Evidence For The Resurrection #4

BibleMalletPastor Barry/ The Gathering Church     Evidence for the Resurrection #4     The Verdict     To hear this message download our free App at the App Store: The Gathering Connect

Evidence to Convict Romans 1:16-19, Acts 17:31, John 3:18-19

What have we learned this far about evidence for the Resurrection?  

  1. The evidence for the resurrection is backed up by first hand documentation from eyewitnesses and supported by those who were contemporaries of the historic event.  This vast array of eye witness accounts have been recorded in the New Testament which has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work of literature, with over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts catalogued, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian.  
  1. No documents from the same time period controvert (deny or refute) these eyewitness accounts: Not Rome, not the Sanhedrin, not historians…no one until “present day” skeptics. 
  1. After the alleged resurrection and subsequent testimonies, James, the half brother of Jesus converted and went on to lead a church in Jerusalem; Thomas (the doubter) believed, and thousands more were converted (Acts 2:41).  
  1. All of the Apostles, and many converts, were active in Christian missionary work until the day they died even among horrible persecutions. All of the Apostles died martyrs deaths save John who was boiled in oil and later died of natural causes. Many other Christian missionaries and martyrs followed. 
  1. The phenomenal growth of the Christian religion from one man with twelve disciples to the largest religion in the world is proof to the resurrection, for without it the religion would have collapsed.
  1. The same Jesus who allegedly resurrected accurately foretold His death and the number of days before He would rise. He also accurately predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.  His life, work and ministry were also foretold in numerous prophecies in the Old Testament as many as 1000 years before His birth.  Nearly 300 references to 61 specific prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The odds against one person fulfilling that many prophecies would be beyond all mathematical possibility.
  1. All established refutations of the resurrection are easily put to rest with the simple logic of facts presented by the eyewitness accounts. 
  1. No dead body was ever discovered although the living body of Jesus was reportedly seen by hundreds over a 40 day period.

 We have looked at all of these evidences for the resurrection in the past three studies and still there is more. I would like to add two which no man can deny. 

  1. The millions and millions of testimonies of people throughout the ages who have been changed through faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ and the miraculous circumstances associated with such testimonies. These cannot just be written off as coincidental happenings by the faithless. We who believe know better.
  1. Lastly, I bear you my own testimony!

The Apostle Paul said that he was not ashamed of the gospel because it reveals the power of God to save everyone who believes on faith (Romans 1:16-17); however, it is true that one who believes must believe on some measure of faith.  Clearly the Christian faith is not blind but it must    accept the supernatural power of God in miracles.  If one denies miracles all-together then one will surely reject the resurrection of Jesus and the whole of the Bible no matter how much evidence is presented.  The Apostle reminds such people who suppress the truth that the wrath of God will rightfully come upon them one day because the evidence of God is plain (Romans 1:18-19).  According to Paul, a day of reckoning for all will come (Acts 17:31) and the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection will be considered all the proof necessary to convict the unbeliever.  The Apostle John echoes this truth in (John 3:18-19) his gospel.  The skeptics of the resurrection produce very weak arguments against the resurrection and other miracles of God recorded in the Bible.  They deny Christ on pretty shaky ground.  Death is the great equalizer of the argument.  If a Christian should be wrong then what?  We die into nothing and have lived with great hope.  If an unbeliever be wrong then all is lost forever:  And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46

I prefer the odds of the Christian, and with Paul I can truly say: “for I am not ashamed!”

Liar, Lunatic or Lord? Mark 8:29, John 11:25, 20:31

Regarding Jesus: His claims of being Messiah, being the only way to God and such proof of His resurrection; all of mankind must come decide on a  verdict…the evidence demands it.  As C.S. Lewis (British writer, theologian and professor) once wrote: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”  (C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity) 

As apologist Josh McDowell clearly showed in his classic book on evidences for the Christian faith titled: Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Jesus is undeniably a historical figure substantiated as such by more historical manuscripts than any other figure in ancient history.  His life and claims are well documented.  McDowell says: “Jesus claimed to be God.  He did not leave any other    options.  His claim must be true or false…”But who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29) is also asked of us today.”  I will also add that Jesus expects us to answer the question He posed to Martha about the resurrection too (John 11:25)… “Do you believe this?”  McDowell goes on to illustrate how Jesus was either a Liar and a hypocrite, because he told others not to lie, or He must have been a self-deluded Lunatic who believed He was God and died for His delusion.  The only other choice is that He is the Lord God almighty: as stated and proved by the resurrection.

