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EP. 112 Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ

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Welcome to another week of the Hope Rescue Podcast. This week we are wrapping up our two-part series discussing proof of the resurrection. Keep reading to discover solid reasoning for why we can be confident in our faith in Jesus.

Last week we discussed the different forms of evidence when scientific evidence is not a possibility. A common source of evidence used in courtrooms today is eye-witness accounts. Someone who physically saw the event occur is one of the most impactful and reliable pieces of evidence in many cases. One way we can know Jesus was resurrected after his crucifixion is because over 500 people were eyewitnesses to the living Jesus. After Jesus's resurrection, He presented himself on multiple different occasions, and we have the written record to prove it in the scriptures.

The first appearance of Jesus after the resurrection was to Mary Magdalene. John 20:14-16 says, “Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).”

After his appearance to Mary Magdalene, Jesus appeared to three more women, James's mother Mary, Salome, and Joanna. Matthew 28:9 says, “And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.”

Jesus then appeared to Peter privately, making Peter the first of the apostles to see the risen Christ. Later that day, Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-16 says, "That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”

On the evening of the day of the resurrection, Jesus finally appeared to the disciples except for Thomas. John 20:19-23 says, "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Eight days later, Jesus appears again to the disciples but with Thomas present. John 20:26-28 says, "Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

After this, Jesus also appeared to seven disciples on the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-2) and again to the eleven disciples in Galilee (Matthew 28:16,17). As we read last week, 1 Corinthians 15:6 says that Jesus appeared to more than 500 people at one time after He was resurrected. After his death and resurrection, Jesus made multiple appearances over a forty-day period. Because of these appearances, the disciples and many others were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus had risen from the dead. After Jesus was arrested, many of His closest followers hid and even denied Jesus to save their lives. Then, after personally seeing Jesus alive again, these same disciples completely changed course and ultimately gave their lives to spread His story. Peter and Paul were both martyred in Rome around 66AD. Paul was beheaded and Peter was crucified upside down. Andrew was crucified in Greece. Thomas was killed in India by soldiers. Philip was arrested and cruelly put to death. Matthew was possibly stabbed to death in Ethiopia. Bartholomew was martyred for the gospel. James was stoned and then clubbed to death. Simon was killed after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god. Matthais was burned to death.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6 says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” The gospel is not only that Jesus died for our sins. The most incredible part is that after He died for our sins, He was buried and raised from the dead on the third day. We serve the only living God. Death is defeated. Jesus will come again. And God Himself now lives inside all of us who believe through the Holy Spirit.

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