This is the Village Church Q & A podcast where our goal is to create digital, shareable and helpful content. To make disciples who will go, grow and overcome.
Pastor Michael: Welcome again to the Village Church Q & A podcast, Pastor Michael here with you, in the studio with Pastor Craig Jarvis.
Craig, we have a big question today. I’ll give a little context here. This is one of those questions that we could literally could preach, five, seven, ten sermons on. Let me say it this way. If you are listening to this and you want to be proven, there is no 10 minute, 15 minute, whatever this is going to end up being, podcast episode that is going to put you over the edge.
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Our hope is to spring some thoughts, but also, if you are a believer, there are going to be some thoughts that Craig and I share with you are true and that you’ve never really thought of before. If anything, these episodes are rarely ever the end all and be all of something. They are usually a catalytic conversation to push you to deeper thought, to give you places to go. This is one of those questions. We’re going to barely, barely skim the tip of the iceberg. Is the resurrection historically verifiable. What say you Craig Jarvis?
Pastor Craig: Yeah, I would agree with you on that. Books and books are written on this and as we said in one of our other episodes, if you do an honest look at the validity of an empty tomb, a resurrected person, Jesus Christ, who did not die again, there is much more evidence to prove that He rose from the dead than there is to say that He didn’t. In saying that, my guess is that some people will hopefully be prompted to look a little deeper themselves into the different books and things that are provided so that they could do that.
Here are a few things that I think we typically call us apologetics, things we can look at and say according to these facts that occurred, it seems like a resurrection, a bodily resurrection, occurred for Jesus Christ. One of the biggest ones that I’ve heard is that maybe He didn’t die on the cross. Maybe He just swooned. So maybe when He was put in the tomb He came back to life because of the cool of the tomb and got his way out of there. That actually is one that is actually easiest to disprove because He got the living daylights beat out of Him by two different floggings that took place during that day. Pilate was trying to get rid of this guy and kind of beat it out of Him so that He wouldn’t have to crucify Him but ultimately He ended up having to doing that because the crowd demanded it. He’s put into the grave, and I don’t know about you, if you’ve been beaten horrifically and then wrapped up as a mummy and thrown into a tomb, it’s very difficult to get your strength back and find your way out.
Pastor Michael: You sound like you have personal experience with that.
Pastor Craig: Yeah. So you have people that are grabbing Him at the foot of the cross, are validating the fact that He is dead. The Romans soldiers came along and they said we’re not going to break His legs because He’s dead and His mother is right there and she would know He’s dead. That’s the easiest one to disprove.
Another one would be everybody suffered a mass hallucination afterwards like they wanted to see Jesus, so they did see Jesus.
Pastor Michael: Whoever takes a bunch of hallucinogenic drugs and all sees the same exact thing.
Pastor Craig: That’s the problem. He appeared to several hundreds of people at the same time. If it was a mass hallucination, even if you could pull that off with mushrooms or whatever you’ve got in your pocket, not you Michael, but let’s just say.
Pastor Michael: Just you.
Pastor Craig: You’d still have the issue of the disciples and how much they changed afterwards. These guys abandoned Jesus, like He was, you know, I’m thinking of all the bad terms here. They ran away from Jesus when He was being crucified, when He was being tried. They abandoned Him including Peter who said that He would never abandon Jesus Christ. They were just trying to get out. After Jesus Christ arose from the dead they changed. They turned the world upside down with the message of the crucified Lord and the resurrection to the point where every one of them is beaten and killed themselves for the gospel. You don’t do that over a hallucination. Somebody is going to cash in. Somebody is going to give up the goods.
Maybe they went to the wrong tomb on Easter. That’s another one. Again, that’s a problem. Like maybe they all went to the wrong tomb. Hey, this tomb has been used. You’ve got the problem because Mary would have went to the wrong tomb.
Pastor Michael: Joseph Arimatheas’ tomb wasn’t subtle, let’s just say that. It wasn’t like a little gravestone. This was a rich man who had big tomb set aside for Him.
Pastor Craig: The one that I love the best is that Peter and John, when Mary goes to the tomb and sees that the tomb is empty, the gardener she thinks is the gardener is really Jesus says “Why are you weeping”? When that whole thing occurs she goes to tell the disciples. That’s the biggest problem. You don’t want a woman in this day and age to be your main messenger of hope. You want to get the most prestigious person you can. Jesus, because of who He was and how He loved, He counted on Mary and she loved Him. She goes and tells Peter and John. They go taking off, like the gentlemen they are. They don’t console her. They just run. One beats the other and they end up at the same place. They all went to the wrong tomb. That just doesn’t make any sense at all.
Maybe they lied. Maybe they lied about the resurrection of the body. That’s another problem. You now have Pilate, you’ve got Herrod, I’m sorry, who’s paying off his men. No, chief priest, who paid off? I can’t find that Scripture.
Pastor Michael: I know what you’re talking about. I’m drawing a blank on that too.
Pastor Craig: So they’re paying the guards.