We cannot put Jesus on a shelf as a great moral teacher.  That is not a valid option.  He is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.  The evidence of the resurrection is clearly in favor of Jesus being Lord; however, some people reject this clear evidence because of the moral implications involved.  It seems that God reminds the world at least twice annually of this decision we must make.  At Christmas we are reminded of His reaching out to man in His supernatural birth and at Easter of His promise to those who will receive Him by His supernatural resurrection— and then there is the Bible—that indestructible “legal” document of His grace, mercy and wrath.  “And these things have been written so that you will believe…” (John 20:31)  Your eternal life or death is in your hands.  His verdict is documented (John 3:18-19)…what is yours?













































Evidence for the Resurrection #3

TombInsidePastor Barry/ The Gathering Church  Evidence for the Resurrection: Refuting Skeptics   Hear this message: download free app in the App Store. Search the Gathering Connect

“To this very day” Matthew 27:62-66, 28:2-3, 11-15

In Matthew’s Gospel we read about the precautions that Pilate made to assure that the disciples would not come and steal the body of Jesus away as the Pharisees insinuated.  Pilate ordered that “a guard” should be posted at the tomb and the grave stone sealed.  Matthew then goes on to tell us that the earth shook, an angel of the Lord rolled the stone away and the “guards” became “like dead men”.  Later he tells us that “some of the guards” went into the city and reported everything to the chief priests —then they “devised a plan” and gave the soldiers a large sum of money to say that the disciples came in the night and stole the body away while they were sleeping.  The chief priests also promised the guards that if the report got to Pilate (the governor) they would keep them out of    trouble.  Matthew’s witness concludes with—”And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.” (“to this day” referring to the time in which Matthew had written his gospel, likely in 50AD and certainly before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD)

 To this very day (referring to the here and now) this same story remains the favorite among skeptics who mock the resurrection of Jesus; however, we will look at four of the most popular views and refute them all with evidence and logic:

 The Theft Theory Mark 14:50-52, 66-72

Let us look first to the stone that was rolled over tomb entrance.  The Archeology on such tombs of Jesus day reveal huge disks that would have required three to four men to roll away.  The stone was also sealed as we read in Matthew 27:64-65.  Such a seal consisted of a cord or beam that went   across the stone from top to bottom and was fixed in place with clay and sealed with the signet ring of whoever authorized the seal.  In this case it was the Roman governor of Jerusalem—Pilate.  The breaking of such a seal was punishable by death.  Let us also consider the guards at the tomb.  The Bible doesn’t say rather or not the guards at the tomb were Roman guards or Temple guards; however, the fact that the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate suggest Roman Guards.  If that was the case, historically,  “a guard” consisted of at least four armed soldiers (or more in multiples of four).  Each soldier took turns standing guard while the other three rested but were always at the ready.  The punishment for a Roman guard falling asleep at his post or dereliction of duty was always death.  If the guards were Temple guards then there would have been at least ten soldiers alternating on three watches throughout the night.  A captain was also assigned to check on the guards throughout the night with surprise visits.  If any were found asleep they would be severely beaten and oftentimes their garment would be lit on fire.  Rather Roman guards or Temple guards I think we can be pretty sure that the guards did not fall asleep as the widely circulated story said.

We also must consider the character and demeanor of the disciples who were the alleged “brave” body snatchers.  Mark said they all fled at Jesus arrest (Mark 14:50-52) and one of them even ran off naked! Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus (Mark 14:66-72), and none of the men, but John, even went to the crucifixion. On the third day the ladies found the Eleven together in a room and told them that Jesus had risen but they all considered their words “nonsense.” (Luke 24:9-11). I think it is safe to say that there weren’t four men among them that would have risked death, alluded armed guards, rolled a stone away, striped the grave clothes off of Jesus (John 20:6-7) and carried away His lifeless body so people would believe that He had risen—and why would they do that if everything they had hoped and  believed in was now dead and gone anyway?

