Introduction As a physician, Dr. Luke was a trained scientific mind. This is why he did NOT base the resurrection of Jesus on an existential leap of faith. Instead, he talks in terms of overwhelming evidence that demonstrates that Jesus had been physically raised from the dead. He calls these evidences "infallible proofs.“ The word "infallible" is not the best translation of the Greek word. This is why most modern versions do not render the word that way. New American Standard: "convincing proofs“ Amplified Bible: "convincing demonstrations" The whole point of Dr. Luke is that to his scientific mind, the evidence that Christ arose is very convincing to anyone open minded enough to look at it honestly. Let us review some of these convincing evidences.
Today, all modern biblical scholars, conservative or liberal, Christian or Jewish, are in general agreement about 12 historical facts surrounding the resurrection story of Jesus. After a century of arguing over the resurrection of Christ, a general consensus has finally appeared in our day. While there are radical differences when it comes to explaining these twelve facts, there is no disagreement that these twelve things are historical facts.
<ul><li>Twelve Facts That Demand An Explanation </li></ul><ul><li>1. Jesus died due to crucifixion. </li></ul><ul><li>2. He was buried. </li></ul><ul><li>3. His disciples became depressed, lost all hope and scattered in fear of their lives. </li></ul><ul><li>4. His tomb was empty three days after his death. </li></ul><ul><li>5. A large number of disciples individually and in groups claimed to have seen, touched, ate, drank with, and openly talked with the risen Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>6. The disciples were psychologically transformed from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fear to faith - timidity to boldness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>doubters to believers - scattered to unified </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cowards to martyrs - depressed to joyous </li></ul></ul>
7. The resurrected Christ was central to the Early Church's message. 8. This was especially true in Jerusalem where many eyewitnesses lived. 9. As a result of the message of the resurrected Christ, the Christian Church was born and grew. 10. The Church switched from Saturday to Sunday as its day of worship because it believed that Christ arose on the first day of the week. 11. The half-brothers of Jesus such as James, did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah until he appeared to them after his resurrection. 12. Saul of Tarshish became the Apostle Paul after he claimed that the resurrected Christ confronted him on the road to Damascus. The results of his conversion to Christianity cannot be underestimated. These twelve things demand an explanation. The key is to discover who has the best explanation in terms of history, psychology, etc..
I. Naturalistic Explanations: German Rationalists during the 19th Century tried to dismiss these twelve facts as frauds, myths, etc. The amazing thing is that these same liberal scholars refuted each other so successfully that no scholars today take their ideas seriously. a. Albert Schweitzer refuted Reimarus's fraud theory so successfully that no scholar since 1768 has proposed it. b. David Strauss' refutation of Paulus' swoon theory is still the classic in the field and no scholar today takes the swoon theory seriously. c. On the other hand, Schleirmacher tore Strauss's hallucination theory to pieces. Later, Theodor Keim forever nailed the coffin on the hallucination theory. d. Otto Pfleider did away with the mythological and legendary explanation. e. Dr. Machen's two outstanding books, The Virgin Birth and The Origin of Paul's Religion, summarized the failure of all naturalistic theories. f. Today, such modern liberals as Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Raymond Brown, Pannenberg, A. T. Robinson, etc., have all rejected the 19th century naturalistic explanations as hopelessly inadequate. They simply do not fit the historical facts.
II. The Conservative Explanation: The conservative scholars' explanation is the only one that makes any historical, logical or psychological sense. Jesus arose from the grave in the same body that hung on the cross three days earlier. His resurrection was a physical and literal event in space/time history and not some dream or fraud. No other explanation fits the facts. Jesus IS ALIVE!
Conclusion The resurrection of Christ is thus a historical event for which there is abundant proof today.