Church of God Message
Call Us: 8133745451
HINDUISM, SIKHISM AND ISLAM: ARE THESE GOD'S RELIGIONS
Proofs of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a unique event in the history of mankind so far. Human beings have great difficulty believing in miraculous events. That is why Muslims want to believe the Quran when it says Jesus Christ did not die and hence was not resurrected.
Even Jesus Christ’s disciples could not imagine the event when Jesus Christ told them in Luke 18:31-34 (NKJV): “31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." 34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.”
The disciples could not imagine a human being dying and then being resurrected into a spirit being. This is the human tendency at work when Muslims are able to easily discredit the version of events in the Bible in their minds and accept what the Quran says. Satan has tried to exploit this human tendency to the hilt in his attempts to deceive mankind. Allah in the Quran cites miraculous events in the Bible as his deeds but cannot cite a single miraculous event that he brought to pass during the life of Muhammed.
How then can we prove that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact? We cannot see the resurrected Jesus Christ today. The event occurred more than 1980 years ago. To find proof for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we must examine the account in the Bible to verify that it is consistent with reality of human life and how humans behave under circumstances surrounding such events. We will examine the following seven proofs:
1) The first proof again is the reliability of the source for description of events. The Bible describes the resurrection in great detail. The only religious book that denies the resurrection is the Quran. We will look at the reliability of events surrounding the resurrection as described in the Bible vs. its description in the Quran.
2) The second proof of the resurrection is the empty tomb.
3) The third proof is the large number of witnesses of the resurrected Jesus.
4) The fourth proof is the transformation of Jesus’ disciples from cowards into men of courage who were willing to suffer and die for their conviction that Jesus Christ was crucified, died and was resurrected, and belief that they too would be resurrected if they remained faithful to God till the very end.
5) The fifth proof of the resurrection is the transformation of possibly all 3 of Jesus’ brothers mentioned in the Bible from skeptics into believers, but at least James and Jude who wrote the epistles that bear their names.
6) Sixth proof of the resurrection is the conversion of Paul the apostle, and
7) The seventh proof of the resurrection is the martyrdom of eleven of the 12 apostles, of many early Christians who believed and fellowshipped with the 12 disciples and of many tens of thousands of others over the centuries, and the existence of the Church.
The Christian religion would not exist without the resurrection because it provides the strongest proof of the salvation that the God of the Bible has promised to believers who endure to the end in the faith, which is changing their physical bodies to immortal spirit bodies as He changed the physical body of Jesus Christ to a spirit body through His resurrection.
Witnessing the resurrection of Jesus Christ transformed the lives of the apostles, and belief in the resurrection is the pivotal event that led to the birth of Christianity. So, let’s begin examining these proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1) The Reliability of the Source
The first proof of whether the Bible or the Quran version of events of the resurrection of Jesus Chris is the true one is reliability of the source. We have already proved that the words of the Bible are backed by Almighty God, whereas in the Quran they are not. Since the words of the Bible are truth, we can accept the description of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Bible as the truth.
2) The Empty Tomb
The second proof, and one of the strongest ones of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the empty tomb.
We saw in the proofs of the death of Jesus Christ that Jesus’ dead body was placed in the tomb of a man famous in Israel, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea. Women followed the body of Jesus Christ and knew in which tomb it was laid. There was a huge stone rolled to seal the entrance to the tomb so that people could not easily break into the tomb and steal the body. Then the Jewish High priests and other leaders of the Pharisees made sure that the tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers. But at the end of 3 days and 3 nights, on that Sunday morning the tomb was discovered to be empty, first by women and then by the disciples.
The UCG booklet “Jesus Christ: The Real Story” describes what happened when the tomb was discovered empty on pp 43-44:
“Mark…records for us the detail that three women—Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome—approached the tomb before sunrise to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. Finding the heavy stone rolled away, they entered the tomb and were shocked and afraid when they saw "a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side." The man told the women, "He is risen!" and instructed them to go and tell Jesus' other disciples (Mark 16:1-8).
“In the society of the day, the testimony of women was held in such low regard that they were not even permitted to serve as witnesses in a court of law. How remarkable it is, then, that women were the acknowledged discoverers of Jesus' empty tomb!
“Had someone fabricated the story at a later date, as many critics assume to have been the case, the plot surely would have made male disciples such as Peter and John the discoverers of the empty tomb. That it was women who were the chief witnesses to the fact of the empty tomb is best explained by the straightforward truth that the women named were indeed the actual discoverers.
