He Got Up: Why Christians are Christians!
Jesus Paid It All
I Corinthians 15:3-8 and 12-19"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that, He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time... 12Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? However, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not raised. Moreover, if Christ is not raised, then our preaching is empty and your faith is empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if, the dead do not rise, and then Christ is not raised. In addition, if Christ is not raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable."
Our entire faith depends on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, but do we have the proof to back such an amazing claim...YES!
The ancient historical record provides examples of writers, philosophers and historians who lived during or not long after the time Jesus is believed to have lived and who testify to the fact that he was a real person who lived, was crucified, was buried in a tomb, and rose from the dead.
The four Gospels are the four accounts of Jesus’ life, which are contained in the New Testament part of the Bible. Historians will tell you that the closer an historical document is written to the time of the events it describes, the generally more reliable it is as a source of information about those events. Matthew’s Gospel account of Jesus’ life is now reckoned to have been written sometime between AD 70 and AD 80. Mark’s Gospel is dated between AD. 50 and AD. 65. Luke’s Gospel is dated in the early AD 60s and John’s Gospel sometime between AD 80 and 100. If Jesus died sometime in the AD 30s, it is clear that Mark, Luke and Matthew wrote their Gospels within living memory of Jesus’ death. John’s Gospel comes later and probably outside of living memory for most as John lived to an unusually old age for the ancient period, but the accuracy of his Gospel was verified no doubt by those who read the earlier Gospels.
Secular sources also attested to the life death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata Suetonius Pliny the Younger, Thallus and Phlegon Mara Bar-Serapion. Probably the most famous skeptic was Flavius Josephus a Jewish historian. In his Antiquities he refers to James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” A controversial verse (18:3) says, “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats...He was [the] Christ...he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.” One version reads, “At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. In addition, many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. However, those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” The crucifixion accounts of Jesus Christ are in entire agreement with the customs and practices of the Romans in that period. The evidence for Christ’s horrible and painful death is unquestioned by today’s legitimate scholars. The only dispute is the nature and character of the “criminal” Jesus Christ. Look at the record yourself -- Even with all the pain, Jesus thought of others rather than Him. His first words from the cross were, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).The Bible also says the Earth went dark for three days. This is supported in the writings of Thallus, a mid-eastern historian, who noted the darkness, which was parallel with the time of the crucifixion. Phlegon also wrote about a great earthquake and the greatest eclipse in the 202nd Olympiad, which is the year A.D. 33.
The proof of the Resurrection in abundant in the New Testament, but there is so much more. Over 500 eyewitnesses saw Jesus after His Resurrection. If were not enough there was a boom of churches claiming the truth of the Resurrection. Then sadly and amazingly there are the martyrs, ordinary people whom were killed for their beliefs and they refused to deny Jesus and His passion. The glorious side of the martyrs is despite their persecution and death the church continued and still continues to grow. Praise God!