Apologetics is the art of defending against the arguments of the world against Christianity. One of the loudest arguments against Christianity is that Jesus didn't really rise from the dead. Islam will even go so far as to say that Jesus didn't die on the cross – therefore no resurrection. But we know that Jesus did rise from the dead as literal, historical reality. And as those who know, we have the responsibility to share and to correct those who deny the resurrection. And the proofs are astounding.
To those who, like the Jews in Matthew 28:11-15, argue that the disciples moved the body, we can rightly recall this deception recorded in Matthew's Gospel and further tell them the near impossibility of overcoming the Roman guards and rolling the stone while it bore the government seal – which to break was punishable by death. We have the account of these 500 men to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection, many of whom, Paul says, were still alive to bear eye-witness testimony of the resurrected Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:6). If 500 people testified in court as eye-witnesses of an event, there'd be no doubt about your case! To those who denied that he died at all, we have the account from John's Gospel, John 19:34-35, that the Roman soldier who pierced him through heart or lung has borne witness as courtroom testimony that Jesus was dead. And John, himself, who was there with Mary his mother and the women, bears witness of his death. So there is first-hand, primary evidence which is conclusive that Jesus died and rose from the dead. We add to this the determination of the eye-witnesses to suffer bloody and horrific torture and death rather than deny Jesus' resurrection and you have indisputable primary and secondary evidence that our Lord certainly rose from the dead.
So, since we have a reason to celebrate, let's celebrate with the great Alleluias the resurrection of our Lord throughout this season of Easter. As you go through this season of Easter, Directors, Pastoral Advisors, youth and adults, consider spending some extra time in your Bible Studies looking at what God says about the resurrection. I've included a Bible Study that you may choose to do in your local groups on Friday night or for the youth who've already been through the Renewal of Baptism Bible Study – maybe even Sunday morning if the congregation allows. God's blessings to you as you celebrate our Lord's resurrection.
Pastor Matthew Tassey
Don't Try This At Home
You can use this resurrection proof as a witnessing method with your friends. If someone says they don't believe in heaven or that they're going to a grave when they die, we tend to think that we should encourage them to believe that they will be raised. But Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 points us in a different direction. Rather than pointing them to the fact of their resurrection, Paul points them to Jesus' resurrection as the source of their resurrection. Using this with your friends could look like this:
If 500 people all testified in court to the same thing, would you believe it beyond a reasonable doubt? (Answer… Yes) 500 people testified to seeing Jesus of Nazareth risen from the dead with the nail marks in his hands and the hole of the spear in his side. That's proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus was raised from the dead, and this same resurrected Jesus says he will raise us from the dead, too, and give eternal life to all who believe in him as their Savior from sin. What do you think about what Jesus has done for you?
Try it with your friends, relatives, acquaintances, and even neighbors and see how powerful the resurrection of Jesus really is.
Bible Study: God's Law
1 Corinthians 15:1-12
Example Leader Prayer:
Almighty God, our Father, be with us as we get into Your holy Word and send us Your Holy Spirit that He may open our eyes to see Jesus Christ for us in this Study; in Jesus' name. Amen.
Example Leader Questions:
- (v 1) What is the "Gospel"? What is it to "stand" in the Gospel?
- (v 2) From what does the Gospel save you? What does that mean about those who aren't saved?
- (v 3) According to what Scriptures did Christ die for our sins? Why does it matter that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies?
- (v 4) Where have you heard the phrase before "He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures"? (Nicene Creed) If the Creeds are just quotations of Scripture, are they man's words or Scripture summaries?
- (v 5) Who is Cephas? (Peter) After his resurrection, for how many days did Jesus appear on earth before his ascension?
- (v 6) If five hundred eye-witnesses testified that they say Jesus alive after the resurrection, how reliable would that testimony be in court? Then why would some people not believe that Jesus rose from the dead?
- (v 7) Who was James? (look back at Galatians 1:19, James 1:1 – this is not James the brother of John who was killed by Herod in Acts 12:1-2)
- (v 8) How did Jesus appear to Paul after the resurrection? (Look back at Acts 9:1-5)
- (v 9) Why does Paul call himself unworthy? Why would it be hard for someone to believe the word of one who had persecuted the Church?
- (v 10) Who gives Paul and us the power to bear witness to Christ?
- (v 11) Paul says the order is the Apostles preached and then we believed. What verse from our witnessing methods says this same thing that belief comes from hearing the preaching of the apostles? (Rom 10:17) What does that mean about how we witness?
- (v 12) How is Jesus' resurrection the proof of your resurrection? How does Christ unite us to his resurrection? (Look back at Romans 6:4-5)