Is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God? (V)
Grant B. Caldwell
We finally come to seemingly the most substantial proof of the Sonship of Jesus, the resurrection. On this hangs the entire system of Christ. Everything we do has in large measure to do with his resurrection. To emphasize the importance of the subject, read I Corinthians 15:1-30. We will not take the space just here to record the entire passage, but the logic of Pauls argument cannot be ignored. In verses 1-11, the apostle makes proof of the resurrection from the standpoint of the witnesses that saw the Lord alive after they knew that he was dead. In verses 12-19, Paul shows the consequences of refusing to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. And finally, in verses 20-30, this inspired man demonstrates the position held by Christ as a result of his resurrection.
Many passages could be offered from the New Testament to show the necessity of believing in the resurrection. Our purpose in this portion of our study shall be to offer the proofs of the resurrection which in turn prove Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God. Our entire faith as Christians rests upon this one fact. If Christ was raised from the dead, we can believe him to be the Son of God. We will know that he was born of a virgin, that he performed the miracles we read, and that he has the authority to direct our lives.
How anyone can claim to be a Christian and yet deny the resurrection of Jesus, I will never understand. However, there are many in the world today who claim to follow Christ (Christians, so called) who do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus.
In Romans 1:4, Paul said that Christ was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Thus, our belief in him as the Son of God depends on this event.
Carefully consider the proofs regarding his resurrection, a matter clearly foretold of him in prophecies such as Psalm 16: 10 and Isaiah 28:14-18.
The Empty Tomb
One of the strongest of the proofs offered in behalf of the resurrection is that of the empty tomb. It is admitted by nearly all that Jesus died and was buried (some will deny this), and that on the third day, his body was missing. The attempts to explain this event are many and varied. Some say that the soldiers took the body to prevent the disciples from taking it. Others believe that while the soldiers were asleep, the disciples came and took the body of Jesus away. These explanations will not do, however, because of the magnitude of the penalty for allowing the body to disappear. The soldiers would not have allowed that body to be taken from its place. Yet, this story began soon after the resurrection of Christ and continues until today. (Matthew 28:12-15)
Some will affirm that Jesus never actually died but that he only passed out. Often called the "swoon theory," this idea will not agree with any of the facts. The reader will kindly remember the soldier at his death pierced his side and blood and water came forth. It would be impossible for a man to live to tell about an event like that.
The men who tell the story of the resurrection of Jesus are often accused of prefabricating the story. The testimony is nullified supposedly upon the basis of dishonesty. It should be noted that these were honest men. They related the facts calmly, often to their own discredit. Surely, one cannot believe that they would be so interested in promoting a lie that caused them so much suffering. The facts related and the local customs reported give credibility to their testimony.
Some would have us believe that these disciples only thought they saw Jesus. It must be noticed, though, that Christ presented himself to these people for forty days. These had given up. Peter said, "I go fishing." They were not afraid and they sought no earthly gain.
In I Corinthians 15, Paul tells of the great numbers who saw the Lord. It seems somewhat foolish for someone today who was not in the land or the time to deny what was seen, or how they saw it.
We need desperately to believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Paul said that if we do not believe in this even, "we are of all men most miserable." (I Corinthians 15:19)
About This Series
With this lesson, we bring to a close the series of studies on the subject of evidences. We feel that the study has been beneficial for many. Studies such as this are needful, especially in the society in which we live. Modernism is a definite threat even in the churches. It is our firm belief that more preaching and teaching should be done on these topics. But for whatever good we have been able to accomplish, we, are very humbly grateful.
You might recall a comment I made in beginning this series that the material used was not original, and you might wonder concerning my source of material. Because the arguments used are mostly standard arguments and found in many books, we did not footnote the material. However, if you are interested in further study, the following list of books is the ones I used in this study:
1. Blackmon, Luther. God or Evolution? (Tract)
2. DeHoff, George W. Why We Believe The Bible.
3. Gerstner, John H. Reasons for Faith.
4. Hardeman, N.B. "Is the Bible Credible?" (Sermon) Hardemans Tabernacle Sermons (III).
5. Hailey, Homer. Internal Evidences of Christianity.
6. McGarvey, J. W. Evidences of Christianity.
7. Ozment, Harry E. Evolution Examined. (Tract)
8. Robertson, Earl E. Foundations of Faith.
9. Sewell, F. E. "The Resurrection: Facts and Fiction (1, 2, and 3)" (Articles) Facts for Faith, Vol. 11, 1, 2, and 3.
10. Tuten, Jimmy. "External Evidences of the Bible." (Articles) The Defender, Vol. 12, 11 and 12.
11. Vos, H. F. (Editor). Can I Trust The Bible?
12. Wallace, Foy E. Gods Prophetic Word.
13. Wilson, Gordon. Evidences in Brief.
14. Wilson, Gordon. Is The Bible Fully Inspired? (Debate)
15. Wilson, Gordon. Set For The Defense.
16. Wilson, Gordon. The Posture of Faith.
17. Wilson, Peter J. Indestructible Foundations.
We appreciate the opportunity to discuss these matters and we trust that the discussion has helped in making the faith of each of us more profitable. If at any time good can be gained by such discussions, then the time has been well spent. Our sole aim is to assist in the proclamation of the gospel and we trust that all will understand that we are "set for the defense of the gospel." (Philippians 1: 17)
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 38, pp. 8-10