THE RESURRECTION OF Jesus is the supreme F A C T of Christianity (Acts 2:24, 32). Yes, I said, “fact.” It is mentioned 300 times in the 260 chapters of the New Testament (i.e., on average at least once in every chapter).
Skeptics want you to believe that the resurrection was a deception.1 They claim it was an elaborate ruse designed to fool the masses.2 But do the charges of unbelievers hold up to real scrutiny and investigation? Read from the pen of the apostle Peter and then decide on your own:
Peter on Pentecost quoted David who wrote, “For You will not leave My soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27; cf. Psm. 16:8-10). Consider two questions pertaining to this verse:
1. WHOSE soul would not be left in the unseen spirit realm of Hades? Peter, a humble, uneducated fisherman (Acts 4:13; Luke 5:4-5, 10), showed that David’s thousand-year-old prophecy obviously couldn’t have applied to the patriarch himself because, “He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day” (v. 29). David’s burial place still held David’s decayed remains and everybody in Acts 2 accepted that as fact.
2. WHO was the “Holy One” to whom David referred? After explaining that the remains of King David’s corpse were still in the tomb, Peter went on to identify the Holy One and why David was pointing to, and prophesying about, the Lord. Watch—“Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his (i.e., David’s—mb) body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he (David) foreseeing this, SPOKE CONCERNING THE RESURRECTION OF THE CHRIST…, nor did His flesh (Christ’s) see corruption. THIS JESUS GOD HAS RAISED UP, OF WHICH WE ARE ALL WITNESSES” (VV. 30-32).
Now ponder the implications of Peter’s arguments:
- “It was well known to the Jews, as it now is to all interpreters of the prophetic Psalms, that David habitually speaks in the first person WHEN PROPHECYING ABOUT THE CHRIST (emphasis mine—mb); and in any given case, if it is made clear that he does not speak of himself, the conclusion is that he speaks of the Christ. This is the force of Peter’s argument, and it proved to his Jewish hearers that which he set out to prove, that the Christ, according to a predetermined and expressed purpose of God, was to suffer death, and to arise again speedily from the death.”3
- If the miracle of Christ’s resurrection didn’t occur, why should we, in fact, HOW CAN WE, ACCEPT ANY OF THE OTHER MIRACLES recorded in Scripture—including those recorded on this very occasion (cf. v. 2-4, 6-8, 12-16)? See b. below.
- When Peter appealed to David’s words in Psalms 16, he still had to PROVE that Jesus was the Holy One whom David predicted and he did so by drawing attention to two overwhelming pieces of evidence:
- Eye witness testimony: “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (v. 32b). “The apostles are good witnesses in every way in which witnesses can and should be tested. Two fundamental questions must be asked concerning those who claim to be witnesses. (1) Were they in a position to know whether or not that which they testify took place? One cannot be a witness of that which is outside the range of his experience. The apostles, however, had been with Jesus both before and after His death and resurrection, so they were in a position to know whether or not what they had said was true. They heard, saw, and touched him (cf. 1 John 1:1—mb). (2) Are they honest enough to tell the truth about what they have seen? In every way that one can test honesty they are found to be honest. They gave up friends, their national standing, and even life itself. They accepted persecution, ridicule, and the loss of property, prestige and life” (cf. Acts 3:26-4:3, 5-21; 5:17-18, 22-41; 11:2-3; 12:1-4—mb).4 See also 1 Pet. 5:1, cf. 1 Cor. 15:6.
- Extant miracles: “The apostles not only bore testimony, but so did the miracles. The miracles of Christ were an accreditation from God to show that He approved Christ (Acts 2:22). The miracles which were being wrought on Pentecost were a confirmation by God of the message of the apostles (cf. Mk. 16:17-20—mb). They showed that God was with them. Therefore, their explanation of the meaning of these miracles was the correct explanation. The people on Pentecost could not deny these miracles. As Peter said: “which ye see and hear” (Acts 2:32). They had heard the sound as of the rushing mighty wind, they had seen tongues like as of fire which parted asunder and sat upon each of the apostles, and they had heard these men speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:2, 3, 4, 8). These miracles, therefore, helped establish the reliability of the testimony of the apostles that Christ had been raised from the dead.”5
Atheists, skeptics, and unbelievers insist that the resurrection of Jesus was a fraud and an imposture. The Holy Spirit through Peter said otherwise. Whom will we believe, good reader…? “A faithful witness will not lie; but a false witness will utter lies” (Prov. 14:5). “Let God be true but every man a liar…” (Rom. 3:4).
1 Abdullah Kareem, “The Resurrection Hoax”: www.answeringchristianity.com/abdullah_smith/the_resurrection_hoax.htm
2 Ben Radfor, “Scholar Claims Jesus Was a Roman Hoax”: www.seeker.com/scholar-claims-jesus-was-a-roman-hoax-1767943845.html
3 J. W. McGarvey, “The Resurrection Christ Predicted by David,” vv. 25-31, New Commentary on Acts of the Apostles, Vol. 1, 33.
4 James D. Bales, “Death Could Not Hold Him,” The Hub of the Bible, 130.
5 Ibid, 131-132.