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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Resurrection Proofs

By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
I.  Introduction.
    A.  The resurrection of Jesus is decisive.
        1.  Jesus either rose from the dead or he did not.
            a.  If he rose from the dead, he is all he claimed to be.
                (1)  "Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the 
                     seed of David according to the flesh; And 
                     declared to be the Son of God with power, 
                     according to the spirit of holiness, by the 
                     resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:3-4).
                (2)  The resurrection proves or disproves his claims.
            b.  If he did not "present himself to be alive by many 
                infallible proofs" after he was dead, then he is an 
        2.  The Christian system turns on the question of the 
    B.  The resurrection of Jesus can be tested.
        1.  If it passes the test, it is true.
        2.  If it does not pass the test, it is false.
II.  Claims For and Against the Resurrection of Jesus From the dead.
     A.  Items of agreement.
         1.  Jesus lived.
             a.  A few misguided souls claim that no such person as 
                 Jesus ever lived, but the vast majority of credible 
                 witnesses say he did live.
                 (1)  The gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
                      John, are the most credible witnesses of Jesus' 
                 (2)  Philo and Josephus are the second most credible 
                      witnesses of Jesus life.
                 (3)  All history records the fact that Jesus lived at 
                      about the time ascribed to him in the Bible.  No 
                      first century historian denies that he lived.
             b.  The evidence that Jesus lived is overwhelming and 
         2.  Jesus was crucified.
             a.  The fact of the death of Jesus is well attested by 
                 both secular and sacred writers.
             b.  The claim of his crucifixion was made by Matthew, 
                 Mark, Luke, and John within 40 years of the event and 
                 during the lifetime of many who would have had 
                 firsthand (eyewitness) knowledge of his execution by 
                 Roman authorities, but at Jewish insistence.
             c.  No person of the time disputed the reported 
         3.  The body of Jesus was buried.
             a.  Information about the burial was given by friends of 
                 Jesus as they wrote his biography.
             b.  The burial is confirmed by writers in the second 
                 century.  Many of these writers were personally 
                 acquainted with the apostles and would have had the 
                 report of eyewitnesses to the burial.
             c.  Again, this was not disputed.
         4.  On the morning of the third day the body was missing.
             a.  The friends of Jesus said that he rose from the dead.
             b.  The enemies of Jesus said the body was stolen.
                 (1)  The witnesses of the theft of the body were the 
                      Roman soldiers on guard at the tomb where the 
                      body was placed after the crucifixion.
                 (2)  The soldiers claim to have been asleep when the 
                      body was stolen.
                 (3)  If true, how could they have known what happened 
                      to the body?
                 (4)  Such testimony would be laughed out of any 
                      court, including the court of public opinion.
     B.  Position of the friends of Jesus. 
         1.  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I 
             preached unto you, which also ye have received, and 
             wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep 
             in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have 
             believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all 
             that which I also received, how that Christ died for our 
             sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, 
             and that he rose again the third day according to the 
             scriptures:  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the 
             twelve:  After that, he was seen of above five hundred 
             brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto 
             this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he 
             was seen of James; then of all the apostles.  And last of 
             all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due 
             time" (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
         2.  The witnesses could not have been mistaken
             a.  They knew him well before his death.
                 (1)  They ate and drank with him, walked and talked 
                      with him prior to his death.
                 (2)  The disciples were slow to believe in the 
              b.  They were intimately associated with him after his 
                  (1)  They ate and drank with him, walked and talked 
                       with him, and examined his crucifixion wounds 
                       after the alleged resurrection.
                  (2)  Their slowness to believe he was risen denies a 
                       conspiracy to deceive.
               c.  If the witnesses lied, they knew they lied.  They 
                   could not have been mistaken as to the 
           3.  The witnesses did not bear false witness to the world 
               about the resurrection of Jesus.
               a.  Hundreds of people were involved as witnesses 
                   (above 500 at once on one occasion).  Not one 
                   witness recanted.
               b.  Their testimony was not impeached by their 
                   (1)  They did not wait many years before claiming a 
                   (2)  They began immediately to say that Jesus was 
                        risen from he dead.
                   (3)  The claim of the resurrection was first made 
                        in Jerusalem, the place of the crucifixion and 
                        it was made to the very people who could have 
                        repudiated the claim if it had been false.
               c.  Every earthly interest they had was jeopardized by 
                   their claim of a resurrection.
               d.  They were persecuted for their claim, but sealed 
                   their testimony of the resurrection with their 
                   (1)  "Are they Hebrews? so am I.  Are they 
                        Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of 
                        Abraham? so am I.  Are they ministers of 
                        Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in 
                        labors more abundant, in stripes above 
                        measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths 
                        oft.  Of the Jews five times received I forty 
                        stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with 
                        rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered 
                        shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in 
                        the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of 
                        waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by 
                        mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, 
                        in perils in the city, in perils in the 
                        wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils 
                        among false brethren; In weariness and 
                        painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and 
                        thirst, in fastings often, in cold and 
                        nakedness" (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
                   (2)  Similar sufferings to those of Paul were 
                        endured by all the apostles.
               e.  Countless thousands boldly and confidently endured 
                   indescribable agony, torture, and death because of 
                   their belief that Jesus rose from the dead.
           4.  Would a sane person endure such things for something he 
               knew to be wrong?
               a.  Millions have died for a false cause, but few have 
                   died for a cause they knew to be false.
               b.  When so large a number suffer so completely and so 
                   grandly, it must be conceded they were possessed of 
                   a powerful conviction.  They believed fully in the 
                   truth of the resurrection of Jesus, otherwise so 
                   many would not have paid so great a price for their 
               c.  If they lied, they knew they lied; but they could 
                   not have lied in view of the price they paid for 
                   their claim that Jesus rose from the dead.
               d.  We are compelled to the conclusion that Jesus, 
                   after he was dead, "showed himself to be alive" 
                   again, "by many infallible proofs."
     C.  The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the best and most 
         fully established fact in all of history.
         1.  "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an 
             apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he 
             promised afore through his prophets in the holy 
             scriptures, concerning his Son, who was born of the seed 
             of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be 
             the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of 
             holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus 
             Christ our Lord" (Romans 1:1-4).
         2.  "But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning 
             them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the 
             rest, who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus 
             died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen 
             asleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say 
             unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, 
             that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no 
             wise precede them that are fallen asleep.  For the Lord 
             himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the 
             voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and 
             the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are 
             alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught 
             up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so 
             shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one 
             another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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