JESUS CHRIST REALLY RESURRECTED?
Objective Analysis of the Compelling Evidence
© Michael Caputo, 2013 (All rights reserved)
To all Christians Around the World.
otherwise indicated, Bible quotations are taken from the New King
James Version. Copyright
© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to Christian belief and
to the Christian hope. Christians believe in the resurrection of
Jesus Christ from the dead, because the Old and the New Testament
teach it, because Christ promised it and because His apostles
confirm it in the New Testament writings. Contrariwise, Atheists,
Agnostics and others assert that the resurrection is a fable
concocted by Jesus’ followers, because their attachment to Jesus’
memory was so strong that they all “agreed” to create a new religion
in His name based on lies and deceit. The evidence for Jesus'
resurrection is not based on flimsy fables but on the unassailable
evidence of solid logic, many totally reliable and truthful
witnesses and plain common sense.
Was Jesus Christ a self-deluded charlatan? Did Jesus Christ
cunningly deceive His many followers with promises that were
impossible to fulfill? Most importantly, did His followers react to
His “unfulfilled” promise of a personal resurrection by
“reciprocating” with an vigorous attempt to elevate Him to the
Any sensible and objective mind would have no problem replying,
“Certainly not!” to the above questions. Yet the rigid mental set of
the enemies of Christianity would reply affirmatively. The reason
for their baffling unwillingness to accept the obvious is primarily
because accepting Christ’s resurrection would devastate a belief
system that they have been defending for centuries and that would
transform their thinking and their lives beyond what they are
willing to allow.
This article is not an exhaustive attempt at listing all the reasons
that have been offered through the centuries on behalf of the truth
of Christ’s resurrection. The focus of this work will be to present
simple, sensible and obvious arguments which point forcefully
to the undeniable reality that Jesus Christ died and rose again,
and that His disciples witnessed the event and testified
truthfully to it, in spite of the dangers inherent in their
Those who have read the Gospel accounts know that Jesus Christ
called out his disciples from their occupations, their communities
and their future. Because they abandoned their secure jobs, they
most probably caused their families concern for following a young
man who promised them positions of power and rulership in a
future Kingdom. Those great promises, though, were contingent
upon an astonishing event: Jesus’ future death and resurrection.
This, of course, may have been hard to believe at first but, in
time, it became obvious to the disciples of Jesus that anything was
possible for someone who had resurrected the dead before their very
If Jesus had died and had stayed in the tomb, as unbelievers insist
happened, the psychological consequences on the disciples would have
been undeniably devastating. They would have felt let down, lied to,
deceived and manipulated. Their egos would have been dramatically
deflated; they would have become the focus of ridicule by family,
friends and others. All of the above would have led to
understandable anger at the one who had played games with their
minds, had lied to them callously for three and one half years, and
who was the cause of all the derision they had to bear.
Believing that such a disillusioned, betrayed and angry bunch would
intentionally pass around false information meant to elevate the
deceiver and the charlatan to the divine plane is the ultimate
folly. Angry and bitter people do not elevate a despised enemy--they
tear him down. In fact, some might have vented their anger at
anything remotely connected to him and to his memory. Furthermore,
some would besmirch the man’s name for years to come and would do
anything and everything possible to get back at the person, even if
the only thing they could do is attack his memory. Believing that
all of them would react otherwise and that they would
harmoniously persist in dedicating their lives to celebrating a
liar is nothing short of incongruous and bizarre.
But the disciples were neither disillusioned nor angry. In fact they
acted and talked like people who had received a powerful
confirmation that their hopes and dreams were based on a totally
firm foundation. They were filled with zeal and excitement, like
they had never exhibited before, and the reason was what that they
had witnessed the seemingly impossible. After three days and three
nights, the dead corpse of their beloved leader had come out of a
sealed and guarded tomb, alive and brimming with vitality
-- just as he had promised, on more than one occasion.
Furthermore, Jesus exhibited supernatural powers, such as walking
through walls, that only a supernatural being could exhibit.
In view of the above, unbelievers’ treasured rationalization that
Jesus’ disciples concocted the story of Jesus’ resurrection, even
though he had lied to them, had used them, had
manipulated them, and had betrayed them, is nothing short
From its inception, Christianity was sown in truth, was framed in
truth and was based on absolute truth. Most opponents of Christ seem
to have little awareness of how strong and how foundational
truth was to the Christian message, from the very inception.
Jesus Christ firmly emphasized its critical importance, and His
disciples continued to do the same for decades to come.
The critical importance of truth received
strong emphasis with Jesus Christ. Jesus taught his disciples the
necessity of being “truthful,” if they were to enter the Kingdom of
God. "But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments”
19:17). Jesus Christ taught, protected and
defended the value and sacredness of the Ten Commandments. The ninth
commandments was, “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness against thy
neighbour” (Exodus 20:16 KJV).
