Don’t get offended.
People have all sorts of crazy theories as to what really happened at the first Easter. All of which are designed the avoid the truth that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead and that they have (thus far) chosen to reject Him. Like with atheism in general, certain people mock and ridicule the Easter story. I noticed the hashtag #betternamesforeaster on Twitter and when I looked it up I found the following quotes:
— Ross For President (@RPS4President) 24 March 2016
Happy Zombie Jesus Day #BetterNamesForEaster
— Kathleen E Cavanagh (@gahruev) 23 March 2016
— J.K.Callaway (@realJKCallaway) 23 March 2016
official kill your son in the name of yourself day!
— Peachy Fiend (@PeachyFiend) 23 March 2016
I am sure that these quotes are designed to be offensive to Christians and also to be clever and funny. But people like this will not feel very clever or funny when they stand before Jesus and He sends them to an eternity in hell. Not because of their mockery, but because they chose to reject His free offer of salvation. So don’t get offended by this sort of idiotic nonsense, have compassion on the people who insist on mocking their way into hell.
A Roman scourging was far more than a simple whipping.
Let’s ignore people’s pathetic attempts at humour and instead focus on some of theories that people have about Easter. We’ll begin with what is perhaps the most common theory that people have – namely that Jesus wasn’t actually dead, and simply revived on the third day. Now obviously as Christians we absolutely reject this theory – our entire faith is based on the truth that Jesus rose from the dead. But is it theoretically possible? The short answer is no, but obviously I need to give a bit more information! Before Jesus was crucified He was subjected to a Roman scourging, which was far more than a simple whipping. The Bible does not go into great detail, for example John’s account merely says, “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him“. The movie The Passion of The Christ, paints a far more detailed, gruesome, picture of what happened, but the reality would have been even worse. If you have seen the film, you may find it hard to believe that it could get any worse, but it could! The video below is an account by Rick Renner of what a Roman scourging was really like.
Many people did not even survive scourging.
Scourging was absolutely horrific. Many people did not even survive scourging. That alone is enough to dismiss the idea that Jesus wasn’t really dead. Even if He hadn’t been crucified, but simply laid in the tomb after the scourging, He would have bled to death. But in the unlikely event that He somehow managed to cling to life, He would hardly be in a position to be walking around, completely fine three days later. It would have taken a long time to recover from a Roman scourging.
The Jewish leaders requested that the three men that had been crucified be finished off.
But that’s not what happened, after He had been scourged, Jesus was led away to be crucified. As with the account of what a scourging involved, I have included another video by Rick Renner below, detailing just what the crucifixion process actually involved – it is entitled ‘Crucified!’. As the Sabbath approached (which was a high, or a special Sabbath, due to it being the Feast of Unleavened Bread – see ‘How Is Good Friday To Easter Sunday Three Days?‘) the Jewish leaders requested that the three men that had been crucified be finished off, so that they did not remain on the crosses for the Sabbath. Let’s read what happened from John’s gospel chapter 19, verses 31-34, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water“. The Romans were experts in the art of death and extreme punishment, they knew that blood and water flowing out was a sure sign of death. When Jesus was removed from the cross and laid in the tomb, there was no doubt that He was dead – the Romans had made completely sure.
Anyone who suggests that Jesus wasn’t really dead is extremely naive.
Just for the sake of answering the ridiculous claim that maybe He wasn’t really dead, let me say again what I said before – after enduring a terrible scourging, followed by being crucified and then having a spear thrust into His side, if there had been any blood left in His body, it would have bled out in the tomb. Even if you do not take this into account, there would have been no way that someone who had been through what Jesus went through (for us) was going to be walking around, completely recovered only three days later. Frankly it takes more faith to believe that Jesus recovered from everything in three days, than it does to believe in the Resurrection. Anyone who suggests that Jesus wasn’t really dead is extremely naive and completely ignorant of the facts concerning scourging and execution. It is a claim that needs to be quickly and forcefully dismissed.
How many witnesses does it take to prove that something is true?
We now come to the other main ‘not so intelligent’ suggestion: maybe the people who said that they saw Jesus alive were lying or hallucinating. Really? All 500 plus of them? 1 Corinthians 15:6 says, “Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died“. How many witnesses does it take to prove that something is true? These claims concerning Jesus’ resurrection are as laughable as claiming the moon is made out of cheese, or that dinosaurs turned into birds (oh wait, some people do actually believe that one!). Just in case 500 witnesses is not enough evidence, how about the evidence that it is an historical fact that eleven of the twelve apostles were killed for claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead? Why would the apostles stick doggedly to a lie, in the face of death?
He was the Messiah.
The Bible is not the only source of information regarding Jesus’ resurrection. In 93 AD the Jewish historian Josephus wrote the following, “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared“. Skeptics have said that this sounds too Christian to have been written by a Jew, but that view ignores the fact that the original Christians – the twelve apostles, Paul, etc. – were all Jews. Plus it’s such an easy option to say, “Josephus didn’t really write that“.
This claim is so foolish that it does not deserve a long rebuttal.
There is one more argument that the skeptics use, that we will deal with very briefly. Namely, that Jesus didn’t really exist at all. This claim is so foolish that it does not deserve a long rebuttal. To suggest that Jesus didn’t exist, should be treated with the same contempt that it would be treated if someone suggested that Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, or George Washington didn’t really exist. The evidence that Jesus really died and was really raised from the dead is compelling, but persuasive words will not draw someone into God’s Kingdom – that is the job of the Holy Spirit, speaking to their heart.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.