|"The alleged bodily resurrection of Jesus, if true, was very consequential concerning mankind's most fearful and important questions."
The Unrivaled Resurrection
What do some of the world's greatest lawyers say about the event that changed history from BC to AD?
Resurrection Reasoning - Part 2
From its conception in the first century, both Jews and
Romans alike were generally opposed to the development of
Christianity. The Christian movement outraged the Jewish
leaders because the Christians’ proclamations undermined
many fundamental Jewish teachings. This inevitably led to
great conflict between the Jewish leaders and the Christian
converts. The heated controversy sometimes became so huge that it caused uproars in the city streets, necessitating the
deployment of Roman peace-keeping troops. The Romans,
therefore, began hating the Christian movement also, because
in less than 40 years it had begun to threaten the peace
of the Roman Empire. This is historically certain because
ancient non-biblical sources confirm that the Christian movement
had spread as far as Rome by A.D. 64 (within 40 years of
Jesus’ death), when the Christians, who were already hated
there, were persecuted and blamed for the burning of the city.
The heart of the Christian message was always that, after
being unjustly crucified, God had miraculously raised Jesus
from the dead. The first people to begin proclaiming this
message were the 12 Apostles (Jesus’ first followers), who are
the founders of today’s Christian church.
Now if the Apostles were lying about Jesus’ resurrection,
and His body still lay in the tomb, the opponents of Christianity
would have easily been able to contradict their claims.
To end the growth of Christianity, the opponents would only
have needed to produce the body of Jesus, which would have
proved that He was never resurrected, but still lay deceased in
His tomb. As journalist Frank Morison illustrates, “If the body
of Jesus still lay in the tomb, why didn’t anyone say so? A cold
and dispassionate statement of the real facts, issued by someone
in authority, and publicly exhibited, would have been like
a bucket of water upon the kindling fire of the Christian heresy.
It would have [virtually] destroyed the growing daily stream
of new [Christian] converts.”
Even if the Apostles themselves had believed in the resurrection
of Jesus, it is doubtful they would have generated any
following so long as the body remained in the tomb. A movement
founded on belief in the resurrection of a dead man’s
extant corpse would have been impossible.
Throughout the early decades of Christianity, it seems
the physical vacancy of the tomb was not in doubt by anyone. Not one historical record from the first or second century is
written attacking the factuality of the empty tomb or claiming
discovery of the corpse. No one in the first century was
saying that the tomb still contained Jesus’ body. Events seem
to have conspired to place that beyond the reach of argument.
The question was always, “What happened to the body?” Incidentally,
the corpse of Jesus has never been found.
Thus, it is today widely recognized that the empty tomb
of Jesus is a historical fact. The New Testament critic, D.H.
van Daalen, points out, “It is extremely difficult to object to
the empty tomb on historical grounds; those who deny it do
so on the basis of theological or philosophical assumptions.” Jacob Kremer, an Austrian scholar who has specialized in the study of the resurrection, also affirms: “By far most scholars
hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about
the empty tomb.” And he lists 28 prominent scholars in