04 Apr 2010

He Is Risen!

Religious 17 Comments

Today is Easter. A simple declaration: I don’t think it’s a metaphor, or a really nice story with a happy ending. I truly believe that there was a man called Jesus from the town of Nazareth, who gave amazing sermons and showed an unbelievable knowledge of Jewish law despite his humble origins. He predicted his death and resurrection, and then when the Romans nailed him to a tree, Jesus died and rose from the dead.

I truly believe that is the most plausible explanation for the evidence we now have. For example, I don’t think it makes sense that his disciples would have hidden his body and then be willing to be persecuted and (in some cases) killed for spreading what they knew to be lies. And I don’t think Jesus could have gotten nearly as popular as he was, if he actually didn’t heal people in droves.

It doesn’t make sense to me that a guy who could speak such profound truths about human nature–such that they blow me away even now, two thousand years after he uttered them–was either lying about being the Messiah, or that his followers–who had witnessed such grace, wisdom, and majesty firsthand–then took it upon themselves to doctor up what he had said, with blasphemous lies.

There are people who “come back from the dead” all the time. You can watch documentaries on the History channel about it. A kid falls into a frozen lake, someone goes into cardiac arrest and gets brought back in the emergency room, etc. This is all perfectly “scientific” because a guy in a white coat with “MD” after his name tells us he saw it with his own eyes.

And yet when a bunch of fishermen are willing to be put to death for saying they saw the crucified Jesus walking around with their own eyes, our modern culture teaches us to reflexively respond, “That’s against the laws of physics. People don’t come back from the dead.”

Jesus is risen!

This is the only video I know to capture the proper spirit:

17 Responses to “He Is Risen!”

  1. Daniel Hewitt says:


  2. Michael says:


  3. Kurt says:


  4. fundamentalist says:

    Great testimony!

  5. knoxharrington says:

    As a deconverted Protestant I was always concerned by how thick the disciples were about Christ’s “message.” How could the disciples be with Jesus for such a great amount of time and think that he was a political messiah rather than a spiritual one? I think that the procession of Jesus on Palm Sunday into Jerusalem indicated that people thought of him as a political liberator rather than as the fulflillment of prophecy.

    I have one question and I think it deserves some consideration. At the end of Matthew it mentions the tombs opening up and the “saints” wandering the streets – meaning the dead were walking around Jerusalem. Leaving aside the logical absurdity of Christian saints before the advent of Christianity – could there be Christians prior to the Crucifixion? – where is the contemporaneous record documenting zombies wandering around Jerusalem? That is a pretty big deal one would think. Even if one didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah wouldn’t one make note of dead people wandering around the town? And please, no “self-referential” arguments in response. Quoting the Bible to prove the Bible is spurious. That’s like saying that Gandalf making a statement in the third volume of the trilogy proves the existence of something in the first volume. Where is the historical record proving the claims of Matthew? Keep in mind we are talking about an at least semi-literate society here – Jews had to be able to read the Torah to be Bar Mitzvahed – no?

  6. K Sralla says:


    Good questions!

    First, if you are a former Protestant, then you understand the idea of “saints” prior to Christ’s resurrection. Moses and Elijah are indeed “saints” even though they lived prior to Christ. However, the text does not require that the dead person’s in question be raised prior to Jesus. In fact, many NT Greek scholars believe the NT Greek syntax suggests that the “raisings” followed Christ’s resurrection (“and coming out of the graves after His resurrection”). Matthew recounts that some of these went into Jerusalem, and were recognized by people who presumably knew them while they were living the first time around. Matthew’s point of recounting this is largely theological, showing that there was great power rained down by God, demonstrated first through the resurrection of Jesus, but also by these other signs and wonders. In this way, the gospel writer clearly places the resurrection of Jesus in the context of a *supernatural* work of God, not mearly his providential use of second-cause natural processes ( such as someone waking up whose body had been in a state of suspension). Although Jesus was raised prior to the decay process setting in, I think the point of this episode is to show that the resurrection power of God even works where complete death and decay had already taken place.

    Your main question is most important. As you know there are in fact no known detailed contemporary independent historical records of the resurrection of Jesus outside the witness of the Apostles. While virtually no scholar denies that there was a historical Jesus, the eyewitness theological record of him was largely handed down orally by the Apostles (mainly Peter), and recorded decades later by some of their close followers, probably under threat of being wiped out by Roman persecution. The synoptic gospels then were likely even later theologically-minded editorial editions of the first written records directly given by the Apostle Peter to Mark and others. The Gospel of John is debated upon, whether it was written by the Apostle John, a first-hand eyewitness, or by some of the Apostle’s followers. Conservative biblical scholars hold that it is written by John the Apostle, and eyewitness of the resurrected Christ.

