— Resurrection of Jesus Christ —

Brian Kuehmichel
July 28, 2003, Updated May 7, 2013

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Evidence for God — Resurrection of Jesus Christ

XII.  Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ



[Some astronomers claim to 'pinpoint time and date of crucifixion and resurrection' www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_778195.html]

A. Death must come before resurrection

1. Roman soldiers were trained to cruelly hurt the victim in scourging.

a. The third century historian Eusebius of Caesarea described flogging, "The sufferer's veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure."

b. Weakness and hypovolemic shock would occur to a victim of such trauma.

(1) Muscle spasms with weakness — unable to carry crossbeam (patibulum) very far.

(2) Thirst due to fluid loss — Jesus said "I thirst." on cross.

c. Open wounds would lead to blood loss and infection.

2. Roman soldiers were trained to kill and understand when death occurred by crucifixion.

a. Excruciating pain (term came from pain of crucifying) of nails driven through wrists with open bleeding wounds.

b. Dislocation of shoulders with stretched and torn muscles due to out-stretched arms with torso weight pulling down.

c. Slow suffocation and increasing carbon dioxide levels in bloodstream due to inability to adequately exhale.

d. Exhaustion due to painful effort to raise body on nailed feet to exhale and relax down again to inhale.

e. Decreased oxygen intake with increased carbon dioxide in bloodstream leads to cardiac arrythmia and failure.

f. Roman soldiers paid with their own life if anyone in their charge escaped.

3. The Centurion and his soldiers were certain Jesus had died by the final evidence of the spear thrust with body fluid discharge.

4. The disciples themselves were convinced of Jesus' death.

5. Scribes, Pharisees, Priests, High Priest, Sanhedrin rulers and many of the bloodthirsty crowd that yelled out "Crucify Him!" wanted Jesus' death and were sure to be satisfied regarding His death before he was removed from the cross.

6. The Centurion certified to Pilate (upon Joseph of Arimathea's request to remove the body and bury Jesus, Mark 15:45) who gave governmental certification (a defacto death certificate) regarding Jesus' death. The centurion would verify death with four different executioners (soldiers) in order to ensure himself of the validity of the death warrant as Roman law required. Note Acts 12:1-19

7. The process of removal from the cross, transport of the body and preparation of the body with burial wrapping by Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus (with possible helpers) gave additional verification of death.

8. Mary - Mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Mary - Mother of James were also witnesses at the crucifixion.

9. The time period in the tomb after wrapping tightly with graveclothes would ensure hypothermia and suffocation.

10. The Jewish leaders were persuaded of his death when denying his resurrection event and seeking a seal and guard at the tomb. (Matthew 28:11-15)

11. The two Angel's testimony at the tomb while speaking to the three women.

12. The Jewish Historians:

a. Talmud, b. Sanhedrin 43a: On the eve of the Passover Yeshu [Jesus] was hanged [or crucified]. ... Since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.

b. Flavius Josephus in Antiquities 18.3.3 says Jesus "was the Christ. When Pilate, upon the accusation of the first men amongst us, condemned him to be crucified, those who had formerly loved him did not cease to follow him, for he appeared to them on the third day, living again, as the divine prophets foretold, along with a myriad of other marvellous things concerning him."

c. The Amoa "Ulla" (Ulla was a disciple of Youchanan and lived in Palestine at the end of the third century) adds: "And do you suppose that for (Yeshu of Nazareth - Jesus) there was any right of appeal? He was a beguiler, and the Merciful One hath said: "Thou shalt not spare neither shalt thou conceal him." It is otherwise with Yeshu, for He was near to the civil authority."

13. The Roman Historians:

a. Cornelius Tacitus, Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate and the existence of early Christians in Rome in his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44: Christus ... was executed at the hands of the procurator Pontious Pilate.

b. Lucian of Samosata: (Christ was) the man who was crucified in Palestine.

14. Testimony before a crowd:

a. Peter speaking to the crowd at the Jewish Temple:
Acts 2:23 - "This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross."

b. Paul speaking:
Acts 13:29 - When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in the tomb.

15. Physicians concluded in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "Clearly, the weight of the historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted ... Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge. William D. Edwards et al., "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ," Journal of the American Medical Association (March 21, 1986), 1455-63."