Pastor Michael: How many pastors does it take to know the Bible?
Pastor Craig: Other ones.
They’re paying the guards to lie. Just tell them thieves stole the body. Plus you’ve got the rock around the tomb and you’d have to roll that away. They’re just too much inconsistencies and they’re all these explanations to explain that Jesus did not raise from the dead. There’s too much evidence to say that He did.
Pastor Michael: My favorite one. My favorite proof. This for me was like the deal breaker. Everything else was like, eh, that was good Craig. I’m just kidding.
Pastor Craig: No, I forgot the verse.
Pastor Michael: No, no, no, my favorite verse, this is the one that I was like, oh, it has got to be true. His mother and two of his brothers believed Him to be God. I mean, think about that.
Pastor Craig: Oh yeah, and they were deniers beforehand.
Pastor Michael: Right. After the resurrection, Jude, who wrote the Book of Jude, James who wrote the Book of James, Mary who is Mary, all worshiped Jesus. That’s insanity. I’ve wiped my kids butts. There’s no world, there’s no world where my children, I’m raising these kids, they’re bickering and fighting. There’s no world where you’re going to get me to die for the sinlessness of my children. I have three older brothers. No, thank you. Uh, not dying for their sinlessness. They were convicted, convinced that Jesus, their brother, their son, was God. That’s insanity.
Pastor Craig: Totally. The opponents of Jesus Christ were confronted with all of these explanations but they still had the empty tomb and they couldn’t argue that fact. The Romans discredited it. The Jews denied it. The Gnostics couldn’t stomach it. The Romans ended up mocking it. The Jews paid to cover it up and the Gnostics mysticized it.
Pastor Michael: It’s hard to look past it.
Pastor Craig: You have a problem with an empty tomb. If you want to deny Jesus is who He says He is, you have a problem on Easter morning.
Pastor Michael: There’s an interesting dynamic in the conversation. Someone will say, but yeah, that’s the Bible. They forget that, leave the notion of the Bible. The Bible is comprised of letters that are historically verifiable documents written by men to churches, right? This idea that because the Bible says it makes it automatically invalid is actually kind of a ridiculous statement. The Book of James is actually an historical piece of literature written by a man to a church. Jude, same thing. This is an actual letter. These aren’t made up things that people just found and put into a Bible. Sometimes you think of the Mormon Bible which clearly Joseph Smith made up most of it. You know, people think that that’s how the Bible came together. No, these are actual historical letters. When you actually read Paul writing into the church of Corinth, this is an actual historical letter from a pastor to a church about doctrine and theology and life and reality and church life together. It’s interesting how many people historically were able to actually just go to the grave and give everything in their conviction that there was a man named Jesus and He’s alive and they believe that dead man who is raised is fully God.
Past that, there’s multiple points of historical reference that this idea of the resurrection wasn’t made up in the second, third or fourth century. All over the place, you just see historically one of the most verifiable instances in history actually which is incredibly encouraging. All right, Craig.
Pastor Craig: I just need to clear up. This is in Matthew 28 if you want to look it up. Starting in verse eleven, this is where the guards were paid to say the lie. It was the Jewish leaders that told them to say in verse thirteen “Tell the people his disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep. And if it comes to the governors ears, we’ll satisfy Him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed and this lie has been spread among the Jews to this day. So that’s in Matthew 28. So we’re going to involve both the Romans and the Jewish leaders.
Pastor Michael: I was going to give you the final word, but do you want to let that to be the final word? Take a moment and encourage, somebody saw this title. They clicked on it and maybe they wanted to be convinced or proven. Our goal wasn’t to convince or prove, but to more lay out there is actual historical validity to the resurrection. It’s not something people just made up. All of the objections historically, they’re all just so easily refutable. The only real objection to the resurrection is I’ve never seen somebody raised from the dead so how could you tell me somebody raised from the dead? That’s really the only actual objection that bears weight. I can’t convince you of that which you’ve never seen before.
Pastor Craig: I’ll tell you, it’s because death is the lie that convinces us all. Jesus came to do away with that lie. His resurrection from the dead did away with that lie. He left us proof afterwards. Fifty days afterwards. The change in the disciples. The historical events that occurred. The things that you cannot overlook. Ultimately, it comes down to you have to have faith in Jesus Christ. In that Romans 10 passage, if you confess with your mouth Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you shall be saved. I would say to those people Michael, that if you’re listening and you’re thinking to yourself, I just can’t get there, do what the disciples did. When they lacked faith, they asked Jesus for more. They said, Jesus, help our unbelief. So I would tell you as somebody that regularly prays for people to enter into the kingdom of God and be followers of Jesus Christ, if you lack the faith, take that final step. Prayer’s a good place to start. Ask the Lord to help you in your unbelief. You’ll be surprised at the way that He opens your eyes and changes your way of thinking about these things. Because that, quite frankly, that is life and that’s what He came to give us.
Pastor Michael: I want to invite you back. Next time, we’re going to answer the question is the resurrection in the Old Testament?[/bg_collapse]