“The Gospel writers faithfully recorded what for them was an awkward and potentially embarrassing detail.
“What was the reaction of Jesus' enemies to the disciples' stunning declaration that Jesus was alive again after having been publicly executed?
“Their reaction is very revealing. Did they respond that the disciples were lying, that Jesus' body still lay in the rock-hewn tomb? No. Did they claim that the disciples were hallucinating? No. Instead, they bribed the Roman soldiers responsible for guarding the sealed tomb to spread what they knew was a lie. They told them to spread a cover story, to claim that Jesus' disciples had come and stolen His body while they slept, and that they would cover for the soldiers if they got in trouble with the Roman governor. Jesus' enemies thus acknowledged that the tomb was empty."
The actual resurrection event and what happened to the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb is described by Matthew 28 in verses 1-10 (NIV): “1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord [Luke says there were actually two angels] came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
“5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
The women then went to inform the disciples. When the guards recovered from their fear of the angel whose face shone like lightening and discovered that the stone had been rolled away and that the tomb was empty, the events are then described in Matthew 28:11-15 (NKJV):
“11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. [They, the Roman soldiers, reported to the chief priests that they were guarding the tomb and no one had broken into it for the 3 days and 3 nights. But then there was a great earthquake and two beings whose faces shone like lightening came and rolled away the stone. They were afraid of the earthquake and could not look at the faces of the angel and fell down on their faces because they were so afraid. After the beings with the shining faces went away, they investigated the tomb and found it empty.]
Matthew continues with the elders’ reaction: “12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' 14 And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure." 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”
We should realize that the Jews would have no motive to themselves steal Jesus’ body. They wanted it to rot away. They wanted Him dead and eventually forgotten. The Romans had no motive to steal the body either. Stealing the body by either of them would only have fueled more rumors that He had been resurrected.
If the tomb had not been empty, the Jews and the Romans could simply have produced Jesus’ dead body to nip the stories in the bud that He had been resurrected. But they could not produce His dead body.
Roman soldiers with changing guards were guarding the tomb and they would have made sure that no one broke into the tomb to steal the body of Jesus. In addition, the disciples had proved themselves to be too cowardly [having forsaken Jesus and fled] to have gone past the Roman guards to steal the body. The women could certainly not have done it.
Then John 20:3-7 (NKJV) describes what John and Peter saw: “3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.”
The linen clothes and the head scarf neatly folded together is hardly the scene that those who wanted to hurriedly steal Jesus’ body would have left behind.
Thus, we see that after 3 days and 3 nights, the body of Jesus Christ was no longer in the tomb. The Jewish leaders or the Roman authorities could not produce Jesus’ body to refute the stories of His resurrection. The best response to the stories of His resurrection they could come up with is that His body was stolen by His disciples. But the disciples were too cowardly to have done so. They would have had to fight the Roman guards to steal the body. But no such story has ever been told. Thus, the empty tomb is one of the strongest proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
3) Large Number of Witnesses to the Resurrected Jesus
The third proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that there were a large number of witnesses who had seen the resurrected Jesus.
We have already described in the last proof what happened when women first went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with spices. They found the stone rolled away, were shocked to see two angels with an appearance like lightning who informed them that He is risen as He said He would.
After the women found the tomb empty and the two angels informed them that ‘Jesus had risen,’ they went to the eleven disciples to inform them of the event. As already quoted, John then records in John 20:1-10 (NKJV) that he and Peter went to the tomb and found it empty. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.
Till now the women, Peter and John had only seen the empty tomb and the women had heard the angels tell them that Jesus had risen from the dead. But no one had seen the risen Christ.
Then John records how Mary Magdalene who still lingered near the tomb after Peter and John had gone to their homes first saw the risen Jesus. John continues in John 20:11-18 (NKJV): “11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
“15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.' [Jesus said this because He had not yet risen to God the Father’s throne in heaven to present Himself and be accepted as the offering for the sins of mankind. This needed to be fulfilled because the waive sheaf offering during the days of Unleavened Bread was a prophecy that He would be the first of the firstfruits.] Then John continues: "18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.”
While Mary went to inform the disciples that she had seen the risen Jesus Christ, Jesus met two other disciples. Luke tells that part of the story in great detail in Luke 24:13-32 (NKJV): “13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
“17 And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" 18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?" 19 And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see."
