Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jesus truly died

I Corinthians 15 "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."

How do we now that Jesus truly died and rose from the dead?
I have often used Hank Hanegraaff's acronym F.E.A.T. from his excellent book "Resurrection"

F    Fatal Torment: Jesus truly died on the cross (no swoon theory), the Romans knew what they were doing, all ancient sources confirm this (Josephus & Tactis), the vast majority to modern scholars (even liberal) don't deny Jesus died

E    Empty Tomb: If Jesus did not raise from the dead where is His body? Who rolled the stone away? Who drove off the Roman soldiers? (offense punishable by death) Why would the disciples take His body? What did they have to gain to claim He rose? (horrible deaths & universal hatred?). Amazing how the Jewish leaders made up story of the disciples stealing the body is still the most prevalent explanation of those who do not believe.

A    Appearances: I Corinthians passage above was written by 50 AD, at the most 20 years after the death of Jesus - most of the eyewitnesses were still alive! Paul says just go and ask them - even 500 at one time! Even Jesus greatest enemy Saul saw the risen Lord. Mass hallucinations? Hypnosis? A Twin? Are all utterly ridiculous hypothesis that have been put forward to explain the appearances.

T    Transformation: I always think this is the clincher. The absolute and undeniable transformation of the disciples from scared, hopeless, totally defeated followers of a dead man to bold witnesses that all gave their lives for Jesus. Why? Only one reasonable explanation: They saw Jesus die and they saw Him come back! No one has ever explained this away. Deniers of the resurrection must account for this and the rapid worldwide rise of Christianity.

So next time this Easter season when someone asks you about the resurrection remember FEAT!

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