Paul’s Logic on the Resurrection

Paul’s Logic on the Resurrection

4/4/10   Sermon Online

The resurrection of Christ is God’s logical, irrefutable, fundamental proof for all the claims of Christianity. Namely that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Isa.7:14), the God/man (John 1:1,14) the Son of God (John 3:16; Roms.1:4), Savior of His people (Matt.1:21), the coming Judge of all the world (Acts 17:31), the One who was victorious over Satan (IJn3:8; Heb.2:14), sin (Heb.9:26) and death (1Cor 15:26). And the One who promises life abundantly now (John 10:10) and eternal life with Him after death in a glorified resurrected body (John 11:25,26; 1Cor.15:50-57). As we will see in Paul’s logic there is no Christianity apart from the resurrection.

The Scriptures claim that, after Jesus died, He was resurrected on the third day by His Father. The apostles and New Testament Christians boldly based everything that they taught on the truthfulness of Christ resurrection.


Biblical scholar, G. E. Ladd, concludes:
The entire New Testament was written from the perspective of the resurrection. Indeed, the resurrection may be called the major premise of the early Christian faith.

Michael Ramsey, has said:

For the first disciples, the gospel without the resurrection was not merely a gospel without a final chapter; it was not a gospel at all.

Purpose: To learn from Scripture God’s logic for the indisputable evidence of Christianity—the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The resurrection proves He is:

The Christ, the Son of God – John 20:24-31; Romans 1:4

* Lord and Christ – Acts 2:32-36; 17:3; Romans 14:9; Ephesians 1:20-23

* One who forgives sins – Acts 13:30-39; Romans 4:25; Luke 24:46,47; 1 Thessalonians 1:10

* Judge of all mankind – Acts 17:30,31

Richard Packham’s atheist doctrine concerning the resurrection of Christ.

In religious cults, for example, especially in those based on a leader who claims prophetic ability, the problem of cognitive dissonance arises when the prophecies do not come to pass. Cults that promise happiness in exchange for obedience cause cognitive dissonance when their obedient members realize that they are not, in fact, happier.

For the followers of Jesus, the two incompatible facts were, first, that Jesus was the promised king (‘mashiah’) who was going to usher in the Kingdom under God and make the Jews the leaders of the world, and, second, that Jesus was executed before establishing that expected kingdom. How could his disciples reconcile these two contradictory facts?

It is not difficult to imagine. Obviously a dead man cannot found a kingdom of any kind. Therefore, Jesus must somehow be alive. But how is that possible? The answer was at hand: the Jewish belief (at least among the Pharisees) in the resurrection of the dead in the “last days.”

But the mere logical conclusion that Jesus must be still alive (or alive again), and thus able to “return” to carry out the establishment of the promised Kingdom, would benefit from some tangible evidence. Here, our knowledge of how urban legends arise and grow helps. It is easy to suppose, and likely, that people might ask Peter or another disciple how he knows that Jesus is not dead. If Peter were to say, “I feel Jesus’ presence with me often, as though he were actually here,” the zealous believer could easily pass this remark on to others as, “Peter says Jesus is often with him,” which, after a few more steps becomes, “Peter has seen Jesus alive!”

Or two disciples meet a stranger on the road who talks like Jesus. They tell about this meeting, and in the frequent retelling it becomes an actual meeting with Jesus himself, whom the disciples had failed to recognize.

Believers undoubtedly speculated about these things: What must it have been like? Do you suppose he just walked out of the tomb? Did someone see him come out? And there were undoubtedly imaginative guesses: I’ll bet Mary was there. I’ll bet Peter went to check the tomb. And soon these guesses became rumors, and then they became facts: urban legends.

One cannot help but be reminded of the many stories circulating nowadays about people who have seen Elvis Presley alive. Just as it does no good to tell devout Elvis fans that such sightings are impossible, so too it must have been impossible to dissuade Jesus’ followers from believing what they so desperately wanted to believe.

Another Possible Explanation

I said that there were at least two possible explanations. I have suggested the first. The second is the possibility that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, but survived, at least for a short time. This possibility has been suggested by a number of scholars, and in varying forms. Most suggested scenarios include some kind of plot by an inner circle of Jesus’ friends (such as Joseph of Arimathea) to snatch the suffering Jesus unconscious from the cross before his actual death, then to nurse him back to health. Some suggest that he then lived for years in hiding (he was, after all, a condemned criminal), perhaps to participate and finally die in the rebellion of 69-70 A.D. Others suggest that he died soon after, having failed to recover fully from his ordeal on the cross.

The irony of this suggestion is that it allows us to lend greater credence to some of the details of the crucifixion and resurrection stories as reported in the gospels and Acts, especially the appearances to the disciples. The stories of the ascension (especially the version in Acts 1, placing it forty days after the resurrection) then become the possible report of when Jesus actually died (and really “went to heaven”).

Summary

If a reasonable, possible explanation exists for a set of facts, we cannot logically accept a different explanation which defies reason, goes against all our human experience, and requires us to accept miracles or magic. One Christian to whom I suggested the above possibilities exclaimed, “That is absurd, to think that Jesus’ friends took him from the cross alive!” But what is more absurd: to think that a condemned man’s friends tried to save his life, or that a dead man came back to life after two nights in a tomb?

Jesus logic for His claims to be the God/man.

Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Mat 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

Mat 12:39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Mat 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Mar 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Luk 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Luk 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Luk 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

Pss.16:9-11;22;69; Is.52:14;53:12; Zec.12:10:13:7; Gen.3:15; Nu.21:6-9;Ps16:10; Jer.23:5,6; Dan.9:26

The apostles repeatedly declared the logic behind their boldness to preach the gospel they were witnesses to the historical fact of the resurrection of their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 1:22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 10:39-41; 13:30-32; 22:14,15; 26:16; 1 Cor. 15:3-8,15. All were persecuted and most gave their lives for this testimony, but none ever withdrew it, denied it, or retracted it. Where is the logic in them giving up their lives for a lie?

The Jews and the Roman government believed in the logic of the resurrection.

Mat 27:62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,

Mat 27:63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’

Mat 27:64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”

Mat 27:65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.”

Mat 27:66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

Mar 15:43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Mar 15:44 Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time.

Mar 15:45 So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.

Mat 28:11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.

Mat 28:12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,

Mat 28:13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’

Mat 28:14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.”

Mat 28:15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Paul’s Seven Logical Consequences if there were no Resurrection 1Cor. 15:12-19

1. Christ has not been raised.

2. Our preaching is in vain

3. Your faith is in vain

4. We are false witnesses of God

5. We are still in our sins

6. Those who have died believing in Christ are in Hell

7. We are of all men most to be pitied.

1Co 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

For example, consider the writings of Josephus, a 1st Century Jewish historian:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonders, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew many after him both of the Jews and the gentiles. He was the Christ. When Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and then thousand other wonderful things about him, and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

(Antiquities 18:63-64).

Matthew

Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia,

killed by a sword wound

Mark

Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by

horses through the streets until he was dead.

Luke

Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

John

Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of

boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome.

However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos.

He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

Peter

He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.

According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

James

Just The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.

* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

James the Great

Son of Zebedee was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem..

The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian

Bartholomew

Also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia .

He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey .

Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew

Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras , Greece .

After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour.

The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas

Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent

Jude

Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

Matthias

The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Paul

Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire . These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

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