Jesus also insisted that lying was evidence of the presence of an
evil spirit who opposed truth. He told his persecutors that this
being was working in them, and that they served his purposes. ”
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your
father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and
does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When
he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is
a liar and the father of it"
Thus, Jesus Christ was the incarnation of truth; He preached its
necessity and value and labelled lies as issuing from the father of
lies: Satan. To validate this reality He not only preached it –
He died and did not compromise with it.
Jesus was captured and was brought to the religious leaders in
Jerusalem to be interrogated. The accusations, if true, were serious
enough to merit death.
who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where
the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.
58 But Peter followed him at a
distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered
and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.
chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false
evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.
60 But they did not find any, though
many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward
61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I
am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to
answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against
63 But Jesus remained silent
(Matthew 26: 57-63 NIV).
“Jesus remained silent.” This was a perfect opportunity for a
charlatan to hastily lie his way out of a very dangerous situation,
but he stayed silent and said nothing. He was going to
fulfill His destiny and did not lie. Amazingly, He then
went on to make things worse for himself by confirming some of the
the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false
testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found
none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found
none. But at last two false witnesses came forward
61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy
the temple of God and to build it in three days.’”
the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What
is it these men testify against You?” 63 But
Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him,
“I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the
Christ, the Son of God!”
said to him,
“It is as you
said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of
Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds
the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy!
What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard
His blasphemy! 66 What do you think?”
They answered and said,
“He is deserving of death.”
(Matthew 26: 59-67 NKJV).
Jesus Christ had a mission to accomplish and, in spite of the verbal
and physical abuse, He remained undaunted, firm and truthful.
This is the same man who had promised to His disciples that death
would not have defeated Him; He would have been resurrected, after
being dead in a tomb three days and three nights.
Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be
crucified, and the third day rise again"
As He had promised, Jesus Christ was resurrected the third day, and
death had no power over Him. He did fulfill His promise and He
fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament as well. Furthermore,
he set the example for his disciples to follow: Truth must be
upheld, even if it will lead to death – and the transformed
disciples faithfully followed His example.
The disciples saw Jesus Christ taken down from the cross as an
inanimate corpse. The dead body was taken to a nearby tomb and was
placed into it. A huge round stone was rolled over it and the
entrance was sealed. Several soldiers guarded the tomb for three
days and three nights.
The disciples waited patiently until the guards would have finally
left, and then they went to help embalm Jesus’ dead body. What they
found was an empty tomb and angels who confirmed Christ’s
resurrection. Later, they saw the resurrected Christ Himself.
This is one of the most momentous event ever witnessed by any human
being as its occurrence confirms with absolute certainty that
Jesus indeed died for the sins of humanity, and that the
resurrection of the dead is possible -- and is certain, because
Christ led the way. The reader is encouraged to read the whole
account as it appears in the Gospel of Luke chapter 24.
Now upon the first
day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the
sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain
others with them. 2 And they found the stone
rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in,
and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came
to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men
stood by them in shining garments: 5 and as they were
afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said
unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is
not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was
yet in Galilee, 7 saying, The Son of man must be
delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the
third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words,
9 and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these
things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was
Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and
other women that were with them, which told these things unto
the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them as idle
tales, and they believed them not. 12 Then arose Peter,
and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen
clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at
that which was come to pass.
behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus,
which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14 And
they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together
and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But
their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17 And
he said unto them, What manner of communications are these
that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18 And
the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him,
Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things
which are come to pass there in these days? 19 And he
said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning
Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people: 20 and how the chief
priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and
have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he
which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is
the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea, and
certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were
early at the sepulchre; 23 and when they found not his
body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels,
which said that he was alive. 24 And certain of them
which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even
so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25 Then
he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that
the prophets have spoken: 26 ought not Christ to have
suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And
beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in
all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as
though he would have gone further. 29 But they
constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening,
and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took
bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And
their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of
their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our
heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while
he opened to us the scriptures? 33 And they rose up the
same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered
together, and them that were with them, 34 saying, The
Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And
they told what things were done in the way, and how he was
known of them in breaking of bread.
as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and
saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they
were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a
spirit. 38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled?
and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my
hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a
spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And
when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his
feet. 41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and
wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42 And
they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43 And he took it, and did eat before them. 44 And
he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto
you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled,
which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets,
and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened
he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46 and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it
behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be
preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And,
behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in
the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands,
and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he
blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem
with great joy: 53 and were continually in the temple,
praising and blessing God. Amen (Luke 24:1-53)
After the joyful pause and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, the
time came to spread the Good News. Death had been defeated by Jesus
Christ, thanks to His death and resurrection. Humans could now hope
in being resurrected themselves. The first location where the
message would be preached was the same den of lions where Jesus had
been killed: Jerusalem. The High Priest and the religious leaders
that had demanded Jesus’ death were still there ready to squash
anything that pertained to their hated enemy: Christ.
