Why I Believe in the Resurrection
- Monday, April 05, 2004
Five: The Burial of Jesus Was Public and Secured
As the evidence for Jesus' divinity mounts critics try to disprove as many theories as they can. The two most popular stories critics use to invalidate the resurrection are that the disciples went to the wrong tomb and secondly, that the disciples stole the body.
First, let's examine the facts. The tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin (the High Counsel), who was a dissenting vote on the decision to crucify Jesus. He was a high profile wealthy man whose tomb was prominent; people knew where it was. Foremost, the disciples would not have gone to the wrong tomb, because they were the very ones who wrapped Jesus' body for burial and placed Him in the tomb (John 19:38).
Additionally, guards were placed at this tomb. Roman Guards were put there because the authorities had heard rumblings about Jesus' teachings and that He claimed He was going to come back from the dead (Matthew 27:63). Roman guards knew their job as militia and, if they fell asleep on the job, their lives were at stake. In addition to the guards, the authorities put a seal on the tomb and breaking a Roman seal was an offense punishable by death. This was a very serious, very guarded, ‘follow all the right procedures', burial. Never had a criminal give so much worry after his execution. Above all, never had a crucified man had the honour of being guarded by a squad of soldiers.
His burial is convincing beyond a shadow of the doubt; convincing in that the preponderance of the evidence points to the fact that He was dead and that He rose from the dead? See the question is: are there hard facts, hard facts that you could put in any court of law then or now that really prove and demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt, or is this resurrection just wishful thinking? Let's look at some more evidence.
Six: The Evidence for His Resurrection is Convincing
Old Testament prophets predicted both the resurrection and Jesus' entire life—it wasn't new. Hundreds of years prior to these events they were prophesied, predicted if you will. It was predicted that His side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10, fulfilled John 19:34), His heart broken (Psalms 22:14 fulfilled John 19:34), His bones left unbroken (Psalms 34:20, fulfilled John 19:33) and that He would be buried in a rich man's tomb (Isaiah 53:9, fulfilled Matthew 27:45). These are just a few of over 300 Old Testament predictions that Jesus fulfilled.
Not only that but Jesus predicted openly and numerously that He would die on the cross and rise again three days later (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 17:9, Matthew 17:22, Matthew 20:18, Mark 9:10, John 2:18, Luke 9:22). It was public, it was known. Jesus made this claim and held onto His intentions.
He also appeared twelve different times to well over five hundred witnesses after He rose from the dead. He appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:14), the women returning from the tomb (Matthew 28:9), Peter (Luke 24:34), the Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13), the apostles (John 20:26), James (1 Corinthians 1:7), and to the group of 500 believers on a Galilean mountain (1 Corinthians 1:6) just to name a few.
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