Jesus not only died but also rose from the dead! Yes, you heard it right. This blog explore the doctrine of resurrection. Go through the video and notes and summarise in the comments below along with doubts/questions.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
All the religious leaders and founders are still dead, but Jesus is risen and alive because of resurrection. It is the backbone of apostolic teachings (Acts 2:22-24; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 17:18-32), the foundation of the doctrines (1 Cor 15:1-21) and motivation for good Christian conduct (Rom 6:4; Col 3:1). Our faith will be futile and we will be in sin if Jesus was not resurrected (1 Cor 15:17).
2. What is understood as resurrection?
The OT predicts the death and resurrection of the Messiah (Ps 16:10; Isa 53). Jesus predicted, on numerous occasions, his own death and resurrection (Mat 16:21). Jesus, according to Roman law, was nailed to a cross for crucifixion. A Roman executioner certified that Jesus was dead and put a spear through His chest. Out of the wound flowed blood and water, indicating massive internal bleeding (Jn 19:31-37). Jesus was anointed for burial and encased in wrappings (Jn 19:38-42). The body of Jesus was placed in a tomb, and the tomb was sealed with a Roman seal, and a guard of Roman soldiers was placed in front of it (Mt 27:62-66). Three days later [Friday night, Saturday and early Sunday], the tomb was found to be empty. Jesus appeared on many occasions, to many audiences, proving that He was alive. On one occasion, He appeared to more than 500 eyewitnesses simultaneously (1 Cor 15:3-11).
3. What resurrection is not?
a) Resurrection of Jesus is not a surviving influence: It is not memory that lasts today but the person of Jesus Christ returned to life and lives on even today.
b) The risen Lord is not a resuscitated corpse: To ‘resuscitate’ means to revive a patient who has gone into coma or to bring someone back to life who has been pronounced clinically dead. On three occasions Christ brought back people from death – daughter of Jairus (Mk 5:39), son of the widow of Nain (Lk 7:11-15) and Lazarus (Jn 11). Twice found in the book of Acts – Peter raised Dorcas (or Tabitha) in Acts 9:36-43 and Paul raised Eutychus in Acts 20:7-12. All these five instances above are not resurrection in essence. They were brought back to life with the need to die again. But for Jesus, on one hand, he was not revived from swoon or coma, for he had been dead for about thirty-six hours. On the other hand, he was not brought back to life with the need to die again.
c) The risen Lord is not a revived faith: Many claims that resurrection of Jesus is not an event of past history. But it is historically verifiable event not just an improved faith.
d) The risen Lord is not merely a living experience of the Spirit: He came back to life in body. So, his resurrection is of bodily resurrection and it was a physical event.
4. Evidences for the Resurrection
The following evidences can be cited in support of resurrection of Jesus Christ.
a. Prophetic writings: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is foretold in the Psalms (Ps 16:10-11; Acts 2:31-32), predicted by the prophets (Is 53:10-12) and announced by Christ himself (Mk 9:9-10; Jn 2:19-22). Peter emphatically said that resurrection is pre-announced (Acts 2:24-32).
b. Bold and powerful apostolic teachings: After a few days of resurrection of Jesus, the apostles started to teach and proclaim boldly about the resurrection (Acts 1:22; 4:33). If they had not personally witnessed the Lord after resurrection, they would not be so bold to even die for this truth. The Jewish leaders planted false rumours (Mt 28:11-15) but that could not prevent their conviction.
c. The empty tomb: Except the tomb of Jesus all the tombs of the world are occupied today (Mt 28:6). The fact that the tomb was empty was confirmed by Peter and John who visited the tomb on the day of resurrection (Jn 20:6-8). Even those who deny the resurrection of Jesus agree on this point that the tomb was empty.