History doesn’t record rather the guards were all executed or not, just that the chief priests and  elders paid them and said they would keep them out of trouble if Pilate found out, but remember how they paid Judas and then mocked him when he returned? (Matthew 27:1-10)

The Soon Theory John 19:32-37

Another theory is that when Jesus was placed in the tomb of Joseph of Armathea, He was still alive.  After several hours, He was revived by the cool air of the tomb, arose and departed!  First of all this theory is no where to be found in the annuals of antiquity.  No record argues that Jesus was not dead.  The judgment of the soldiers said so. Those who propose such a silly theory would have to say that Jesus wiggled out of his grave clothes, shoved the stone over by himself (even in his pierced and beaten condition) and ran away naked alluding the guards!

The Hallucination Theory 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, John 20:24-29

A third theory says that all of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances were really only supposed    appearances, what really happened is that people had hallucinations.  First of all this theory assumes that a whole lot of people hallucinated or saw visions of Jesus over a period of 40 days and at      multiple locations without the aid of drugs and alcohol.  In most of these appearances there were two or more witnesses of the same event.  In one instance there were “more than five hundred’ at one time who saw Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).  Lastly, Hallucinations are not challenged by the   hallucination.  Remember that Thomas refused to believe until Jesus made him put his finger into the nail marks and his hand into the side where He was speared (John 20:24-29)Hallucinations also do not abruptly come to a stop as did the appearances after the ascension of Jesus (Luke 24:50-51).

The Wrong Tomb Theory Luke 24:1-8

The final theory is that the women, and subsequently everyone else, simply went to the wrong tomb! It is inconceivable that even if Mary and the other women initially went to the wrong tomb that Peter and John would have also succumbed to the same mistake.  Surely the Chief priests, Pharisees and Roman authorities would have simply gone to the correct tomb and revealed the dead body of Jesus to silence the resurrection story.  Remember also that Jesus’ tomb would have been the only tomb with a broken Roman seal on it.  I am also sure that Joseph of Armathea would have known which tomb was his own (Matthew 27:59-60).  It would have also been the only tomb with empty grave cloths in it. Finally, if all of these knuckleheads had gone to the wrong tomb then we must also assume that the angels did too because they were at that same tomb and said, “He is not here; He has risen!” (Luke 24:1-8) 

He Has Risen…Repent! Acts 2:22-24, 36-41, 2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-10a

In Acts 2, Luke recorded Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost.  There was no refutation given by the Jews to his bold (even insulting) proclamation of Christ’s resurrection.  Why? Because the      evidence of the empty tomb was there for anyone to examine if they wanted to disclaim it.  The  response of the crowd to Peter’s accusation that they had crucified their Messiah and that He had risen was an emphatic “Brothers, what shall we do?”   “Repent”, he said, and three thousand repented that day and became Christians because they too believed that Christ had risen.  

The passage of time and the love of sin causes many to accept such refutations of Christ’s resurrection and Lordship; however, the evidence clearly points to the fact that He has accomplished just what He foretold.  He will also come again “like a thief” in judgment of such nonsense…”Repent!”  











































Evidence for the Resurrection #2

Prayer The Gathering/Pastor Barry: Evidence For The Resurrection #2 Fulfillment of Prophecy  To hear this message and others download our free App in the App Store: Search The Gathering Connect or go to THEGATHERINGHG.COM

Messiah? Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Luke 4:16-30, 24:44-49, Matthew 16:16-17

