April 2023 (Quick Easter Apologetics)
Last Easter I preached a sermon titled “Quick Easter Apologetics” to present the rock solid evidence of the resurrection to bolster our hope and confidence in the good news Gospel. And as we are going to be celebrating this good news once again this Easter I want to remind us all of some of these important proofs for the truthfulness of the resurrection because if the resurrection of Jesus actually happened, it changes everything for us and means that Christianity is true.
The first thing we must remember is that there is great evidence to show that a man called Jesus of Nazareth actually lived and this is corroborated by historical research to such a degree that even unbelievers assent to this fact. The only difference is the way people explain the details of this actual person Jesus Christ who all realize existed.
The second thing we must take note of is that we also have the accounts in the New Testament which have so much manuscript evidence in terms of dating and authenticity that actual eye witnesses, or people close to eye witnesses (in the case of Luke) are recorded in the 4 Gospels. Also, Paul claims in 1 Corinthians that not only the disciples witnessed Jesus after his resurrection, but that he appeared to him later, and also appeared to almost 500 people at one time and anyone who wanted to question the validity of this great claim could freely go ask the many witnesses so this was no private demonstration but blatantly public.
But the issue we come to now is whether or not we should believe the biblical witness handed down to us or not. And our beliefs should be rooted in truth as Francis Schaeffer put it: “Christianity is based on truth claims… And that it’s prepared to face the consequences if proven false… and we say with Paul: If you find the body of Christ, the discussion is finished: let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” So is it true? And what are some of the counter arguments that have been put forward to explain away the resurrection because they cannot either explain away Jesus, or the fact that other people at least claimed that Jesus had appeared to them after being raised from the dead.
This brings us to the third section where we need to listen up to those who disbelieved and came up with arguments to refute the above facts. They claim that the resurrection “story” as they call it was the result of either a trick that Jesus enacted with the disciples before his death to dupe the masses, or a hallucination of the crowds who only thought they saw Jesus, but they were only really on some crazy dazed hallucinatory “trip,” or some have said that after Jesus was beaten and crucified and then buried, that he wasn’t really dead but only appeared to be dead or swooning in the grace and then he woke up and broke his way out. Now I don’t know about you, but these age old arguments against the resurrection just don’t seem very convincing, and in a lot of ways take more faith to believe than the actual resurrection of Christ to begin with!
So, this brings us to our fourth and final consideration that after all the evidence has been considered, the biblical accounts corroborated by witnesses and history put us in a very solid place of belief in the resurrection as Christians! And we are on solid ground believing in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 that says: “For lI delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” and we should rejoice and celebrate that fact not just every Easter but every single day! Because as D.A. Carson reminds us; “Our hope is not to survive to 70 or 80 or 90… But resurrection life like Jesus!!! Full bodied resurrection and new heavens and new earth and we should encourage one another with these words!!!!”
So, let’s think of Jesus’ real resurrection and imagine our future bodily experience of joy unspeakable, of hope eternal, of glorious recreation and fun and learning and community everlasting in the New Heavens and New Earth together with the Lord and other Christians!!!! Will you be there rejoicing with cheers and laughter and joy? Or will you continue on the outside looking in if you don’t believe? The choice is yours, Choose the truth today! Choose the true Gospel today! Choose Jesus! He is risen, He is risen indeed!!!!
Pastor Daniel Pelichowski