The testimony of the angels: The angels declared that Jesus was risen as predicted by him (Mt 28:6; Lk 24:5-7)
d. The post resurrection appearances of Jesus: After resurrection Jesus appeared several times to prove is resurrection (Acts 1:3). Some of these appearances are given below -
· To Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:14, Mk 16:9)
· To women returning from the tomb (Mt 28:9,10)
· To Peter (Lk 24:12, 34, 1 Cor 15:5)
· To the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-33)
· To the 10 disciples when Thomas was absent (Lk 24:36-43, Jn 20:19-24)
· To eleven disciples including Thomas a week after resurrection (Mk 16:14; Jn 20:26-29)
· To the seven disciples at the sea of Galilee (Jn 21:1-23)
· To 500 plus disciples, Peter, James, all other apostles and Paul (1 Cor 15:6)
· To James, the Lord’s brother (1 Cor 15:7)
· To eleven disciples at the Galilean mountain (Mt 28:16-20)
· To the disciples on the day of ascension at the Mount of Olives (Lk 24:44-53; Acts 1:3-9)
· To Stephen before he was martyred (Acts 7:55-56)
· To Paul on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6; 22:6-11; 26:13-18; 1 Cor 15:8)
· To John at the island of Patmos (Rev 1:10-19)
e. The transformed lives of the disciples: The disciples who were very timid, boldly testified that they were eye witnesses of the resurrected Christ (Acts 2:32, 3:15 .5:32). They were prepared to suffer for Him and all the other disciples, except Apostle John, were martyred.
5. The nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ
The resurrection body of Jesus had the following characteristics –
a) The body had flesh and bones: The resurrected body of Jesus had flesh and bones and not flesh and blood (Lk 24:39). The life of a creature is in the blood (Lev 17:11).
b) The body had a different physical structure: The resurrected body had a different physical structure since it could pass through solid wall (Jn 20:19).
c) The body was a glorious body: Paul wrote that Jesus will transform our lowly bodies like the glorious resurrected body of Jesus. So, the resurrected body of Jesus was a glorious body (Phil 3:21).
d) The body was an immortal body: His resurrected body is an immortal body; so it will never die (Rom 6:9).
e) The body was a different spiritual body: Paul wrote that the resurrection body will not be a physical body but a spiritual body (1 Cor 15:44). So, the resurrection body of Jesus was a spiritual body.
6. False theories which deny the truth of the resurrection
There are several false theories denying the truth of the resurrection
a) Fraud theory: Many propagate that the whole story of resurrection is a hoax, a deliberate attempt to prove that Jesus resurrected from the dead.
b) Swoon theory: This theory suggests that Jesus actually did not die on the cross. He fainted on the cross. As the tomb was cool, he revived because of spices and rest. How could a person survive the torture of the cross and being certified dead by Roman soldiers!
c) Hallucination theory: This theory suggests that the disciples saw Jesus in hallucination and imagination as they had deep desire to see him again. How can hundreds of people hallucinate at one time and in various places of appearance of Jesus (Lk 24:25; Acts 1:3)?
d) Ghost theory: This theory suggests that the disciples saw a ghost and imagined that it was a ghost. How can ghosts have flesh and bones, eat and drink and be touched (Lk 24:39; 43; Jn 20:27-28)?
e) Wrong tomb theory: This theory suggests that the disciples went to the wrong tomb on the resurrection day. If they had gone to the wrong tomb, then the dead body from the right tomb could have been produced to negate the claims of resurrection!
f) Myth theory: This theory suggests that resurrection of Jesus is a myth handed down from generations by the disciples. How could a myth be believed by million of people and be willing die for such a myth!
7. The implication of resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ
a. To prove Jesus’ deity: Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead (Rom 1:4)
b. To guarantee the salvation of believers: Jesus is alive and intercedes for those who come to God and is able to save them completely (Heb 7:24-25).
c. To guarantee the resurrection of believers: The believers will be resurrected because Christ was raised as ‘first fruits of those who have fallen asleep’ (1 Cor 15:20; Acts 26:23).
d. To help us to live like Jesus: Believers can live like Christ (1 Pet 3:21) due to their union with Jesus in His resurrection (Rom 6:5) and with the help of the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead (Rom 8:11).
e. To fulfil the Scripture: Scripture prophesied that Jesus Christ will be resurrected and Jesus fulfilled them by his resurrection (Lk 24:45-46).
f. To justify the sinners: Jesus was delivered to death and raised to life for our justification (Rom 4:25; 8:34)
g. To guarantee the coming judgement: Scripture says God has fixed a day to judge the world with justice. On that day Jesus Christ will judge the world. The proof of this judgement is the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 17:31).
h. To make available to us the power of his resurrection: Because of his resurrection the power which raised Christ from the dead is available to us (Phil 3:10; Eph 1:19-22; 3:20)
C. Barnabas, “Basic Christian Doctrines”, Trichy: Indian Institute of Intercultural Studies, 2003.
Training Department, UESI, "An Outline of Christian Doctrines”, 2016, Unpublished Manuscript.
Wayne Grudem, “Systematic Theology”, Michigan: Zondervan Academic, 1994.