Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen

The message this morning was excellent. Taken from 1 Cor. 15:1-19, Pastor Mark took a historical view of how Christ's contemporaries viewed the Resurrection.

1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

After Jesus was murdered, something happened to a number of people that transformed them from quaking, frightened fugitives to lions of the faith. His most vocal disciple, Peter, had already denied Him three times; the other disciples were hiding behind locked doors.
What happened was the Resurrection; God's tranforming power restored a rotting, stinking, blotted corpse (He was dead three days, trust me on this one) and it was the sight of a resurrected Jesus that brought new life and conviction to formerly shattered and scattered disciples.

5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

What they saw convinced them to die horrible deaths rather than to forsake their belief. They did not see a Jesus who had "swooned" and then regained consciousness inside a cave. First of all, Jesus was brutally scrouged by a flagellum that produced horrific wounds. This was done to inflict very serious physical injury on a condemned prisoner so he would die relatively quickly during his crucifixion. Without this torture and the resultant shock, a prisoner could last for days on a cross.

Once Jesus appeared to be dead, a soldier thurst a spear into his side. Seeing the blood and water that issued forth, the soldier - no stranger to executions - knew that Jesus was dead. Jesus was then wrapped in burial cloths and placed in a sarcophogus where his body would rot for about a year after which which his bones would be placed in an ossuary.

6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Paul here is writing of what appears to be common knowledge to the residents of Jerusalem. Jesus was seen by many people, not just His disciples.

Interesting enough, there is nothing that contests this account from the Romans. There are many documents from this time that have been discovered, but nothing that directly refutes the accounts of the disciples. Josephus writes of Jesus in his Antiquities of the Jews (approx. 90 AD):

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

This account by Josephus was almost universally accepted for many centuries.

Now the resurrection is being questioned by alleged "objective" investigators who claim that Jesus was not God, but merely another mortal who died like everyone else. There was a Discovery Channel special, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" that aired in 2007. The producers, Simcha Jacobovici and James Cameron, claim that Jesus' burial place was found in Jerusalem and his bones have been recovered. This is not a documentary, it is a Michael Moorish piece of speculative nonsense. The scientists who were interviewed for this pice of rot have responded with disgust how they were manipulated by the producers and how many statements were taken out of context.

A counterpiece, The Jesus Tomb Unmasked, shows how bias and poor science shaped the false claims that Jesus' tomb has been discovered. This movie is free on line or a DVD can be purchased from Amazon for $7. It offers a reality-based view of how liberals distort the truth in order to push their agenda.

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