Did Jesus Rise From the DEAD?
Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence.
What is the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus? An empty tomb story and questionable post mortem occurrences?
If a body is missing from a tomb, do we assume that the corpse has resurrected? Or do we try and discover who moved the corpse?
There are many possible explanations of why the corpse was moved. Ask me if you can't think of any. But Matthew's gospel appears to close the "loophole" with the guards on the tomb. But the guards on the tomb story is most certainly fiction. We have four gospel writers telling the same tale and yet only Matthew mentions guards. The guards are so important to the tale, that if it were true the other gospel writers would most certainly have mentioned the guards.
But Matthew didn't close the loophole tight enough with his guards on the tomb fiction.
Matthew 27:62-66 (New American Standard Bible)
62Now on the next day, [day in the Greek means daylight hours] the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
63and said, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.'
64"Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the first."
65Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how."
66And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.
So you see that Jesus' corpse was placed in the tomb, and the NEXT DAY, during daylight hours, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and requested a guard be placed on the tomb. THE FIRST NIGHT THE CORPSE WAS IN THE TOMB THE TOMB WAS UNGUARDED. Anyone could have opened the tomb, removed the corpse, and closed the tomb to conceal the fact that the tomb was now empty.
So the empty tomb story proves nothing.
But what about those that saw Jesus post mortem?
We have Mary Magdalene.
Mark 16:9 (New American Standard Bible)
9Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. [See also Luke 8:2]
I would expect that any woman with seven demons would be considered a crazy woman mentally ill in today's world. Jesus may have calmed her down so she appeared normal.[cured] But most likely the shock of Jesus' sudden death and the loss of his soothing words may have pushed her back into a state of delusion. In any event she was not a competent witness.
But what about those 500 brethren who all saw Jesus at the same time post mortem according to Paul? This fiction is ridiculous. Did someone rent out a "Hall," and invite 500 brethren to all come at the same time to see Jesus? I am certain that this is Paul's fiction since Jesus only had 120 followers in the upper room on Pentecost when they all received the Holy Spirit.
What about Jesus' Apostles?
Matthew 28:16-17 (New American Standard Bible)
16But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.
17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.
This is an amazing Scripture passage. Here we have 11 men who lived with Jesus several years, they see Jesus post mortem and some of them have doubt?
I have my own theory of how the Jesus resurrection story started with the Apostles. Many were fishermen, probably others were laborers of some kind. Fishing in those days was hard work. But when they traveled with Jesus they got used to the soft life. They preached, and passed around the baskets, and didn't have to row boats and pull nets out of the sea.
After Jesus died they went back to their old hard life.
John 21:3 (New American Standard Bible)
3Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will also come with you." They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
They fish, they catch nothing, but then one disciple thinks he sees Jesus on the shore.
John 21:7 (New American Standard Bible)
7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.
Notice that Peter does not recognize Jesus. He "heard that it was the Lord." It is just some stranger on the shore, but at that moment Peter realizes that if Jesus were alive they could all go back to the soft evangelists life and to Hell with the hard fisherman's life.
It is interesting that post mortem, Jesus only shows himself to his own followers. He promised the high Priest and his entourage that they would see him. [Mark 14:62] But they never did.
Jesus promised his evil and adulterous generation that they would see him post mortem, [Matthew 12:39-40] but they never did.
If the Scientologists claimed that L Ron Hubbard resurrected, came to their conference, and then went to Heaven, would you believe them? So how can we believe a story when only Jesus' followers are the witnesses?
We have an extraordinary claim that Jesus rose from the dead, but the evidence for the claim is very poor.