The early followers of Jesus were convinced that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah; however, most Jewish leaders did not share their view so they crucified Him.  These leaders held that Jesus never fulfilled the requirements to be the Messiah. Today, all the main branches of Judaism maintain that Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah for the same reason.  These would say that the death and resurrection of the Jewish Messiah was never accepted or taught in Judaism.  This concept however is not correct. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1947) prove so. Of the documents discovered 40% are copies of texts from the Hebrew Scriptures. 30% are texts from the Second Temple Period which were not canonized in the Hebrew Bible and the remaining 30% are sectarian manuscripts that shed light on the rules and beliefs of Judaism in those time periods.  These manuscripts reveal that pre-rabbinic Jewish interpretations of Isaiah 53 during the second temple period saw the “suffering     servant” as the messiah who both dies for Israel and reigns eternal. The finding is significant because it dates the messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53 over a century before Christianity and before the emergence of rabbinic Judaism.  The messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53 was not discovered in the Christian Church. It was already developed by Jews and found in Qumran.  One who is educated in the life and ministry of Jesus can not read the “Suffering Servant” prophecy of Isaiah and not see Him.

What Is Messiah?  The word messiah is derived from a Hebrew word which is translated “one who is anointed.” The concept of a particular Anointed One, developed within the Jewish Scriptures refers to a promised descendant from the line of King David who will redeem the Jewish people and reign on the Davidic throne. In the Greek Bible, the word is translated Christos, from which we get the English word “Christ.” Traditional Judaism and Christianity agree in principle that the Messiah will be a,    descendant of King David and establish a global kingdom. He is sent by God and will usher in a utopian era of peace. The oldest objection to the Messiahship of Jesus has been that he never established peace on earth and restored the Jewish nation, but Christians believe that there will be a “second coming”, at which time Jesus will fulfill the messianic functions originally expected of him. Traditional Jewish views focus on Messiah’s utopian reign. Contemporary Jews minimize or altogether reject the belief in a literal, personal Messiah. Reform Judaism rejects an heir of King David to ever arise.

The Biblical Messiah: The earliest reference to a prophetic son of David is found in          2 Samuel, approximately 1000 BC.  The prophecy says the “Messiah” will be born in the line of David according to 2 Samuel 7:12-13. Referring to David, these verses say, “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” The Davidic line reaches through the line of Seth to Noah, through the line of Shem to Abraham. Then through the lines of Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, and to Jesus.

The lineage of Jesus is recorded in two places: Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. It seems as if these two genealogies of Jesus contradict, but they do not. Luke is referring to the genealogy of Mary and the genealogy recorded in Matthew is of Joseph. The Matthew genealogy follows Joseph’s line (Jesus’ legal father), through David’s son Solomon. Luke follows Mary’s line (Jesus’ blood mother), through David’s son Nathan. Through both of these lines, Jesus Christ is David’s descendant and is eligible to be the promised Messiah. Tracing a genealogy through the mother’s line is somewhat unusual, but the virgin birth is unusual as well!

Jesus Claimed to be Messiah: Some say that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah, but they would be wrong again.  At the beginning of His ministry He made this claim:  Luke writes that Jesus went to Nazareth and unrolled the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and read from Isaiah 61:1-2a “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim  liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled the scroll back up, and said, “Today this  Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:16-30  Jesus quoted Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah and said that He fulfilled it! 

Luke also writes that after Jesus resurrected and appeared to the disciples in the upper room He said,  These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything   written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled… Thus it is  written, that the Messiah should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Luke 24:44-48 

Jesus also received Peter’s definition of Him as Messiah.  Matthew writes that Jesus said, “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.… Matthew 16:16-17 

Jesus Proved to be Messiah: According to Jewish scriptures, there are proof positive prophecies that the Messiah must fulfill.  The first we have already established in Jesus;  1.) The Messiah must be a descendant of king David.  2.) The Messiah must be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-4).  Jesus was (Matthew 2:1-12).   3.) The  Messiah must be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).  Jesus was (Matthew 1:18-23).   4.) The Messiah will suffer and die to atone for sin (Isaiah 53, Zechariah 12:10).  Jesus did (Romans 5:8-11).   5.) The Messiah must come before the destruction of the second temple and fulfill a chain of events (Daniel 9:24-27) within the time line described by the prophet Daniel:  The sequence of events are as follows:  (A) the temple will be rebuilt in times of trouble,  (B) the Messiah will arrive,  (C) the Messiah will be cut off or be killed, and  (D) after his death, Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed by an army (Roman Army 70AD). All of these were fulfilled in Jesus, and He Himself prophesied His own death and resurrection (Matthew 20:18-19) as well as the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44). All of this happened in the exact time line of Daniel’s amazing prophecy of weeks.

