Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Brian Kuehmichel
April 2, 2012, expanded 5/14/2012, 4/7/2015

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Table of Contents



John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Luke 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.




The Death of Jesus Christ

The witnesses of Christ's death include: the chief priests, with the scribes and elders; Roman soldiers and their Centurion; two thieves; two other malefactors; they that passed by; Joseph of Arimathaea; also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; all his acquaintance [disciples]; at least two angels; and God himself.

Scriptures on scourging:

Matthew 27:22-26 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

John 19:1-3 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

Luke 23:26-27 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

Roman Scourging at roman-colosseum.info and Roman Scourging at en.wikipedia.org


Outline - part 1

I.   Death of Jesus Christ

A.  Death must come before resurrection

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

a.  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.

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

See expanded outline here: Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Scriptures on crucifixion and death:

Matthew 27:31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

John 19:16-18 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

Mark 15:24-25 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

John 19:23-24 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Luke 23:32-33 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

Matthew 27:33-38 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Matthew 27:41-44 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

Mark 15:29-33 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Mark 15:34 & 37 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice ...
37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.

Luke 23:44-48 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

Matthew 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Matthew 27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him [his soldiers], watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done [darkness and earthquake], they feared greatly [Roman soldiers feared], saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

Luke 23:46-48 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

Mark 15:39-41 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.

John 19:31-34 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

Matthew 27:55-56 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children.

Luke 23:49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

Matthew 27:57-60 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

Mark 15:43-46 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

Luke 23:50-53 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

John 19:39-42 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Matthew 27:59-60 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

Luke 23:55-56 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Matthew 28:5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

John 20:11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain [in death].

Mark 16:5-6 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Roman Crucifixion at roman-colosseum.info and Roman Crucifixion at en.wikipedia.org


Outline - part 2

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 body and bury Jesus) who gave governmental certification (a defacto death certificate) regarding Jesus' death.

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 circulatory constriction and immobilization leading to hypothermia and suffocation.

10.  The Jewish leaders were persuaded of his death when denying his resurrection event. (Matthew 28:11-15)

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

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.

See expanded outline here: Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Scriptures on the sealed tomb:

Matthew 27:62-66 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Matthew 28:1-7 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Squelching evidence to give false testimony

Matthew 28:11-15 Now when they were going [the women returning from the tomb], behold, some of the watch [of Roman soldiers] came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. (See Punishments of a Roman soldier at heading Army Discipline: http://www.roman-empire.net/army/army.html )


Outline - part 3

II.  Resurrection of Jesus Christ

1.  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.

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

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

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

5.  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.

See expanded outline here: Resurrection of Jesus Christ


See: Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by William Lane Craig at: http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth22.html

(To read Scripture references in another version, Click Here for BibleGateway.com)
http://bible.gospelcom.net/


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