“25 Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. 28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And He went in to stay with them. 30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"
After being seen by these two disciples, they went and told the 11 disciples. Luke continues in verse 33:
“33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.”
Luke continues with the rest of the story, but John also records it in John 20:18-31 (NKJV): “18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. 19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews [Did you notice that the disciples had the doors shut because of their fear of the Jews. This is after they had found the tomb empty. These men certainly would not have had the courage to fight armed Roman guards to steal the body of Jesus], Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
“24 Now Thomas, called the Twin [other translations have Didymus], one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
When the disciples first saw the risen Jesus, they were frightened thinking they had seen a ghost or spirit. But Jesus reassured them that it was Him. Luke records what happened in Luke 24:36-48 (NKJV):
“36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence. 44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.”
Then John records the third time that the disciples saw Jesus in John 21:1-14 (NKJV):
“1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias [or Sea of Galilee], and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
“7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it) and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"--knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.”
Besides being seen by Mary Magdalene, then two disciples, then by all the eleven disciples, Paul the apostle describes other incidents of people witnessing the risen Christ to the Corinthian Church in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (NKJV): “3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas [Peter], then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James [the half-brother of Jesus], then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”
How did Paul have this information? Because he had met many of those who had seen the risen Jesus Christ and had heard the account from their own mouths! When he wrote his epistle to the Corinthians, many were still alive and what he was writing could be verified from these eye-witnesses.
There were likely many other times Jesus appeared to one or more of His disciples than what is mentioned in the gospels because Luke states in Acts 1:3: “"He showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days". For forty days He was seen alive after His resurrection by many women and disciples.
Then later Stephen the martyr saw Him alive at the right hand of God the Father. Then He was seen by Paul the apostle as stated in Acts 9:38 and 1 Corinthians 15:8. And finally He was once again seen by John the apostle as described in Revelation 1:12-18 when he received the prophecies contained in the book of Revelation.
Muslims and others claim that the disciples could be hallucinating when they saw these appearances of Jesus after He was dead. But this nonsense does not account for the fact that these appearances were in different places, different times in front of different people, over 40 days, in different ways including showing many signs as recorded in John 20:31. All these eye-witnesses could not be hallucinating in all these different times and at different places. These appearances were convincing to all His disciples, leaving no doubts in their minds that they were seeing the risen Jesus and not a vision.
Such a large number of eye-witnesses to the risen Jesus Christ is proof that He was indeed resurrected.
Before they saw the risen Jesus, these men were hiding in fear from the Jewish authorities behind closed doors as described in John 20:19. Ten of the 11 disciples had run away when Jesus was crucified. But these men were transformed from cowards into men of courage after they saw the risen Jesus and were willing to suffer and die for their conviction that Jesus Christ was crucified, died and was resurrected. That is the fourth proof that Jesus Christ was indeed resurrected which we will cover next.
Question naturally arises: If God really wanted to convince the world that He had raised Jesus from the dead, why did He not let the risen Christ be seen by many many more witnesses around the world? Peter says in Acts 10:39-41 (NKJV): “39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.”
Why only around 500 people witnessed the risen Christ and not many many more? The answer has to do with God’s plan of salvation for mankind. God is allowing one chance for salvation for every human ever born or will ever be born. If tens of millions had seen the risen Christ and had been converted, they like the true Christians would have faced persecution from, the unconverted. Most would have given in and compromised with God’s way of life under threats of persecution. They would have lost their one and only chance for salvation and would have eternally perished.
God plans to give the vast majority of mankind their chance of salvation in His kingdom when Satan will no longer be around to deceive and persecute mankind. Vast majority of mankind will then qualify to receive eternal life. If tens of millions had received their chance for salvation with Satan and the demons still around to influence them, vast majority would have perished. That is why God in His mercy is offering the chance for salvation only to a relatively few firstfruits in this age of man during the first 6,000 years of mankind’s history.
It is more difficult to make it into God’s kingdom at this time. In fact, the parable of the ten virgins indicates that only about 50% of those called in the age of man when subjected to persecution will qualify to receive eternal life. But their reward will also be greater as the first resurrection to eternal life is called the better resurrection. That is why only a limited number of witnesses chosen before of God saw the risen Jesus Christ and not much of mankind living at that time. Mankind still has eternal lessons to learn from human experience under the influence of Satan and his cohort of demons.