Note: The five prophecies we’ve reviewed about the Messiah were written by men from different times and places between about 500 and 1,000 years before Jesus was born. Thus there was no   opportunity for collusion among them. Bible scholars tell us that nearly 300 references to 61 specific prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The odds against one person fulfilling that many prophecies would be beyond all mathematical possibility.

Proof for the Resurrection? Ephesians 5:14

Jesus foretelling and fulfilling prophecy has everything to do with evidence for the resurrection    because it proves the point that Jesus must be supernatural. Resurrection from the dead is a supernatural happening.  None but Jesus could have fulfilled these prophecies and none but Jesus can raise himself up from the dead. 

How about you?  Are you feeling overwhelmed with life, even a bit dead?  Do you need a resurrection, hope in the midst of hopelessness?  Do you need a miracle.  There is no one else who has proven so well that He is able to do all that He has promised for those who trust in Him.





































































If Christ Has Not Been Raised 1 Corinthians 15:1-22

 1 Corinthians 15:12-22       The Facts of our Faith

It is hard to believe, but there are actually some people that call themselves “Christian” and do not believe that Jesus bodily resurrected from the dead.  Some say “his spirit” raised.  Others say “the story of the resurrection is simply a nice fable (like the virgin birth or the parting of the Red sea).”  Yes, there are “Christians” who don’t believe that those stories are real either.  In fact, many “Christians” do not believe that the Bible is wholly true and “God breathed” even though it says so itself (2 Timothy 3:16-17), but back to the resurrection for this is the series that we embark upon for the next four weeks: Evidence for the Resurrection. 

Let me begin by saying that if the bodily resurrection of Jesus is not true then there is absolutely no point in being a Christian at all.  “If only for this life we hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19  Our faith is entirely based on the premise that we have a living God!  If God is dead then why are we here in church on Sunday?  If God is dead then why follow His word?  Where is the “good news?”  As the Apostle Paul said, “By this gospel we are saved, if we hold firmly to the word…otherwise, we have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:2  In fact, “If Christ has not been raised…we are still in our sins” and will die in them (vs.17). 

1 Corinthians 15:1-11  Eye-witness Accounts

The Apostle lays out the facts for us in 1 Corinthians 15:3-11. Paul dealt with numerous controversial issues that were problems in the church at Corinth.  In his first epistle he dealt with the issue of the resurrection. At the time, some were teaching that there was no resurrection of the dead! Paul makes the point to write that – in that day, you could actually find and talk to people who were personal eyewitnesses of Christ after His resurrection – people who saw Him, heard Him, ate with Him, and spent time with Him. Paul goes through the order of such people in verses 5-8 and his list harmonizes perfectly with all the gospel accounts. Most likely the gospels of Mark and Matthew were already written before Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians although some disagree.

Dating the Gospels:  Dating the gospels is very important.  If it can be established that the gospels were written early, before the year 70 A.D. (when the destruction of Jerusalem occurred thus fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy: Luke 19:41-44), then we would have good reason for believing that they were written by the disciples of Jesus Himself (as accredited).  If they were written by the disciples, then their reliability, authenticity, and accuracy are better substantiated.  Also, if they were written early, this would mean that there would not have been enough time for myth to creep into the gospel accounts since it was the eyewitnesses to Christ’s life that wrote them.  Furthermore, those who were alive at the time of the events could have countered the gospel accounts and since we have no contradictory writings to the gospels, their early authorship as well as apostolic authorship becomes even more critical.

