resurrection in question?

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. school of ministry and missions instructor. president of fistbump media, llc.

July 10, 2008

I recently came across an article from the New York Times that talks about an ancient tablet that speaks of a Messiah that will be resurrected three days after He is killed. This apparently has sparked some controversy over the validity of the claims of Christianity that Jesus died and rose again on the third day.

Resurrected Jesus, resurrection, easterThis got me to thinking about what all of this means. First, check out the article…

Published: July 6, 2008
The writing on an ancient stone may contribute to a re-evaluation of popular and scholarly views of Jesus.

Could the resurrection of Jesus actually be in question? But if it didn’t happen, then where would we have gotten all of the cool pictures of Jesus coming out of the empty tomb? And what would happen to the Easter bunny?

Seriously, the idea of the resurrected Jesus is fundamental to the belief system of all of Christianity. To call it into question is to call our entire theology into question. Without the resurrection, then this whole thing is just a fad that will pass. So, while looking into all of this, I came across some other thoughts on the topic.

Was the resurrection something that was prophesied in the Old Testament? Apparently not. The references and scriptural support for a resurrection (specifically after three days) is pretty weak. Michael Gleghorn of Probe Ministries points out the lack of prophecy on this, and points out that this must have been partly why Jesus’ disciples had a hard time understanding His own predictions about the resurrection.

This then contradicts the point that some of the scholars in the article pointed out about the idea of a resurrected Messiah (after three days) was common knowledge at the time. Regardless, this only brings up a couple of questions in my mind…

  1. Even if it was common knowledge, does that mean that it didn’t happen? Jesus’ disciples all ended up risking their lives for the message. What would they have had to gain by building this movement on a lie?
  2. Is it possible that the writing is actually a prophetic message itself that was never included in the Biblical writings? Certainly not all of the prophesies ever given are a part of the Bible. Could this have been a legitimate prophecy that accurately foretold the coming Messiah?

When I think of the movement that the resurrection of Jesus has caused, I see something that has literally affected every society for the last 2,000 years. It is hard for me to believe that if it were all a sham that so many people throughout history would be affected by it. If I made up a story right now about someone dying and coming back to life, and even if I made national news trying to share my story, it might swing a few people for a short time, but I doubt that 2,000 years from now (let alone 1 year from now) that people would care much about it.

I believe that the resurrection is real, because of the impact that it has had in my own life. I have also personally seen many other lives restored as they have come to know Jesus for themselves. It reminds me of a verse that I love…

Now in the present case let me say to you, stand off (withdraw) from these men and let them alone. For if this doctrine or purpose or undertaking or movement is of human origin, it will fail (be overthrown and come to nothing); but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop or overthrow or destroy them; you might even be found fighting against God!
Acts 5:38-39 (Amplified)

But I want to know what you think. How does stuff like this challenge and/or confirm your faith? What do you believe about the resurrection? Does the discovery of this tablet change your views in any way?

 

recommended resource: The Case for Christ: The Film, DVD (70 minutes)

 

8 Comments

  1. Mike King

    I just finished reading Lee Stroble’s “A Case for Christ” and he explores many views and debated questions about the truth of Christ and his resurrection. I had no doubt in my mind because of experiential evidence in my own life that he was resurrected and the book hammers all the skeptics views from a journalistic view with interviews of experts in every area of question. I’d highly recommended this book, as it has strengthened my faith in Jesus and his resurrection even more!

    Reply
  2. Mike King

    I just finished reading Lee Stroble’s “A Case for Christ” and he explores many views and debated questions about the truth of Christ and his resurrection. I had no doubt in my mind because of experiential evidence in my own life that he was resurrected and the book hammers all the skeptics views from a journalistic view with interviews of experts in every area of question. I’d highly recommended this book, as it has strengthened my faith in Jesus and his resurrection even more!

    Reply
  3. Mike King

    I just finished reading Lee Stroble’s “A Case for Christ” and he explores many views and debated questions about the truth of Christ and his resurrection. I had no doubt in my mind because of experiential evidence in my own life that he was resurrected and the book hammers all the skeptics views from a journalistic view with interviews of experts in every area of question. I’d highly recommended this book, as it has strengthened my faith in Jesus and his resurrection even more!

    Reply
  4. BibleDude

    Thanks for the recommendation on the book! I have it on my bookshelf right now, and it is currently on the next big priorities on my list. I think that having a strong apologetic is important for every Christian. I also think that it is amazing that some of the greatest evidence is the testimonies in our own lives!

    Thanks for sharing Mike! Keep it coming!

    Reply
  5. BibleDude

    Thanks for the recommendation on the book! I have it on my bookshelf right now, and it is currently on the next big priorities on my list. I think that having a strong apologetic is important for every Christian. I also think that it is amazing that some of the greatest evidence is the testimonies in our own lives!

    Thanks for sharing Mike! Keep it coming!

    Reply
  6. BibleDude

    Thanks for the recommendation on the book! I have it on my bookshelf right now, and it is currently on the next big priorities on my list. I think that having a strong apologetic is important for every Christian. I also think that it is amazing that some of the greatest evidence is the testimonies in our own lives!

    Thanks for sharing Mike! Keep it coming!

    Reply
  7. Daniel Darling

    The best work I’ve seen on this is Chapter 13 of Tim Keller’s A Reason for God. It’s a summary of N.T. Wright’s work, The Resurrection of the Son of God, which is 800 pages long, but is the most modern scholarly work on it. Bottom line: the circumstantial evidence for the Resurrection is very, very compelling.

    Reply
    • Dan King

      I’ll have to check that one out… I love Keller and Wright! I actually wrote this post nearly five years ago, and have since seen some great stuff on the topic. I still feel like some of the most compelling evidence is the impact Jesus has made on so many lives throughout history. THAT is pretty undeniable!

      Reply

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resurrection in question?

by Dan King time to read: 3 min
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