4) Transformed Lives of the Disciples
Whatever one’s opinion about Jesus may be, one thing is certain. In just three and a half years of preaching He electrified the world and led to the birth of the largest religion on earth. Birth of Islam took place over 23 years of Muhammed’s life from age 39 when he received his first revelation till his death. Hinduism evolved over hundreds of years. Tenets of Buddhism were formed and spread over 45 years of Gautam Buddha’s life from the time of his enlightenment to his death. Sikhism developed over 200 years from the beginning of preaching by Guru Nanak around 1496 A.D. to the death of the tenth Guru in 1708 A.D. In contrast only three and a half years of preaching by Jesus Christ electrified and transformed much of the world. The singular event responsible for this sudden transformation was the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During His life almost no one understood who He was or the message He was trying to convey. Not His followers, family or friends, not His enemies or the Jewish and Roman authorities and not the general population understood Him.
He once asked His disciples “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man am?” (Matt 16:13). Some thought He was John the Baptist who had returned from the dead; some thought He was Elijah the prophet, or Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. But Peter answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Even though this truth was revealed to Peter, He did not fully understand what that meant or what Christ’s mission was. He lapsed into thinking that Jesus was a physical Messiah, a descendant of King David, who had come to deliver the Jewish nation from Roman rule and lead it to glory.
Thus, Jesus’s death was an unexpected total shock for them despite the fact that He had plainly told them that He was going to die and rise again after the third day. He said to them in Mark 9:31-32: “The Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day. But they did not understand this saying and were afraid to ask Him.”
The disciples were greatly bothered by Jesus’ talk of being tortured and killed. One time, Peter grabbed Jesus and said, “This shall not happen to You! (Matthew 16.22).
Jesus was a mystery to the masses. They asked Him in John 10:24: “How long do You keep us in doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Some thought He was not completely sane. Some said “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” (John 10:20 - NKJV). Even His physical family was concerned about His sanity as Mark 3:21 (NKJV) states: “When His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’”
But still Jesus attracted vast crowds of people. He had healed many, performed many miracles among them. He was a charismatic leader and the common people hung on to His words so that the Jewish religious leaders complained in John 12:19 (NKJV): “Look, the world has gone after Him!”
Jesus was a very interesting speaker, speaking to them in parables using graphic stories from common everyday life events to illustrate His points. The stories sounded very good, but He did not explain their spiritual meaning to the masses. However, He expounded them to His inner circle of disciples. And that is what caused confusion among the general public. Therefore, some said He was a good man. Others said He was a religious fraud deceiving His followers (John 7:12). Others said He was demon possessed and some others also claimed that He was a drunkard and a gluttonous man (Matthew 11:19).
Though the common people hung on to His words, they were confused about who He was and about what He said. Matthew 7:28-29 (NKJV) records: “…people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Many would say, “We have seen strange things today,” (Luke 5:26).
The religious authorities and the educated of His day did not view Jesus as an intellectual or a noted political leader. John 9:29 (NKJV) quotes them as mockingly saying, “We know that God spoke to Moses. As for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” But He stunned the educated with the depth of His learning and understanding, for John 7:15 (NKJV) quotes them as saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
Religious leaders and other members of high society were repelled by the company He kept. A woman of ill repute and a sinner in the city once poured oil over His feet, wiped them with her hair and even kissed His feet. The Pharisees were appalled at the sight and at Him for allowing it for they said in Luke 7:36-39 (NKJV): “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him.”
The religious leaders accused Him of breaking God’s law. They thought He was trying to throw out the basic 1500-year old constitution of the nation, the Old Testament. They accused Him of breaking the Sabbath when He healed people on the Sabbath, despite His telling them in Matthew 5:17 (NKJV): “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the prophets, I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
But there was one way Jesus was totally different from any other prophet or founder of any other religion before or since He came. He made an astounding claim about Himself that none of the others made about themselves. Founders of all religions claimed to be mere human beings. But Jesus claimed that He was more than a human being which is what incensed the religious leaders of His day so much that they tried to kill Him. John 5:18 says they tried to kill Him because He “said that God was His Father, making himself equal with God.” They thought this was blasphemy and tried to stone Him saying: “Because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33 - NKJV).
People were sometimes shocked by what Jesus said. John 6:35, 38-41 (NKJV) states: “35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst…38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." 41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."
Then Jesus shocked them even further by saying that whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood will have eternal life.
John continues in Verse 47: “47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." 52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" 53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."