Though some say that the New Testament was written 100-300 years after Christ  died (which undermines its accuracy), the truth is, if we are to believe what is written in it, then it was written before the close of the first century by those who either knew Christ personally, had encountered him, or were under the direction of those who were His disciples.  Paul says “what I received I passed on to you” (vs 3). He was talking about the gospel that he had received from Jesus’ apostles.  This statement is followed with one that says that eyewitnesses were still living at the writing of his letter.  1 Corinthians was written in about 55 AD when Paul was around 50 years old. Jesus had been  crucified (AD 30-36) no more than twenty years before when Paul was in his thirties. Paul and Jesus were contemporaries.  The evidence for the resurrection then is backed up by first hand documentation from eyewitnesses and supported by those who were contemporaries of the historic event.  If written statements about the resurrection had been embellished they would have been dismissed and not passed down through history as they have been— especially since it was an event that Roman and Jewish leaders would want silenced. 

Historical Eye-witness Documentation Romans 8:31-39

The Bible has been well established as a historical document and the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection written in it cannot be denied.  Below is a list of these testimonies: 

  1. Mary Magdalene (tomb) Jerusalem: Early morning Sun.   Mk. 16:9-11; Jn. 20:11-18
  2. Other women (tomb) Jerusalem: Early morning Sun.                                  Mt. 28:8-10
  3. Cleopas & another near Emmaus: Sun. Afternoon            Mk. 16:12-13; Lk. 24:13-32
  4. Peter alone in Jerusalem: Late Sun. afternoon                      Lk. 24:33-35; 1 Cor. 15:5a
  5. Disciples & others (not Thomas) Jerusalem: Sun. eve.       Lk. 24:33-39; Jn. 20:19-25
  6. Disciples with Thomas Jerusalem: Mon. (8 days later)            Mk. 16:14; Jn. 20:26-29
  7. Seven disciples fishing in Galilee: A few weeks later                               Jn. 21:1-25       
  8. Disciples (GC) Galilee: Near end of 40 days Mt. 28:16-20; Mk. 16:15-18; 1 Cor. 15:5b
  9. 500 people in Galilee: Near end of 40 days                                                   1 Cor. 15:6
  10. To James (Jesus’ half brother) in Jerusalem: Near end of 40 days               1 Cor. 15:7a
  11. Apostles (Asc.) Bethany: 40th day Mk. 16:19; Lk.24:50-52; Acts 1:4-11; 1 Cor. 15:7b
  12. Paul Damascus Rd.: About 2 years later  Acts 9:3-5, 22:7-8, 26:14-16; 1 Cor. 15:8
  1. Note: The account in Lk. 24:33-39 and Jn. 20:19-25 (absent Thomas) are the same even though Luke writes “they found the Eleven”. The phrase “the Eleven” was a title for the disciples after Judas killed himself, formerly called “the twelve” and again called such after Matthias was added: Acts 1:12-26. This understanding reconciles both Thomas’ doubt, the “third appearance to disciples” written in John 21:14 and Paul’s use of the phrase “the twelve”  in 1 Cor. 15:5b. (inclusive of Matthias who must have been present when Thomas was not : see 5.)

James Believed:  During Jesus’ ministry, His brother James was a skeptic (see John 7:5).  He was likely among the family members in Mark 3:21-35 who thought that Jesus was insane!  We know that James later led the Jerusalem church (Gal. 1:18-2:1-10; Acts 15:13-21).  According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:7, Jesus appeared to James.  undoubtedly this appearance made James a    believer who would later even be martyred for his faith.

The Apostles: All twelve Apostles (Matthias included) and Paul preached Jesus as long as they lived.  Every Apostle was severely persecuted for their belief in the risen Christ.  All but John are verified to have died as martyrs for the gospel. They obviously all believed that Jesus had risen. Their knowledge of the resurrection, like Paul’s (Romans 8:31-39) must have compelled them.

The Growth of the Church: Historically the growth of the church through the ages—beginning with one man and a small band of disciples to become what is the largest religion in the world—is in and of itself a testament to the fact that Jesus did indeed raise from the dead.  If He did not then there is certainly a lot of people who are to be “most to be pitied”, as Paul said..  I do   believe in the testimony of these eyewitnesses, but there is still so much more evidence to show in the lessons ahead. He has risen. He has risen indeed!