Last week we explored the validity of the evidence for the accuracy of the biblical accounts for the life of Jesus (you can check that out here). You might be one who says, “Okay, I think Jesus was a good Man, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to believe that anyone could be raised from the dead after three days.” I think that’s a reasonable thing to explore…
If the tomb where Jesus was placed is really empty, then there are only three possibilities for us to consider.
(1) Jesus didn’t really die.
- It’s hard to imagine anyone could go through the intense torture Jesus did prior to His crucifixion unscathed.
- The crucifixion process itself is one of the most gruesome forms of execution man has ever invented.
- As a result, forensic science shows that Jesus most likely died of a heart attack. The mention in John 19:34 of the blood and water that flowed from Christ’s body is an indication of the cardiac distress His body experienced.
- Men who were followers of Jesus handled His dead body, and undoubtedly would have checked for any signs life (John 19:38-40).
- A Roman centurion reported to the Roman governor Pilate that Jesus had in fact died (Mark 15:43-45).
- Extra-biblical historians, many of whom were unfriendly to Jews and Christians, reported Christ’s death as an historical fact.
(2) Jesus didn’t really rise.
- Some have claimed that Christ’s followers “saw” Jesus only in a grief-induced hallucination. The problem is, Jesus appeared to individuals, small groups, and large groups multiple times and in multiple settings over the course of 40 days (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
- At least one of Christ’s closest followers said he wouldn’t be convinced by verbal testimony alone, but needed to touch Christ’s body for Himself (John 20:24-28).
- The disciples were afraid and lacked any military training that would have allowed them to get past the trained soldiers guarding the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66; 28:11-15).
(3) Jesus really did die on a Cross and was raised back to life.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes rightly said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Real-life cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace explains how detectives use abductive reasoning to examine all of the evidence and infer to the most reasonable explanation from that. As a result, Detective Wallace says about this third explanation:
“The last explanation (although it is a miraculous, supernatural explanation) suffers from the least number of liabilities and deficiencies. If we simply enter into the investigation without a pre-existing bias against anything supernatural, the final explanation accounts for all of the evidence without any difficulty. The final explanation accounts for the evidence most simply and most exhaustively, and it is logically consistent…. The final explanation is also superior to all other accounts (given that it does not suffer from all the problems we see with the other explanations).” —J. Warner Wallace, Alive
The truth is Jesus loved you so much that He had to die for you. He had to pay the penalty for your sins. And God loved His Son so much, that He raised Him back to life. Jesus can live in you now, and you can live with Him forever, if you will simply believe what He did for you on Calvary.
Jesus left an empty tomb behind to show how powerful His love and life is!