But that did not discourage the disciples. They had seen Jesus
Christ alive, and they understood the magnificent significance for
all of humanity, and no human being was going to deter them, even
if it would have meant potential beatings, scourging and even
The Book of Acts tells us that the leading force behind the spread
of the Good News was Peter, the one who had rejected Jesus Christ
just days before. But he would reject Christ no more and, in spite
of the dangers that might have faced him, he stood before the
multitude of foreigners, locals and local leaders and asserted the
truth of Christ’s resurrection.
Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to
them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be
known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not
drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the
day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on
My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will
show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day
of the Lord.
21 And it
shall come to pass
calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’
of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by
God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him
in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being
delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you
have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to
death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of
death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
25 For David says concerning Him:
‘I foresaw the Lord
always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be
my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see
have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your
and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the
patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is
with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and
knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of
his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to
sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke
concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not
left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This
Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore
being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the
Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you
now see and hear
The transformed Peter continued spreading the message and healing
people, giving evidence that the power that had worked in Jesus
Christ was now at work in him as well.
While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded,
ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's. 12 And
when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do
you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own
power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our
fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered
over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to
release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous
One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and
you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To
this we are witnesses (Acts 3:11-15 ESV).
The bewildered religious leaders did not hesitate to react and
quickly had them arrested. They threatened Peter and John with
severe consequences, if they persisted in preaching about Christ’s
resurrection. Both could have changed their minds and could have
gone home in peace, but they did not. What they had witnessed
demanded that all know about the momentous event.
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain
of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them,
2 greatly annoyed because they were
teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from
the dead. 3 And they
arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was
already evening. 4 But many of
those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men
came to about five thousand.
when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that
they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they
recognized that they had been with Jesus.
14 But seeing the man who was healed
standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.
15 But when they had commanded them to
leave the council, they conferred with one another,
16 saying, “What shall we do with
these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them
is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny
it. 17 But in order that it may
spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no
more to anyone in this name.” 18 So
they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in
the name of Jesus. 19 But
Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of
God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,
20 for we cannot but speak of what we
have seen and heard.”
21 And when they had further
threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them,
because of the people, for all were praising God for what had
happened. 22 For the man on
whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years
old (Acts 4:1,3; 13-22 ESV).
The Apostles’ confident attitude and courage made the High Priest
and the leaders very angry. How dare ignorant men speak like that to
such lofty personages. Thus the result was prison once again. But
they remained unafraid and did not turn to lies to escape
Then the high priest
rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect
of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and
laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison
doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in
the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the
morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and
called the council together, with all the elders of the children of
Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they
returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the
prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside[a]
before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!”
24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple,
and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the
outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying,
“Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and
teaching the people!”
the captain went with the officers and brought them without
violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them
before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying,
“Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And
look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to
bring this Man’s blood on us!”
Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to
obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers
raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him
God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to
give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And
we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is
the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them.
34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named
Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people,
and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.
35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to
yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For
some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of
men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who
obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After
this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and
drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who
obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep
away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this
work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is
of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight
they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and
beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in
the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed
from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted
worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And
daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching
and preaching Jesus as the Christ
(Acts 5: 17-42).
Not even beatings could now stop them. In fact, to the disciples,
suffering for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had become an
Stephen, too, had the same unstoppable attitude. He too was bent on
bringing the Gospel to all, and he too was taken and imprisoned. But
he had a different final punishment: death by stoning.
And Stephen, full of
faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the
people. 9 Then there arose some from what is called the
Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from
Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they
were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.
11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard
him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And
they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they
came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the
council. 13 They also set up false witnesses who said,
“This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words
against this holy place and the law; 14 for we have heard
him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and
change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” 15 And
all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face
as the face of an angel.
(Acts 6: 8-15).
At this point the High Priest asked Stephen to confirm or deny the
accusations. He could have lied and by so doing he could have
escaped certain punishment. But his response was shockingly
direct -- and honest.
stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist
the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have
slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of
whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not
they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they
gnashed on him with their teeth.
he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven,
and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of
said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing
on the right hand of God.
they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran
upon him with one accord,
cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid
down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit.
he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin
to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep
(Acts 7:51-60 KJV).
Stephen, therefore, could have lied and could have denied having had
any involvement with Jesus--and he certainly could have denied
having seen the resurrected Christ. But he did not, because the
glorious truth had to be defended to the death.
The Apostle Paul today would be the equivalent of a militant
atheist, such as Richard Dawkins, turned Christian evangelist.
He, like today’s unbelievers, did not and would not accept
the resurrection of Christ. To him Christians were liars,
charlatans and deceivers who deserved to be killed. In his
anti-Christian zeal, he made sure that as many Christians as he
could find would be imprisoned and then killed. In fact he had been
one of Stephen’s accusers, and he, too, wanted him dead (Acts
Paul had been a blind follower of the religious leaders. He was, you
might say, their blindly dedicated and committed secret agent, who
zealously sought to eradicate this new, dangerous and fanatical new
group that was spreading lies and heresy.