    The second independent stream of information about Jesus, ironically probably an earlier written account than the synoptics, comes from Paul. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gets at the matter directly: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

    “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.”

    And that is the claim of the Gospel. Christ is risen, and that through faith and repentance, our sins can be forgiven, and we can one day experience resurrection too. The validity of the claim lies with the honesty of the Apostles. Either one believes they are telling the truth, or they are judged liers. Paul himself leaves no wiggle room on this issue.

    • Kurt says:

      K Sralla,

      You appear knowledgeable concerning the validity of the Bible and the gospels. Do you have any suggestions on books I could read about this? I am getting tired of some of my friends suggesting the New Testament was merely written by monks in a dusty basement in 1252 AD, and having no idea whether they are correct in their, what I suspect are, wildly inaccurate statements.

  7. knoxharrington says:

    Thanks for the non-hysterical response. I appreciate your obviously taking the time and thought to respond.

    In the church I attend – yes, I attend church every Sunday here in Dallas in a conservative, fundamentalist Bible church filled with very nice, decent people – but the disconnect between faith and reason became too great and I had to go with reason. That is my personal judgment and I in no way denigrate believers – part of me wishes I could have faith.

    Now, in response. When I say “saints” in the Protestant sense of the word I take that to mean believers in Christ and his resurrection. Presumably, those who were resurrected died before Christ and therefore cannot be “saints” in the Protestant sense of that word. I leave aside Catholic notions of sainthood because I, quite frankly, am confused by the “man-made” aspect of much of Catholic theology.

    Second, you almost answered my question with regard to eyewitnesses when you wrote:

    “Your main question is most important. As you know there are in fact no known detailed contemporary independent historical records of the resurrection of Jesus outside the witness of the Apostles.”

    My response is simply – why not? Again, those who were formerly dead are wandering the streets of Jerusalem and there is no historical record outside of the gospels? If this were any other instance, say UFO sightings, this would not pass the smell test but because it forms the basis of an entire religion and worldview it is glossed over with “you either believe the apostles or don’t.” Again, not that you gloss this over because this is how everyone I ask about this responds. Surely, some non-believer made a contemporaneous record or passed down some oral history that contained the phrase “and then one Passover weekend dead people starting wandering the city.” It strains credulity to think that only believers thought enough of the events in question to create a record – either oral or written.

    At any rate, again, thanks for your considerate and learned response and Happy Easter, belatedley.

  8. Leo says:

    How do you feel about the ascension?

    • bobmurphy says:

      I think it was the right thing to do at the time.

      • Leo says:

        Do you happen to remember a Stephen Shelby from Hillsdale College?

        • bobmurphy says:


          • Leo says:

            I work with him at the California Air Resources Board. He is one of the economists working on AB 32 (California Cap-and-Trade). He mentioned your name when I was talking to him about Austrian economics.

            I’ll see you at Mises University!
            It’s going to be great.

              • Leo says:

                I don’t think Stephen worked on that analysis. He worked on the one that was released two weeks ago. You can go ahead and rip into that one as well.

                And I’m no environmentalist; CARB pays quite well and hires during a recession. 😀

  9. RobertH says:

    Dr. Gary Habermas and Dr. Mike Licona have a book on the historical resurrection. Dr. William Lane Craig does debates on His resurrection all the time and does an awesome job!

    Great post and link btw!

    • knoxharrington says:

      I have seen William Lane Craig several times and, I cannot think of an exception to this, everything he says with regard to the resurrection is self-referential meaning the Bible says x, y and z; x, y and z confirm each other so it must be true. Huh? Again, because a document is internally consistent doesn’t make it true. Particularly with religious documents the circularity and self-referentialism takes on heightened forms because of the claims being made. I just don’t think something as remarkable as resurrection, zombies (maybe not zombies per se – could they talk?) wandering the streets, not to mention the other miracles attested to in the Gospels, etc. – but without outside foundational proof – can be determined to be true based on people with vested interests and who wrote the documents so that they were internally consistent.

      Yet one more example – there has been no Egyptian record of the Exodus ever produced. If the Nile flowed with blood, frogs, locusts, first born males dying, etc. were accurate surely some Egyptian at the time would have made some written record akin to “Moses showed up and x, y and z happened so Pharaoh let the Jews go but decided to hunt them down and an entire army got swallowed up in the Red Sea after the sea parted and the Jews made it to the other side.” In today’s vernacular there would be cellphone video of that – why not the equivalent then.