Sermon Notes from History’s Mystery (Week 2)

To view the sermon that corresponds to these notes, go here

    • The importance of the Resurrection:
  • The resurrection is the test by which we know if Jesus was telling the truth.
  • It is not subjective, like Mormonism or Islam.
    • We will not appeal our beliefs to simple faith in this series, ie, like Islam and Jesus.
      • Islam- If you can produce a better book, then do it.  This is from God because it is awesome.
        • It is from God- therefore your history is wrong.
      • Mormon- If you had asked God, He would tell you this book is true.
    • The resurrection is an historical event.  It can be proved or disproved.
  • 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope[b] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:14-19

  1. The possibilities:20150410080308085200_1295
  2. The Minimal Facts approach (How to respond to questions of the Resurrection)

For more info: GARY HABERMAS- “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus”

  • SIDENOTE: HISTORICAL PROOF DOES NOT AIM FOR ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY.  Can you prove that Alexander the great existed beyond a shadow of doubt?  Can you prove that Homer existed?  There is more reliable evidence for Jesus than these two, yet they are never questioned.
  • What makes an event more reliable:  Multiples sources are good.  Enemy sources are good.  Embarrassing admissions support historical claims(when the author voluntarily weakens his position), Eyewitnesses are good, Early testimony is good.
  • The Minimal Facts approach considers only those data that are so strongly attested historically that they are granted by nearly every scholar who studies the subject, even the rather skeptical ones.
  • Only use sources from specialists that are accepted by most scholars, skeptics and non-skeptics.  (Non Christians skeptics will use portions of the New Testament.  If you don’t use it, they will)

Fact #1 – Jesus died by crucifixion

  • That Jesus was executed by crucifixion is recorded in all four gospels.
    • “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical ever can be”- John Dominic Crossan (non-believer)
    • Will Durant- “In the enthusiasm of it’s discoveries has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies, such as Hamurabi, David, Socrates would fade to legend.”
    • 1 Corinthians 15 is universally accepted by non Christians scholars as an authentic Pauline epistle.
    • He was in Corinth in 52-52AD.  An inscription dates this to the year he gave it to them.
    • Richard Bauckham says that their is a consensus that Paul received it around 35 AD.
      • His math:  Paul became a Christian.  (How soon is Acts 9 after Acts 1).  Most say 2-3 years after.  If we take 2 years, then Galatians 1 says he spent 3 years in Arabia, then went to Jerusalem.  In Galatians 1:18, Paul says he spent times with Peter and James.  The theme of Galatians is “get the Gospel right”.   They talked about the Gospels.  So, source materials within 5 years of Galatians 2:7-10, where Paul says that James, John, and Peter confirm that 1 Cor. 15 is the Gospel message.
    • 1 Corinthians 15 is in stanzas was put in this cadence around 6 months after Jesus.
      • 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:
      • that Christ died for our sins
      • in accordance with the Scriptures,
      • 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day
      • in accordance with the Scriptures,
  • A number of non-Christian sources of the period report the event as well
    • Josephus– “When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified”.
    • Tacitus– “Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.  Christus, from whom they name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate.
    • Lucian (the play entitled, “Death of Peregrine”)– “It was now that he came across the priests and scribes of the Christians, in Palestine, and picked up their queer creed. I can tell you, he pretty soon convinced them of his superiority; prophet, elder, ruler of the Synagogue–he was everything at once; expounded their books, commented on them, wrote books himself. They took him for a God, accepted his laws, and declared him their president. The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day,–the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. “
    • Mara Bar-Serapion-What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that their Kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; He lived on in the teaching which He had given.
    • Jewish Talmud- Jesus was the bastard of Mary the hairdresser and a Roman soldier, Panthera, he was a magician from Egypt that instigated the Jews and was Crucified on the eve of passover.
  1. Alternative theories:
  1. Swoon Theory:

Davinci Code: – Jesus wasn’t really dead, then ran off with Mary Magdalene.

  • Crucifixion was brutal, let alone Jesus flogging.  Yet we are to believe in this condition, Jesus
  • rolled a massive stone away,
  • hid from or beat up a Roman guard,
  •     convinced his closest friends he had defeated death
  •     convinced them he was God.
    • Cicero quote: “Even the mere word, cross, must remain far not only from the lips of the citizens of Rome, but also from their thoughts, their eyes, their ears'”
  • “Roman law even laid the death penalty on any soldier who let a capital prisoner escape in any way, including bungling a crucifixion.  It was never done” (Peter Kreeft)
  1. Muslim theory:Muslims say it didn’t happen in the Quran.  Some say he went to India. Where is there historical evidence.  It is not needed because the Quran is true.
  2. Jewish Theory: The Talmud says Jesus was stoned and then
  1. Jesus never existed theory-  Ehrman quote:” With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) — sources that originated in Jesus’ native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are is pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind. Moreover, we have relatively extensive writings from one first-century author, Paul, who acquired his information within a couple of years of Jesus’ life and who actually knew, first hand, Jesus’ closest disciple Peter and his own brother James. If Jesus did not exist, you would think his brother would know it.”
  2. Jesus was a myth:  Erhman Quote: “Moreover, the claim that Jesus was simply made up falters on every ground. The alleged parallels between Jesus and the “pagan” savior-gods in most instances reside in the modern imagination: We do not have accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead (despite what the sensationalists claim ad nauseum in their propagandized versions).”

If Jesus did die on a cross, let’s remind ourselves why.   He did it for you and me. – You and I have broken God’s laws and we deserve his punishment. – His punishment is death and eternal separation or Hell. – Jesus said he would fulfill our sentence.   He died, making it possible for us to be free!

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