“59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. 60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" 61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you?...The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”
Hearing such strange things from Jesus’ mouth, many of Jesus’ followers simply quit following Him.
Consider this: Would anyone die for such a misunderstood and maligned man?
When most of Jesus’ disciples quit following Him, eleven of the twelve had different ideas. John states in John 6:67-69 (NKJV): “67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
They believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. But as stated earlier, they thought that Jesus was a physical Messiah, a descendant of King David, who had come to deliver the Jewish nation from Roman rule and lead it to glory. Even after Jesus was executed, all His disciples thought the same thing and said in Luke 24:21 (NKJV), “We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”
As stated earlier, Jesus death was a shock to all His disciples including the eleven.
They had seen Jesus heal the sick, turn water into wine, walk on water, calm a raging storm, feed thousands with a few loaves of bread and fish, and perform many other miracles. Their leader seemed to be invincible to them. They had dared to dream of glory for the Jewish nation and for themselves.
But then they had seen their invincible leader being arrested without a struggle, suffer unbelievable humiliation through trials by the Jewish authorities, the Roman authorities and Herod, and then suffer the shameful and disgraceful public execution through crucifixion. This was a crushing blow for the disciples. The Jewish authorities had triumphed over the man who had sometimes put them down with His words. They would believe that they had been right all along and the man Jesus was a religious fraud and got what He deserved. Now the disciples if not themselves executed would be laughed to scorn by everybody. People would point fingers at them saying these men gave up everything to follow a fraud, a charlatan, a fake Messiah.
In the night before Jesus was crucified, Peter had followed Jesus after His arrest. Onlookers asked Peter if He was a disciple of the half-naked, bruised, beaten, tired and weak man Jesus? Peter cursed and swore and shouted in Mark 14:71 (NKJV): “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” In Matthew 26:70, 74 (NKJV) Peter is stated to have said: “I do not know what you are saying…I do not know the Man!”
Then when the rooster crowed and Jesus looked at Peter, He ran away in fear and humiliation. The rest of the disciples also ran away. One young man, probably the gospel writer Mark was so frightened that He ran away naked, leaving his clothes in the hands of those who tried to grab him (Mark 14:51).
In fact, after His crucifixion and death, the disciples thought they were going to be next. They thought the Jewish authorities were now going to come after all those who had been Jesus’ followers and have them executed. John states in John 20:19 (NKJV): “19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week [this was the 4th day after Jesus had died], when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews…”
Here we see on the fourth day after Jesus was crucified and died, the disciples were hiding behind closed doors for fear that they would be recognized as having been with Jesus and would be arrested and executed. These were very frightened men.
But then there was a sudden transformation in the attitude and behavior of these men. What shocking event had they witnessed? They had seen Jesus killed and laid in a tomb. They knew He was dead. But then they see the resurrected Jesus and finally knew that He was the Son of the living God, and that He was alive. They saw Him alive over 40 days, talked with Him, and He taught them and gave them understanding of the Scriptures.
They had heard Jesus tell them that He would be killed but would rise and live again after 3 days. He had told them that they would be sorrowful at His death, but their sorrow would be turned into joy. They had seen both events happen. He had died and then seen Him alive again as a spirit Being. Nothing like this had happened before in the history of mankind. But the disciples had experienced it. There was no denying the fact for them that Jesus died and is alive again as a spirit Being.
The disciples now understood the very important reasons for Jesus’ life and death, and then His resurrection. They understood that Jesus came to die for the sins of mankind so that man could be forgiven on repentance and then be reconciled to his Creator. Jesus had told the disciples during His time with them in John 11:25 (NKJV): “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” This meant nothing to them when they heard it. But after His resurrection they understood their potential and that they too would die but live again through a resurrection as the sons of God.
We human beings have not seen a dead Jesus alive again. We may think the disciples perhaps fabricated a tale as Muslims and others claim. But consider what this would mean. If the resurrection did not take place, the disciples would have known it. Would they have been willing to die for a tale they knew to be a lie. Does it make sense?
We might be deceived about a belief and give our money, time and even life for it as many do for their religious beliefs. But can you imagine anyone suffering torture, humiliation, beatings, loss of everything and then die for something they knew to be a lie? What purpose would it serve?
We can reach only one conclusion. The disciples experienced the most unbelievable event of all: they had seen a man die and then live again as a spirit Being. They are our witnesses that the event actually happened.
Peter said in 2 Peter 1:16 (NKJV): “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables…but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” John wrote decades later about the event in 1 John 1:2 (NKJV): “We have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested to us.”
