by Nate Sala
As Easter is once again upon us I’m reminded of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made to stand in place of our sins so that we may have fellowship with Him and the Father. The accountings of His torture, crucifixion, and resurrection (Matthew 27-28; Mark 15-16; Luke 23-24; John 19-20) evoke a juxtaposition of emotions: sorrow, guilt, and fear on the one hand; gratitude, hope, and joy on the other. The second death no longer has any sway on us. We have been set free from the bondage of our sin leading to death.
Notice, I just listed four places in Scripture where we Christians go to discover and understand what happened to Jesus. I did so to showcase the fact that the gospels are usually the main source we rely on when considering the resurrection. Look at it this way: For Easter service our pastors do not tell us to open the writings of Tacitus or Josephus. No, we open the gospels. But have we ever asked ourselves whether we have good reason to trust in the resurrection? That the idea that Jesus resurrected from the dead (thus supporting His claims to divinity) is reasonable to conclude?
Sometimes we will want to answer these questions by focusing on the reliability of Scripture. Thus, if we can show that Scripture is reliable then we can trust what it tells us about the miracle of the resurrection. While this is certainly not the wrong approach to take, I would argue that there is an alternative approach that might prove more robust and convincing in light of non-believers’ questions and doubts (and possibly our own). This approach is otherwise known as The Minimal Facts of the Resurrection.
Drs. Gary Habermas and Mike Licona have compiled five facts that the majority of biblical scholars, critical as well as conservative, agree on. Please note: This is only a brief list of those five facts. For more on this issue, please read their excellent book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus.
First: Jesus died by crucifixion
Not only do the four gospels relate the event of Jesus’ crucifixion, extra-biblical sources confirm His death by crucifixion as well. The fact that there are extra-biblical sources confirming the death of Jesus supports the notion that it was an historically attested event…
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