B. The sealed and guarded tomb.

1. After request by Jewish leaders to ensure no human could tamper with the body: (See A. 3. & 6. above)

a. Pilate commanded the tomb to be sealed with a Roman seal.

b. Pilate commanded the placement of a guard of Roman soldiers.

2. On the morning of the resurrection the soldiers were terrified by an event beyond human power to withstand — the appearance, actions and power of an angel.

a. The earthquake timed with

b. The appearance of an angel descending from heaven with its description timed with

c. The breaking of the seal timed with

d. The moved stone along with

e. The shaking of the soldiers in fear at the sight of the angel and the supernatural events and

f. Their weakness sufficient to collapse and

g. The fact that trained Roman soldiers reported these things acknowledging their weakness and helplessness against this supernatural event.

3. The conversation of the angel with the women in the presence of the soldiers.

4. After the women departed, some of the soldiers went to tell the chief priests.

5. Part of the soldiers went to tell the chief priests of the event and described the angel and what the angel did.

6. The chief priests and elders taking counsel together and their actions to cover up the event by:

a. The subsequent bribing of the soldiers with a large sum of money and

b. Assurance of persuading the governor in case they came to trial.

C. Doubters had sufficient evidence in Christ's resurrection by His appearances to them and verified through: (See expansion of: Scriptures on the witnesses)

1. The two angels' witnesses.

a. At the tomb.

b. At the ascension.

2. Specific individual and group witnesses.

a. The guard soldiers.

b. Mary Magdalene and Mary - Mother of James, Joanna, Salome and other women at the tomb.

c. Mary Magdalene individually.

d. The two (Cleopas and another) on the road to Emmaus.

e. Simon Peter.

f. The 9 disciples and Peter with others in the upper room.

g. The 10 disciples and Thomas with any others in the upper room.

h. Seaside appearance to 7 disciples.

i. Above 500 disciples at one time.

j. Disciples at time of ascension.

k. Saul [later named Paul, along with other witnesses] on the road to Damascus.

3. Jesus' own witness or testimony.

a. At the tomb, amongst His disciples for 40 days up through His ascension.

b. In the Revelation to Apostle John.

D. The evidence surpasses the standard used in courts of law.

thenoblesearch.org/download/evdnc1.pdf page 18.

1. The earthquake, broken seal and rolled stone.

2. The collapsed wound graveclothes.

3. The empty tomb.

4. The Roman soldiers and doubting disciples as witnesses.

5. The actions of the chief priests.


6. The transformed doubters told what they saw and heard.

7. They declared the evidence in the face of persecution.

8. Those convinced by the evidence were willing to die for truths they believed.

http://www.christianity.co.nz/res-4.htm, christianity.about.com/od/easter/a/7-Proofs-Of-The-Resurrection.htm

E. Where is the record of evidence to contradict these evidences?

1. That he did not die?

2. That the body was stolen?

3. That His disciples did not see Him resurrected?

4. That His disciples were willing to suffer and die for a lie?

F. The miracle of ascension.

1. Observed by a multitude.

2. Testified by two angels.

G. The changed day of worship for Jewish believers from their Sabbath on the 7th day to the Lord's Day on the 1st day of the week.


H. The truth of the resurrection is the very content of the Christian message of salvation. [See a paper by Ben Stevens on the Resurrection of Jesus at: www.tektonics.org (in Word format).]

1. Supposing Jesus survived the events, how would Jesus' disciples be inspired to follow Him as Lord of life when He was scourged, crucified with shoulders dislocated, wrists and feet nailed, and in such pathetic condition without a supernatural resurrection and healing of His body?

2. The rapid growth of the Christian church was accomplished by telling others about the evidence supporting that Jesus is the Christ.

3. Is it possible that the original community of believers at Jerusalem could have been completely uninterested in the tomb where Jesus was laid after his death unless he was NOT there? 

I. This was stated in Old Testament prophecy long before it occured and Jesus also told his disciples about His coming rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection during His last several weeks of life!

See: Messianic Prophecies & Series: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

J. Other evidence for Christ's resurrection.

1. The focus on the Memorial of the Last Supper and His Resurrection replacing Passover for Jewish believers.

2. Christian art in catacombs of Rome portraying the resurrection.

3. Resurrected Christ poured out His spirit giving miracle working power to early believers.

4. Worldwide Christian Church through evangelism beginning at Jerusalem.

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