Jesus Himself charged His disciples to spread the word about His life, death and resurrection. Before His death He told them in John 15:27 (NKJV): “And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” Then after His resurrection Jesus told them in Acts 1:8 (NKJV): “And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and to all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
On the day of Pentecost, after the disciples received the holy spirit, they proceeded to do precisely that. There was a sudden transformation in the attitude and behavior of these men. They were no longer afraid of the religious authorities and openly and boldly preached the resurrection of Jesus Christ and remission of sins right at the Temple where the public could hear them. Peter preached his first sermon to all those gathered in Jerusalem from many countries to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. Thousands were immediately convicted and converted.
The preaching brought immediate persecution from the authorities. But the transformation of the apostles is evident in how they now reacted in the face of persecution.
When they had healed a cripple; Acts 4:1-4 states (NKJV): “1 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
“5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?" 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
“13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." 18 And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go…”
Then later the disciples were beaten, and their reaction is stated in Acts 5:17-42 (NKJV):
“17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life." 21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, "Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!"
“24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, "Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!" 26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!" 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."
“33 When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them. 34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: "Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it--lest you even be found to fight against God." 40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
Such is the transformation that took place in the lives of men who had been cowards four days after Jesus’ death, before they witnessed His resurrection. The apostles would continue to preach the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins leading to eternal life and the gospel of the establishment of the kingdom of God throughout the rest of their lives leading to growth of Christianity to become the largest religion in the world. Eleven of them would be martyred for this cause. According to tradition even John was thrown in a boiling cauldron of oil but climbed out of it alive. After witnessing this intervention from God, the ruler who had sentenced him to death let him go.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central event directly responsible for the growth and endurance of Christianity. Transformed lives of the apostles is one of the strongest proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
5. Transformation of Jesus’ Brothers from Skeptics into Believers
Now let’s look at the fifth proof of the resurrection of Jesus, which is the transformation of Jesus’ brothers from skeptics into believers.
We know Jesus’ family did not believe in Him and were concerned about His sanity as Mark 3:20-21 (NKJV) states: “20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind."
John plainly states in John 7:5 that: “5 …even His brothers did not believe in Him.”
Further proof that Jesus’ brothers did not believe He was the Son of God is that when Jesus was about to die on the cross, He asked John to take care of His mother Mary as his own mother after His death in John 19:26-27.
Why would Jesus charge John the apostle to look after His mother after His death rather than one of His half-brothers and Mary’s own sons? The reason is obvious. They did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God.
But then James saw the risen Christ as Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:7. Knowing that his brother died, but then seeing Him alive again transformed James. Now he knew that His half-brother Jesus was truly the Son of God. Now he knew that his brother preached the truth, had lived a sinless life and that the potential of man is to become eternal sons of God through a resurrection.
Not only was James converted but possibly all his other 3 brothers named in the gospels, Jude, Simon and Joses, were also converted. After the eleven apostles had seen Jesus for the last time and ascend to heaven from the Mount of Olives, they returned to Jerusalem and Luke records in Acts 1:13-14: “13 And when they had entered [that is Jerusalem], they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
These verses imply that at least two of Jesus’ half-brothers, possibly all 4 of them continued in prayer together with the 11 apostles till the day of Pentecost when all of them received God’s holy spirit. We know for certain that at least two of Jesus’ brothers were converted and were in the ministry. James wrote the epistle of James and his brother Jude wrote the epistle in the Bible that bears his name.
James was later the head of the headquarters Church of God in Jerusalem and was stoned to death for his belief that his brother was the Son of God and was resurrected after His death. James had lived perhaps 30 years of his life with his brother. After his conversion he then knew that his brother had lived a sinless life and was the spotless Lamb of God who became the perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind. If James had seen sins in his brother’s life, he would not have become a convert because if Jesus had sinned, He would not have been the Son of God, and the Christ.
J.P. Moreland describes events in James’ life in his book Scaling the Secular City, 1987, pp 178-179:
“Why did these men change? Why did they undergo hardship, persecution, pressure and martyrdom? Consider James the brother of Jesus. Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, tells us that he died a martyr’s death for his faith in his brother. Yet the gospels tell us that during Jesus’ life, he was an unbeliever and opposed Jesus.
