beheaded
  • <=Mark was dragged through the streets until he was dead

Every one of these guys could have lived if they had said just one statement: “He is dead.” But they refused because they knew He was alive!

Closing Argument

The resurrection of Christ answers at least 5 questions that we all have:

  1. The question of doubt
  1. The question of loneliness
  1. The question of weakness
  1. The question of guilt
  1. The question of death

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.  John 20:3-8