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The Resurrection of Jesus

What do you think about the resurrection of Jesus Christ? When it comes to the resurrection, people love to throw out strange theories. The resurrection of Jesus has been interpreted as: (1) A Great Hoax (saying that the resurrection is false), (2) Mythology (that the resurrection is fiction), or (3) The Supreme Event of History (that the resurrection is fact). As faithful Christians believe the latter, of course, but have you ever really studied about the resurrection?

People of the world want to attribute the story of Jesus’ resurrection to fables or folk-lore. They teach theories about how this story began to be circulated. I'll share nine theories have been proposed to explain the empty tomb and the post-resurrection appearances of Christ:

1. Swoon Theory - Jesus did not actually die. He just "swooned" or was drugged (Mark 15:23). After being removed from the cross, this theory alleges that His disciples hid him away (Matthew 28:11–15).

2. Spirit Theory - Jesus’ spirit returned but not His body (John 20:19-20). The disciples (and others) saw Jesus in a spirit form, but His body was actually never removed from the tomb.

3. Vision Theory - This theory states that the disciples hallucinated. They wanted to believe Jesus had risen so badly that they all believed it (John 20:11-29)... even though it never really happened. They simply saw a vision.

4. Legend/Myth Theory - The resurrection is only a myth or story with a teaching point. A real man named Jesus probably existed, but His existence is not really necessary. His story was invented to prove moral values.

5. Stolen Body Theory - This is probably one of the most prominent views. People believe that they body was stolen by either (1) the Jews, (2) the Romans, (3) the disciples (Matthew 28:11–15), or (4) Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38ff).

6. Wrong Tomb Theory - The disciples went to the wrong tomb, found it empty, and erroneously concluded that Jesus had risen. This began with Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18) and others disciples went to the wrong tomb.

7. Deliberate Lie for Profit Theory - The disciples fabricated the resurrection story for profit. There never was a resurrection or even miracles. The disciples used it to gain fame and fortune after Jesus died.

8. Mistaken Identity Theory - The disciples mistook for Jesus someone who looked like Him (Luke 24:13-31). It was merely grief and wishful thinking, but the man they thought was Jesus was someone else.

9. A Literal, Bodily Resurrection - As hundreds of witnessed confirmed, Jesus was raised from the dead by the supernatural power of God (I Corinthians 15:3ff). He raised up exactly like He said He would do it!

After considering all of these theories, doesn’t it seem that not only is the latter “theory” obvious and plausible, it seems to be built on common sense reasoning. The non-believers may call us religious nuts, but at least we have a “faith” that can be substantiated by evidence, eye-witnesses testimony, and undeniable changes that have helped to frame the course of human history. Praise God, He is risen! Have a great week!!!

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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