“Why did he change? What could cause a Jew to believe that his own brother was the very Son of God and to be willing to die for such a belief? [The Jews believed that there was only one God. That is why the Jews tried to kill Jesus when He claimed He was the Son of God.] It certainly was not a set of lovely teachings from a carpenter from Nazareth. Only the appearance of Jesus to James can explain his transformation.”
6) Conversion of Paul the Apostle
The sixth proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the conversion of Paul the apostle. Paul, a young Rabbi and a strict Pharisee was a rising star of Judaism. He did not believe that Jesus was resurrected and considered the new religion about Jesus a heresy. He hated it so much that he was convinced it deserved to be stamped out by any means possible. He made it his personal mission and zealously persecuted the Church of God that had been formed.
He considered the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ a pure fabrication and the new movement that had been built around it contrary to every belief and tradition he held sacred. So, he imprisoned the followers of Jesus and caused some to be killed.
Luke records in Acts 8:1-3 (NKJV): “1 Now Saul was consenting to his [Stephen’s] death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”
After making havoc of the Church in Jerusalem, Paul wanted to do the same in other cities. Luke continues in Acts 9:1-2 (NKJV): “1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
But as Paul was journeying from Jerusalem to Damascus, something happened. Luke continues: “3 As he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
That experience changed Paul’s life. He had now seen the resurrected Jesus himself as he stated in 1 Corinthians 9:1: “Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord”, and in 1 Corinthians 15: 8-9 (NKJV): “8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
Seeing the resurrected Jesus Christ transformed Paul and changed his beliefs. He threw away everything that he had strived for all his life. He states in Philippians 3:7-8 (NKJV):” 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
Paul’s overriding aim in life now was “10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Why would Paul be willing to throw to the dogs everything he had striven for in his life if Jesus was simply a dead man who had died a shameful death by crucifixion? It does not make sense at all.
Jesus had charged His disciples in Acts 1:8: “And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” After his conversion, for Paul this preaching of the gospel or good news centered around the meaning of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was proof that humans will receive eternal life through a resurrection from the dead.
Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4 (NKJV): “1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you…3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Paul literally staked his life on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was shocked to hear that in the city of Corinth some believers doubted the resurrection of Jesus. He then logically explained how the dead rise again to life in verses 12-20: “12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
Consider: Would Paul have wasted his life if the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a lie? Would he have given up his successful life as a Pharisee for a lie? The UCG booklet “Jesus Christ: The Real Story” states on page 50:
“Paul was not a man given to vivid imaginations of superstitious people. He was a levelheaded intellectual. Yet he later was prepared to defend his zeal for Christ before hostile mobs as well as governors, kings and other rulers. He was prepared to endure suffering for his beliefs as he describes in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27: “23 Are they ministers of Christ? - I speak as a fool – I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness…”
In the end Paul was beheaded for his belief that Jesus died, was resurrected and was the Messiah who is now alive and well at the right hand of God the Father. The testimony of Paul and his transformed life is proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
7) Martyrdom of Christians and Existence of the Church over the Centuries
The seventh and final proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the martyrdom of the original apostles, thousands of early Christians and the birth and existence of the Church.
Traditions tell us that out of the eleven original apostles, ten of them were martyred for their beliefs. Even John the apostle was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil but climbed out of it alive through God’s intervention. He was then perhaps banished to the island of Patmos by the ruler. James the half-brother of Jesus and Paul the apostle were also martyred. Then thousands of early Christians died in the Roman arenas and prisons for their belief that Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind and rose from the dead and is alive to give them also eternal life through a resurrection.
We know Muhammed is not a myth. He was a real person and the main events attributed to him were true because the existence of Islam is proof of that. In the same way existence of Christianity is proof of the main event of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on which it is based. The original apostles and thousands of Christians who believed because of their preaching would not have willingly suffered martyrdom if they knew that the resurrection of Jesus was a lie.
God’s true Church has always existed since its founding in 31 A.D. Over the past more than 1980 years, tens of thousands of Christians have been willing to lay down their lives for their belief that Jesus Christ lived, died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected. Ever since 31 A.D. as each succeeding generation of Christians saw the martyrdom of Christians of the previous generation, they believed the truth of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and many have been willing to be martyred for their faith as well if called upon to do so.
Thus, the existence of Christianity and the martyrdom of the original apostles and Christians who believed through their preaching, and then the preaching of the first generation of Christians to the next generation and their willingness to be martyred and so on for succeeding generations is proof that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a true event.
Copyright © Church of God Message. All rights reserved