R.A.I.S.E.D. Part 5
This is the fifth in our series of posts about the truth of Easter from Acts 2. Peter speaks clearly about the resurrection and why it is essential to Christianity. What we learn about the resurrection from Acts 2. To do so, each point will fill out the acronym “R.A.I.S.E.D.”
"R" Really Dead
"A" Always the Plan
"I" Impossible for death to hold him
"S" SCRIPTURE affirms the resurrection v.25
"E" EVERYBODY saw him 13:30
Verse 32 says, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses.” The disciples all saw the risen Jesus as did more than 500 other people.
Tim Keller wrote, “Even if you propose the highly unlikely idea that one or two of Jesus’s disciples did get the idea that he was raised from the dead on their own, they would never have gotten a movement of other Jews to believe it unless there were multiple, inexplicable, plausible, repeated encounters with Jesus.” (Reason for God, Tim Keller p.209)
The empty tomb without the appearance of Jesus to disciples can be easily explained as can appearances while the tomb still contains the body. But an empty tomb and Jesus repeatedly appearing to over 500 eyewitnesses after his resurrection that is historically attested by various sources makes it problematic to blame it on a few over imaginative people or a conspiracy theory or a stolen body--it simply doesn’t work on examination.
And just so we don’t think that the resurrection would be believed by primitive people but we know better now--To the greek they believed that death was liberation from the body who was racked with weakness. To the Jew, some believed in the eventual resurrection of the body, but it was controversial. To both Jews and Greeks, there would have not been a natural inclination to think that “of course” the resurrection happened.
Also, for those who don’t believe that the resurrection is possible or that it happened, there must be an explanation for all of the witnesses of Christ who were willing to testify to others at the cost of their lives about Christ being alive. They were claiming something to be true that would eventually lead many to their death. Pascal said, “I believe those witnesses that get their throats cut.” (Quoted in Keller, p.210)
The explanation, however improbable to ancient or modern ears is that the disciples and hundreds of others claimed to see the risen Jesus, and this claim gave birth to the spread of Christianity all around the Roman Empire and eventually the world.
Tim Keller asks a few good questions for the skeptic to consider who wants to know if the resurrection happened.
“Why did Christianity emerge so rapidly, with such power? No other band of messianic followers in that era concluded their leader was raised from the dead-- why did this group do so? No group of Jews ever worshipped a human being as God. What led them to do it? Jews did not believe in divine men or individual resurrections. What changed their worldview virtually overnight? How do you account for the hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrection who lived on for decades and publicly maintained their testimony, eventually giving their lives for their belief?” (Keller, Reason for God, p.210)