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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus

Don Stewart :: Can We Really Know What Happened to Jesus and Does It Actually Matter What Occurred?

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Can We Really Know What Happened to Jesus and Does It Actually Matter What Occurred?

Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus – Question 20

There is the argument that we will never know what happened to the body of Jesus. It is a mystery that does not have an explanation. History cannot give us any certainties. Therefore, we have to confess our ignorance as to what really occurred during the last days of Jesus’ life. If there is not enough information to come up with a plausible alternative then we must admit that we do not know what happened except that we do know it was not a resurrection.

It Does Not Matter

Furthermore, it does not really matter what happened. The events took place so long ago in a different culture, with a pre-scientific view of the world that believed in miracles, the devil, and demons. We now know better. We have to leave it as a mystery that will never be solved and that does not really matter to us anyway in our modern, scientific world. Therefore, Jesus’ so-called resurrection is in reality a non-issue.

Response

There are a number of responses necessary to this idea that the real story of Jesus’ resurrection cannot be known as well as assuming it is a non-issue.

1. We Can Know What Happened

We certainly can know what happened in the case of Jesus’ resurrection. The eyewitnesses, with no reason whatsoever to lie about it, inform us that they saw Him alive three days after His death. They report a number of appearances to different groups, different individuals, and at different times and different places. If we can know for certain about any event that happened in history, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!

2. Yes, It Does Matter What Happened

This argument ignores the importance of the issue. It does matter what happened and we can know, if we are willing to look at the evidence. Jesus said,

“In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too.” (John 14:19 HCSB)

As long as human beings have a death problem, then the question as to whether or Jesus rose from the dead will matter. Because He lives, believers will also live. This is the glorious promise of the New Testament. Indeed, this life is not all that there is. Eternal life after our death is possible through belief in Jesus Christ.

3. Judgment Is Coming for Those Who Do Not Believe

There is something else. The resurrection of Jesus also matters because the Bible says that God will judge those who reject Him and His message of forgiveness of sins.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Thessalonica, wrote about this coming judgment. He put it this way:

And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power when he comes to receive glory and praise from his holy people. And you will be among those praising him on that day, for you believed what we testified about him. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 NLT)

The Bible puts the human race into two categories: those who believe in Jesus and those who do not. The believers will spend eternity with Him while the unbelievers will be forever banished from His wonderful presence.

In sum, we can know what happened to Jesus Christ and it certainly does matter.

Summary – Question 20
Can We Really Know What Happened to Jesus and Does It Actually Matter What Occurred?

There are some people who argue that we cannot ever know what really happened to Jesus and it does not really matter anyway. What happened it a mystery that can never be solved. Therefore, it is a non-issue.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. We can know what occurred in the past; particularly with reference to Jesus’ resurrection. The New Testament provides eyewitness detail as to what happened. Jesus was dead at a certain point in time and later He was seen alive by some of the same people who had seen Him die. They provide firsthand testimony as to what happened. Their testimony can be believed.

This brings us to the next point. If Jesus came back from the dead, as the Bible says He did, then the death problem has been solved. There is hope after this life! Eternal life can be ours if we accept what Jesus Christ has done on our behalf. If we do not believe in Him, then eternal judgment awaits us.

Consequently, there is no issue more important.

Can a Reasonable Scenario of the Events Surrounding Jesus' Resurrection Be Proposed? ← Prior Section
Has the Tomb of Jesus and the Burial Box That Contains His Bones Been Found in Jerusalem? Next Section →
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