Reasons why I believe Jesus rose from the dead (Part 2) | VailDaily.com

Reasons why I believe Jesus rose from the dead (Part 2)

My last column was in the paper on Easter Sunday, and I tried to put an enormous topic into 800 words, which was impossible. Many great books have been written about this historical event in as many as 400 pages (“The Case for Christ,” “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” and “More Than A Carpenter,” to name a few). My column amounted to less than their introduction pages, but summarizing a few key points is what I have been after. The two reasons I discussed were: 1) prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus and 2) the bold witness his closest friends had upon seeing him and spending time with him post-crucifixion, death and resurrection. As I noted in my previous column, “The Tanakh/ Old Testament contains 60 major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications that were fulfilled in one person, Jesus the Christ/ Messiah. Using the science of probability, we find that chances of just 48 of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person to be 1X10.” The odds are highly in favor of Jesus being God’s son, and therefore rising from the dead — which he said he would do — is something within his abilities to do. My key point regarding Jesus friends’ bold witnessing was that they went from being scared to being associated with him before his crucifixion to dying a martyr’s death. Spending time with him after his resurrection is probably the only thing that could have quickened their consciences that much. 

My last column was in the paper on Easter Sunday, and I tried to put an enormous topic into 800 words, which was impossible. Many great books have been written about this historical event in as many as 400 pages (“The Case for Christ,” “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” and “More Than A Carpenter,” to name a few). My column amounted to less than their introduction pages, but summarizing a few key points is what I have been after. The two reasons I discussed were: 1) prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus and 2) the bold witness his closest friends had upon seeing him and spending time with him post-crucifixion, death and resurrection. As I noted in my column April 20, “The Tanakh/ Old Testament contains 60 major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications that were fulfilled in one person, Jesus the Christ/ Messiah. Using the science of probability, we find that chances of just 48 of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person to be 1X10.” The odds are highly in favor of Jesus being God’s son, and therefore rising from the dead — which he said he would do — is something within his abilities to do. My key point regarding Jesus’ friends’ bold witnessing was that they went from being scared to being associated with him before his crucifixion to dying a martyr’s death. Spending time with him after his resurrection is probably the only thing that could have quickened their consciences that much. 

There was no doubt in their minds that what they had witnessed really happened, and therefore their impending deaths were actually a huge upgrade. A few other reasons I believe that Jesus rose from the dead have to do with the Apostle Paul (the main writer of the New Testament), Sunday worship services and an empty tomb. 

The Apostle Paul

The first mention of Paul comes in the book of Acts, Chapter 8, verses 1-3. At this point in time his name was Saul, no doubt named after Israel’s first king, from 1050 B.C. Acts 8:1 states, “Saul was in hearty agreement with putting Stephen (the first Christian martyr) to death … and Paul began ravaging the Christians, entering house after house and dragging off men and women to throw them in prison.” When I used to teach Bible classes at Vail Christian High School, I would explain Saul/Paul as being pretty similar to Osama bin Laden. (See the obvious parallels?) They both hated Christians and spent their time trying to rid the world of them. The question is, “How did Paul go from trying to kill and imprison Christ followers to being one of their top leaders and writing a significant portion of their Holy Scriptures?” (Of the 27 New Testament books in the Bible, Paul wrote 13 of them.) How that happens is pretty easy: Paul had a life-changing encounter with Jesus (post-resurrection … recorded in Acts 9), experienced a significant miracle (going blind and being healed of that exactly the way Jesus said it would happen), and witnessed some fulfilled prophecies concerning himself (taking the good news about Jesus’ conquering death and sin to gentiles/most people reading this article).    

Sunday

It was not until 33 A.D. that anyone on this planet gathered to worship on a Sunday, especially in Israel, where for about 6,000 years the Hebrews have gathered to worship God on “the Sabbath.” (The Sabbath is Saturday.) Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Jews in Jerusalem, and soon thereafter non-Jews all over the world (see also Eagle County in 2019), began gathering to worship on Sundays. Something very significant must have happened in Jerusalem in 33 A.D. on a Sunday, because from that day forward people have been gathering to remember Jesus, to sing songs to and about him, and have been quoting him, praying to him, etc. Why Sundays? It’s the day his tomb was found empty and an angel told Mary to go “to Galilee; you will see him there.” Every Sunday, all over the world, because of that Sunday, Sunday is a thing.  

Well, it happened again. I wanted to get to one the biggest reasons that I believe Jesus rose from the dead, but my 800-word limit is drawing near. At the end of June, I’ll spend all 800 words talking about the empty tomb. There are multiple layers to why this is so crucial and multiple reasons why it could stand in a court of law today as almost entirely verifiable.

Until next time.

Scott Leonard is the area director for Search Vail Valley. You can reach him at scott.leonard@searchmail.org.