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This sixth Sunday of Easter we continue looking into the resurrection. In the previous essay it was established that the Apostle Paul was a skeptic who changed his life because he claimed to have experienced the risen Jesus. This week we look at two facts: The skeptical James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed and the empty tomb.
In the book, The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family, Shanks and Witherington discuss the archaeological discovery of an ossuary (bone box) dating back to the first century with the following inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. James, a monumental figure in the first centuries of Christianity, was the first head of the church in Jerusalem and he was a faithful, Torah observing Jew. (more…)
This fifth Sunday of Easter we continue looking into the resurrection. In the previous essay it was established that the disciples and others claimed to have seen the risen Jesus. This week we look to another claim that has consensus from scholars: A key persecutor of the Church (Saul of Tarsus) was suddenly changed and claimed to meet the risen Jesus. Saul of Tarsus is better known in history and by the Church as the Apostle Paul. In 1 Cor 15:9-10; Gal 1:12-16, 22-23; and Philippians 3:6-7 the Apostle accounts of his conversion. One moment he was persecuting Christians and he was preaching the Gospel, suffering persecutions and killed. During his ministry, Paul would write the majority of the New Testament, in the midst of these trials. (more…)
This 4th Sunday of Easter we continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord from the grave. In this second essay we focus on a claim that has shared consensus: Shortly after Jesus’ death, a number of his followers had experiences that allowed them to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to them. Skeptical scholars, of course, would not grant that it was the risen Jesus his followers experienced. The naturalistic response to this claim has usually been a hallucination hypothesis of some sort. The naturalist response is that they were grieving and thought they saw the risen Jesus but it was a hallucination. (more…)
This 3rd Sunday of Easter we continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord from the grave. In this second essay we focus on a claim that has shared consensus: Jesus of Nazareth died by crucifixion. Death by crucifixion was a common form employed by Romans to execute common criminals. Dr. Michael Licona’s 700+ page book The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, cites Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Livy, Philo and Josephus as reporting that prior to crucifixions the subjects were flogged or whipped. (Licona, 4.3.1) History records that after the brutal torture, the subjects were then followed by crowds to be nailed to a cross or tree. The details of the crucifixion styles by Roman soldiers is well documented. (more…)
We enter the second Sunday of Easter and it is fitting to discuss the Resurrection. Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus for good reason, since Jesus has risen we are no longer in our sins. However, not everyone believes the resurrection of Jesus is a fact which is sad. Are Christians missing the boat on this issue? Do we have a good reason to believe the resurrection actually happened? Some are afraid to really look into this matter because they are afraid of what the answer might yield. “Why rock the boat?” “This is an issue of faith not history.” But as Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 15:17 “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” The resurrection of Jesus is not just a matter of faith, it is a matter of fact. The New Testament writers constantly appealed to the resurrection of Jesus as an historical event. In the Apostle Paul’s mind, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christianity is false, we will be judged by the true God, and Christians who have died are lost. It was never communicated as an event that could have possibly happened. It was communicated as an event that had happened and was witnessed. If it didn’t happen, then as Paul said, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (more…)