Other Sermons #7 – Easter Sunday 2018 – Resurrection: Fact or Fiction? (1 Corinthians 15:1-9)

Read the Bible passage

Sermon outline

Did Jesus actually exist?

Josephus (Jewish Pharisee), c. AD90, Antiquities
… a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ”

Tacitus (Roman Historian), c. AD110, Annals of Imperial Rome
“ … Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one our procurators, Pontius Pilate.”

Pliny (Roman Governor of Bithynia), c. AD112, Letters to Emperor Trajan
“ … It was their habit on a fixed day to assemble before daylight and recite by turns a form of words to Christ as a god”

How reliable are the primary documents about Jesus?

How soon after the events was it written?

Event Date First written record Gap (years)
Alexander the Great’s death 323BC AD130 (Historian Arrian) 450+
Jesus’ death AD30 AD50-100 (New Testament) 20-70

If the original is lost, how many copies exist, and how close are they to the original?

Event No. of copies Date of original Oldest surviving copy Gap (years)
Homer Iliad 650 800BC AD100 900
Tacitus Annals of Imperial Rome 1



AD110 Books 1-6: AD850

Books 7-10: lost

Books 11-16: AD1000




New Testament 5000 AD50-100 AD125-200 <150

How do you explain the empty tomb?But isn’t any record written by a follower inherently unreliable/biased?

The “swoon” theory

 The Jews and/or the Romans hid the body

 The disciples stole the body

How did people at the time respond to the claim that Jesus was alive?

“Doubting” Thomas Didymus

John 20:25 “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

Saul of Tarsus 1

Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

So what?

1 Cor 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

1 Cor 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

“Beyond ANY doubt” or “beyond REASONABLE doubt”?

 Chief Justice Lord Darling

“There exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true