A class taught at MIT by John Oakes, PhD 10/17/09. See below for notes. See EFC store for the recording.
The Resurrection of Jesus
Q: Is it logical to believe that Jesus was raided from the dead?
Q: Why is this important?
1. If Jesus was in fact raised from the dead, this validates all his claims. If not…..
2. It explains a lot
The changed character of the apostles
The zeal and growth of the early church.
3. It proves that there is life after death! Acts 17:30 Therefore… all people everywhere to repent… he has set a day… he has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.
4. If not, then Christianity is foolishness. Either the basic claims of Christianity are true or they are not. If Jesus was not raised, the entire thing falls apart. 1 Cor. 15:13f If there is no resurrection…
If Jesus was resurrected then a response is required.
If not, then "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."
The background UNDENIABLE FACTS:
1. Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem under the orders of Pontius Pilalte.
-Talmud (RFB p. 64) "On the eve of the Passover, they hanged
2. The resurrection was publicly proclaimed, beginning in Jerusalem,
immediately after the fact.
-Every piece of evidence proves that the resurrection has been at
the heart of Christian teaching from the first sermon. Why do
Christians meet on Sunday?
3. The tomb was empty on the third day. This is a fact. If the tomb had
not been empty, then the resurrection would not have been
Here is the question: What is the most reasonable explanation of the facts?
Remember, the conclusion that the resurrection happened requires strong evidence. David Hume: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."
Q: Who in the first centuries had the greatest stake in disproving the resurrection of Jesus? The Jews. What theory did they use?
I The Stolen Body Theory
The reason the tomb was empty is that his body was stolen from the tomb.
Q: Who would have stolen the body?
Q: Could they have stolen the body?
Q: Did they, in fact, steal the body?
Matthew 27:62-66 A large boulder, a Roman guard. The Jews did not want anyone stealing this body!!!!
Would the Jews have stolen the body? They could have afforded the bribe. Why? What motive?
Even if they did, they would immediately have produced the body once the church claimed the resurrection.
Would the Christians have stolen the body? Definitely not! They were in hiding. The were defeated, discouraged, depressed, fearful of further reprisals.
Could they have? Defeat a cohort of Roman soldiers?
Would this battle go unnoticed? Where are the bodies of the Christians?
Besides, the disciples clearly believed in the resurrection. Many died for this belief.
Would the Romans have stolen the body? Why? Cause a riot/insurrection? Nonsense!
The biggest reason to reject this theory:
500 eyewitnesses!!!!! Jesus was alive after he was laid in the tomb.
1 Cor. 15:3-7.
Paul: if you do not believe it, just ask one of them. Most of them are alive.
These were very high quality witnesses. All would have died for Jesus. It is absolutely inconceivable that they were deceived.
Compare to the original witnesses to the golden tablets for the book of Mormon…
This theory is absolutely insupportable.
II The Swoon Theory.
Yes, they Crucified Jesus and yes, he was laid in the tomb (after all the tomb was sealed by a Roman guard), but Jesus had not really died. Later on in the cave he revived, broke free of his bandages, dusted himself off, rolled away the giant stone and fought his way through a cohort of Roman guards.
"The Passover Plot."
Think about Jesus’ physical situation. By Sun AM,
No food or water over 48 hours
Beaten almost to death
When a person dies on the cross they hang limp. Suffocation occurs within 2-3 minutes. End of story.
The Romans were experts in killing. Could they have been mistaken?
He was almost nude. His body was cold and becoming stiff.
The real problem: John 19:31-35.
Note, a flow of blood and water. The blood serum had separated from the platelets. Happens soon after death.
Jesus was definitely dead before being stabbed. (John would not have known this fact that the blood separates)
Next, wrapped tightly in many layers of cloth strips from head to foot.
Then given a fatal wound after being killed.
III The mass hallucination theory.
First the women who went to the tomb, then Peter and John, then the apostles, including doubting Thomas (Luke 24:36-43), then over 500 eyewitnesses at the same time had a mass hallucination that Jesus was alive.
•1. This is impossible.
•2. Besides, the tomb was empty. This does not remove this problem.
•3. Hallucinations do not eat fish. (John 21:13)
This theory cannot be taken seriously!!!
Bottom line, there is no other explanation of the facts. Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
Jesus’ claim to be the son of God and to be the Messiah is validated.
There is life after death.
There will be a judgment day.
You need to repent.