According to Websters Dictionary, the word truth is defined as“the body of real things, events and facts”. Also defined as “God”.
Wait a second. The definition itself clearly states that truth must be proven through facts, therefore God cannot possibly be truth.
Today we will be putting God on trial with you as the jury and our society today as the Prosecutors. The question that must be answered is whether it possible to prove the existence of God?
Since Jesus himself claimed to be God in the form of mankind we will be determining truth through his supposed life, death and resurrection from the dead.
In order to prove if Jesus of Nazareth truly rose for the dead, we must first discover if he truly lived.
Was Jesus a actual person?
To prove the existence of Christ we use two main sources, the first being the Bible.
The New Testament gospels are biographies of the life of Christ from the view points of four eyewitnesses, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Yet how can we trust these ancient documents after all they are nearly 2 thousand years old and have been copied countless times over?
In order to determine the reliability of historical documents, historians compare these writings to those of other reliable texts. This is done through two test. First by discovering how many ancient manuscript copies are still remaining which can then be compared to those of today’s documents, and second be measuring the time gap between the oldest remaining copy and the original text.
According to tough questions answered .org, one of the most recognized reliable documents is that of Homers Iliad. This historical text has almost 1,800 ancient copies and has a time gap of only 400 years between it’s original. To compare this to the New Testament we find that there are over 16 thousand ancient copies available with a time gap of only 40 years.
Comparing to Reliable Historical Writers
Yet these testimonies on there own cannot stand due to the fact that the writers are Christians and would therefore be considered to have prejudice options. In order to truly know if Christ existed we must find further evidence from other sources to confirm the accuracy of these Christian based writings.
But are there any non-Christian documentations of the life of Christ?
In his book A Ready Defense, Josh McDowell reveals multiple reliable historians who wrote on the life of Christ through their non Christian views. In these documents we find the story of Christ’s life, death, and his supposed resurrection from the dead.
These two sources, from New Testament eyewitnesses and non Christians alike, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was truly a living historical figure.
Now that the life of Christ has been proven we must discover the truth of His death.
Did Jesus Truly Die?
Beyond the testimonies of the documents we have already covered, actual evidence of Jesus’s death by crucifixion is necessary. After all if Christ did not truly die but instead simply faked his death, then the resurrection story is immediately disproved.
Again in His book A Ready Defense, Josh McDowell tells of the procedures involved in crucifixion.
It was customary as in the case of Christ, to be whipped after being sentenced to death. According to Jewish law, 40 Lashings would kill a person and therefore was illegal to inflict more than that number. However, the Romans had no such limitations. Their only restrictions was that the prisoner still be alive and able to carry their own cross. The fact that Jesus was indeed unable to carry His cross is proof that even these restrictions were not followed.
The idea behind the crucifixion is suffocation and exhaustion. The condemned prisoner would be placed on a beam and nailed into place by his hand and feet. These tools that held him agents gravity’s pull would be his only means of breathing. In the position that one would hang on a cross, the rib-cage is unable to exhale. The only way to take the siltiest breath is to push agents the nail in ones feet and pull on those in ones hands till they are just able to let out a gasp of air then drop back to their position of suffocation.
This process would continue until the condemned was either exhausted to the point they can no longer pull themselves up, or the Roman guards put an end to the struggle by breaking the prisoner’s knees.
In Jesus’s case there was no need to have his knees broken for he was already pronounced dead by the time the Romans chose to put an end the crucifixion.
In order insure that Christ truly was dead, a solder priced him through the side with a spear. Out of this wound blood and water flowed forth, which medical exports today now determine is the result of a ruptured heart.
The Romans were masters when it came to their ability to kill and to kill effectively.
There is no possible way that Jesus could have survived crucifixion.
With the life and death of Christ proven, it is finally the moment to prove or disprove the actual resurrection of Christ from the dead.
Did Jesus Rise From The Dead
Was the tomb empty?
If there were a body then there obviously could be no resurrection. Besides the accounts of the women and apostles who went to the tomb, the undeniable proof that there was most defiantly no body to be found comes from the priest and Romans themselves.
On the third day after Christ’s burial, the followers of Jesus were accused by the leaders of that time to have stolen the body of Christ. Why would these leaders say that the body was stolen if it were actually in the tomb? Such an accusations clearly state that the tomb was most defiantly empty.
Then where was the body?
There are two common explanations.
First, the Priest and leaders took the body to keep the followers of Christ from stealing it and claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead.
The obvious problem with this answer is what the leaders would have done if they truly had the corps of Christ. If they had indeed taken body then why did they not revealed it when the rummer of Christ resurrection began to spread? This one act would have put an end to Christianity once and for all, yet no body was ever revealed.
The second is that the disciples did in fact steal the body, making up the entire story themselves. There are multiple problems with this answer, the greatest though being the lives and the deaths of the disciples themselves.
I will admit that in my life time I have told a lie or two to make myself look better or get myself out of trouble, but I can assure you I have never once in my life told a lie to make myself look bad and certainly not to get myself into trouble. If the disciples truly did make the resurrection story up then what did they get out of it? Fame, Fortune? How bout torture and death. It is true that throughout history people have died for lies that they believed to be true, but it is an obvious fact that no one would ever die for something they knew to be a lie.
Whether or not one believes that the resurrection is true or not, the fact that the early Christians wholeheartedly believe it, is an undeniable fact.
Yet this was not always the case. When Jesus was taken to be tried, his followers fled, leaving their leader to his fate. And three days after his death, these men were still hiding in fear for their lives. What changed in these men to make them go form frightened cowards to instantly filled with hope and boldness to the point that each and everyone of them laid down their own lives willingly for the cause of Christ?
An even more compelling testimony is that of two men who despised the teaching of Jesus and all who stood for him. James the brother of Jesus and Paul the persecutor of Christians, openly ridiculed and even killed followers of Christ. That is until they claimed to have seen the risen Savior themselves. After these appearances, these two men dedicated their entire lives to spreading of the gospel.
The testimonies of the disciples and of these two men are clear evidence that something most definitely accrued to change their perspective on all of life. The question is, what was it?
When people say that they don’t believe in the resurrection of Christ, my question for them is what better answer can you give? Jesus foretold his resurrection so that there could be no doubt as to who He truly was. There are over 500 witnesses of the resurrection recorded in the New Testament alone. If what these people saw was not the resurrected Christ then I ask you what was it?
Before I leave you today I wish to answer one last question and then leave you with one to answer yourself. Why did Christ rise form the dead? What significance is there in this miracle?
The answer is to prove to the world who he truly was and to give us hope. You see, Jesus Christ died to give you life and rose to give you hope. My question for you is this. What will you do with the evidence, what will you do with this truth, and what will you do with this hope?
I rest my case.