leestrobel #thecaseforchrist #easter
JESUS WAS DEAD
Did Jesus die on the cross? Was he dead? Virtually every scholar on planet Earth concedes that Jesus was dead after crucifixion. We have no record of anyone, anywhere, ever surviving a full Roman crucifixion. Even the Journal of the American Medical Association publish a peer reviewed reviewed scientific medical study of the evidence for the death of Jesus and said, “Clearly the weight of the evidence indicates that Jesus was dead even before the wound was inflicted.” Even the atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdeman says, “Historically it’s indisputable that Jesus was dead.” So, Jesus was dead.
EARLY ACCOUNTS FOR THE RESURRECTION
The second category of evidence is the early accounts we have for the resurrection. In other words, I used to think is an atheist that the resurrection was a legend and that took a long time to develop in the ancient world. What I learned is that we have preserved for us a creed of the earliest Christian Church. A creed that is an eyewitness-based report of the resurrection of Jesus. Now this creed has been dated back by scholars to within months of the death of Jesus — within months. That is historical gold. So, we’ve got a news flash from ancient history on the resurrection.
THE EMPTY TOMB
The best evidence for the empty tomb is even the opponents of Jesus implicitly admitted the tomb was empty. When the disciples began proclaiming that Jesus had risen what the opponent said was, “The disciples stole the body.” They’re conceding that the tomb was empty, they’re just trying to explain how it got empty. So, everybody’s conceding that the tomb was empty. How it got empty is the real issue, and that goes to the fourth category of evidence, which is eyewitnesses.
THERE WERE EYEWITNESSES
For most of what we know about ancient history, it comes from one or maybe two sources of information and yet for the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus, we have no fewer than 9 ancient sources inside and outside the New Testament confirming and corroborating the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the risen
Christ. That is an avalanche of a historical data.
So, you put all that together and you have a really good case for Easter.