The Great Resurrection Hoax

I still remember the knot in the pit of my 20-year-old stomach.1824065

My faith was being challenged, along with the notion that Jesus had actually risen from the dead.  And I didn’t have any answers that satisfied my challenger – or that satisfied me.  It seemed that the resurrection of Jesus was either the greatest hoax ever or the greatest single historical event ever.  And I needed to find out which one it was.

Here is some of what I uncovered, both from the Bible and from non-Biblical documents, that set my heart ablaze and gave my faith bedrock conviction:

1.  Roman guard – How could the team of Roman guards, for whom failure meant the death penalty, have let anyone steal the body?  And if the guards stole it, why didn’t they just produce it and kill the Christian faith before it ever got started?

2.  Large stone moved away – How did the 1½- to 2-ton stone in front of the tomb get rolled up hill?

3.  Empty tomb – Why would both Jewish and Roman sources admit to an empty tomb if they had not in fact verified that the tomb was empty?  And if they had the body, why didn’t they produce it and put an abrupt end to all this resurrection talk?

4.  Broken Roman seal – How was the Roman seal, which stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire, broken?  And if the FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire set out to catch those who were responsible, why did they come up empty-handed?

5.  Grave clothes – How did Jesus emerge from his grave clothes and from the 100-pound gummy substance that held the grave clothes together?  

6.  Over 500 witnesses – What do you say in the face of over 500 witnesses who claim to have seen the resurrected Jesus in bodily form on several different occasions?

7.  Martyred apostles – Perhaps most compelling, why would eleven of Jesus’ twelve apostles (excluding John who was exiled to the island of Patmos) all independently die a horrific death as a martyr for their faith in the risen Christ if they knew the resurrection was merely a hoax?

Assessing whether Jesus’ resurrection is hoax or history has greater impact than perhaps any other assessment one can make.  

For if Jesus rose from the dead, then He must be who He claimed to be.

     And if He is who He claimed to be, then He must be God.

          And if He is God, then His claim to be the exclusive way to salvation has validity.

               And if He is God, then He has authority over my life. 

What do you say?  Was the resurrection a hoax, or was it history?  Perhaps even more important, what are you going to do about it?

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