Why I Believe in the Resurrection
- Monday, April 05, 2004
Three: The Identity of Jesus Was Confirmed
The third reason I believe that Jesus rose from the dead is the identity of Jesus was confirmed. Not only do we need to ask did He really exist? Did He do those works? But you have to ask, who did He claim to be? Did Jesus think He was God? Yes, He did, and not only did Jesus believe that He was God, but throughout the New Testament others refer to Him as God.
Four: The Death of Jesus Was Undisputed
One of the central arguments used by critics claims that Jesus didn't die. They argue that He was given special herbs and spices and it only appeared as though He had died or that He had faked His death. Theories such as these are just not possible. In The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel interviews Dr. Alexander Metherell on the evidence behind the crucifixion. The details are gory and, at the same time, remarkable. Much of the following information is taken from that interview.
The night before His death, Jesus stayed up all night praying in the garden of Gethsemane. He was under such stress that a medical abnormality caused by a high degree of psychological stress called, hematidrosis occurred—Jesus sweat blood. Luke 22:44 reads, "And, being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground."
Flogging involves the use of a whip made of rawhide. In the middle of the rawhide are steel-like balls and at the very end of the rawhide are pieces of bone. The Roman executioners would put them on a pole and when flogging they would swing it so it would wrap around the body. The balls would hit and cause major contusions to the organs and then the pieces of bone would cut into the flesh. As it was pulled away it would rip the flesh right off.
Thirty-nine lashes was the legal limit because few individuals ever lived past thirty-nine lashes. Jesus received all thirty-nine and was within an inch of his life when the Roman guards beat Him with their fists.
He's up all night, He's within an inch of His life, and then He gets beat up. He's in such a weakened condition that He can hardly carry the beam of His own cross, and then He was crucified (Matthew 27:1).
Crucifixion causes a person to die from suffocation rather than pain. As the criminal's arms were up on the cross the executioners would bend his legs and put a nail between both ankles so that he could push up with his legs and pull himself up, but as he hung his arms would quickly dislocate.
Then tetanus would begin to happen and his arms would start to freeze. The criminal would pull himself up, as his internal organs would begin to slide down. Trying to get a breath compensated the pain of pulling himself up and he would ultimately suffocate.
It has been called historically one of the cruelest forms of torture and death ever devised. If that's not enough, they didn't break Jesus' legs to ensure that He was dead, they instead took a spear and they gashed into His side, and what's interesting is that it says when they gashed His side water and blood came out (John 19:34).
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