What is the scriptural evidence for Christ's Resurrection?
One of our guest speakers was Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of Reasoning From the Scriptures Ministries. With nearly 50 books penned and decades of public teaching, he is an expert on the Bible. As a former "Bible Answer Man," he specializes in easy to understand answers to the really tough questions about the Bible and the defense of the Scriptures.
Dr. Rhodes's topic at our conference was "The Truth of the Resurrection" (watch). He did a remarkable job in the following segment of explaining in C.S.I. fashion the best evidences for Christ's Resurrection.
Scriptural Evidences for Christ's Resurrection
I want to spend time on the scriptural evidence for Christ's Resurrection. I want to do this because these evidences will help you to answer some of the attacks against Christianity today. This is something that is so critically important because this topic has turned into a real huge battlefield in our day.
First of all, I want to point out that the Resurrection was predicted in both the Old and the New Testaments. For example, God says to the Son according to Psalm 2, "You are my son, today I have begotten you from the dead." Now, a lot of people think that means that Jesus was a created being, but that is false. The New Testament tells us what is meant by that verse, in fact, in Acts 13:33 we are told that the Father was speaking of the Resurrection of the Son from the dead. That is what the Father meant when he said, "You are my son today I have begotten you from the dead."
In Matthew 12:40 in the New Testament, Jesus is talking to some Jews. He says, "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days, and three nights in the heart of the earth." Jesus was crucified Friday evening, was dead all day Saturday, and then rose Sunday morning. According to the Jewish Talmud, each part of a day is part of the whole day. So, in Jewish reckoning, it was three full days. That is why Jesus spoke the way that He did.
We find predictions both in the Old and the New Testaments. By the way, we've got many, many dozens of predictions. If I gave you all of them I would be keeping you a long time. But, I do want to say that like all other prophecies in the Bible, these prophecies were literally fulfilled when Jesus was raised three days after His death.
The Resurrection was physical, bodily, and well attested by many witnesses. Now, why was the Resurrection well attested? Well, before it happened, what do you suppose a lot of people thought about this claim of Resurrection? "Yeah, right. Yeah, sure. Uh-huh, three days, yeah, I really believe that." To counter that, God made sure that there were many, many reliable witnesses who could see what was going on and verify without any shadow of a doubt that Jesus had resurrected from the dead.
I was thinking about a friend of mine who appeared on a television show, a big national television show. He is a Christian leader and he was sitting there talking about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Right in the middle of his discussion his cell phone went off, right there on television. Now, you want to know what the ring tone was? It was "Mission Impossible." God and His sovereignty must have a sense of humor. He's got to! Personally, I think it would be pretty cool if Jesus was coming out of the tomb right after He resurrected and you hear that song "Mission Impossible."
Jesus resurrected from the dead. With things that are impossible to human minds, it is easy for God. It is a piece of cake for God. From the human perspective the Resurrection is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Now here is a key evidence — the tomb was empty. All four Gospels attest to this. Jesus was buried, and the Romans put Him in there, rolled this big stone in front, and then put the Roman seal on the stone. The Roman seal wasn't something that you couldn't take down. In fact, if you just walked up to it with a little knife and cut part of it, it was the death penalty. You mess with the Roman seal and you get killed. The stone was moved a significant distance from the tomb like it had been plucked away by an angel. The seal was broken, the guards had fled, and the body was missing.
Furthermore, there were empty grave clothes in the tomb. If somebody was a thief wanting to steal the body they wouldn't do it that way. They wouldn't fold the head piece real nicely and lay it down in there in a separate spot. No thief would have done that. The whole evidence is there. If you had a C.S.I. investigator in there they would say, "Wow, this is pretty powerful evidence!"
In the next segment of Dr. Rhodes sermon on "The Truth of the Resurrection," we'll look at the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.