And Saul was consenting
unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution
against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all
scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria,
except the apostles.
devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation
for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house,
and haling men and women committed them to prison
Later on, Paul confessed to his blind zeal and to his horrible
crimes, before the very group of leaders he had previously
supported, who stood before him in disbelief.
and fathers, hear ye the defence which I now make unto you.
when they heard that he spake unto them in the Hebrew language, they
were the more quiet: and he saith,
am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, at
the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict manner of
the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as ye all are
I persecuted this Way unto the death, binding and delivering into
prisons both men and women.
also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the
elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and
journeyed to Damascus to bring them also that were there unto
Jerusalem in bonds to be punished.
He then explains the transforming experience he had experienced, due
to his encounter with Jesus Christ, and goes on to explain what
I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell
into a trance 18 and saw him
saying to me, ‘Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem, because
they will not accept your testimony about me.’
19 And I said, ‘Lord, they
themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those
who believed in thee. 20 And
when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing
by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who killed him.’
21 And he said to me,
‘Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles
(Acts 22: 17-21).
Paul became so convinced of all that pertained to Christ and His
resurrection from the dead that he was willing to endure the most
gruesome consequences so as to announce Jesus’ death and
resurrection. In his Epistles to the Corinthians, he shares some
details as to what awaited his choice.
times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less
one. 25 Three times I have
been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been
shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea;
26 on frequent journeys, in
danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people,
danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness,
danger at sea, danger from false brethren;
Here is the same man who had previously opposed Christ, his
followers and everything they preached and stood for who now was
joining the opposition and was preaching the same message he had
opposed and was even willing to bear great sufferings and risk
death, so as to announce the death and resurrection of Christ, and
all that it entailed for humanity.
Yet unbelievers would love to rationalize away the zeal of this
brilliant and fervent man as the consequence of another
hallucination. But if so, they have to explain how his companions
also saw the hallucination, and how the same hallucination gave Paul
great miraculous powers, which lasted throughout his life.
Of course, in their blind zeal against Paul and Christ, they can
rationalize them away as well as being skilfully crafted “lies;” but
this attempt can be quickly rendered void by the fact that Paul
consistently taught against lies, and by the fact that he had been a
zealous follower of the Torah who obeyed God’s commandment against
lying fanatically. It is not a coincidence that later on
in his Epistle to the Colossian Church he firmly confirmed the need
to be truthful. “Do not lie to one another,
since you have put off the old man with his deeds…”
Such a man would not lie.
Some might wish that someone had done an objective investigation of
the events surrounding Christ so as to provide an account of what
transpired during the early days of Christianity. Well, we have
such an account. Luke, “ the beloved physician,” as he
is called in the Bible, went to Jerusalem and the surrounding area;
he interviewed many witnesses of the events that surrounded Christ’s
life, as he reasonably could, and then wrote a thorough historical
account of the events surrounding Christ’s life, His death and
resurrection. This account we know as the Gospel of Luke.
We must also mention that Luke went a step further and later
accompanied and watched first hand the works of one of
Christ’s foremost Apostles, Paul of Tarsus, and then wrote a
thorough, detailed account of his observations. Thanks to Doctor
Luke, we have an unparalleled and totally reliable, first-hand
account of the first foundational decades of Christianity.
Luke is objective, methodical-- and truthful, and, as such, he is
not well liked by some objective intellectual unbelievers who
probably wish that Luke’s two works would simply disappear. But
disappear they will not. Luke and Acts are outstanding and totally
reliable historical works which testify to the existence of Christ,
His mighty works, His death, and His resurrection and the power His
Spirit had manifested in transforming lowly people into bold and
powerful preachers of the Gospel.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a momentous event for all of
humanity. Because of it, we have a hope that Satan would love to
destroy, and this he attempts to do through the works of atheists,
agnostics, and others that are openly anti-Christian.
Common sense dictates that an all-wise God would not allow such a
critical event to rest of flimsy evidence. The resurrection of Jesus
Christ rests of the witness of many truthful men and women
that had no reason whatsoever to lie on behalf of a callous and
cunning deceiver and manipulator. Their witness sufficed for the
first Christians; it sufficed for the great multitudes through the
ages and who have accepted the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, and
it suffices for those who today are willing to objectively look and
accept the unassailable facts.
The reader is encouraged to ponder this most amazing and
transforming fact and to recognize that although accepting Jesus as
a living Saviour means changing one's way of life, the result of
this transformation will mean tremendous joy and a longing for the
day when, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, multitudes
will come to life for evermore.
of the award-winning, God Seen Through the Eyes of the Greatest