A. 1 Corinthians 15:17
B. It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of the resurrection of
1. If He arose, then He conquered death, His righteousness is fully vindicated,
and our hope in Him for our own salvation and resurrection is
2. If, on the other hand, He did not arise from the dead, then Satan won the fight,
Jesus isn’t the Son of God, and the whole Christian religion is a cruel
deception, a monstrous hoax.
C. There is no room here for compromise or neutrality. If Christians need to be
certain of anything, we need to be certain (we need to know) of the resurrection
of our Lord.
1. The credibility of Jesus Himself is at stake:
a. John 2:19  Jesus spoke of the “temple” of His body (raise it up in 3 days)
b. Jesus repeatedly and plainly predicted His own resurrection,
1) Matthew 16:21;
2) Matthew 17:23; 20:19
2. The credibility of the New Testament is at stake:
a. Of the 8 known writers of the New Testament, 6 writers specifically affirm
the resurrection; James & Jude (along with the Hebrew writer) imply it.
b. 15 of the 27 NT books specifically affirm the resurrection; most of the
remaining 12 imply it
3. The credibility of Old Testament prophecy is at stake Psalm 16:8-11 
notice Peter’s explanation of this passage
a. Acts 2:25-27
b. David wrote Psalm 16 over 1000 years before the crucifixion – he could not
have been writing about himself because he died, was buried, and Peter could
point to his tomb (thus David’s soul was still in Hades, and his flesh had
c. David was a prophet and foretold of the resurrection of Jesus – His soul
wasn’t left in Hades, nor did His flesh undergo decay.
d. Why is the Resurrection of Jesus so important, because…
4. It is a foundational truth without which the gospel ceases to be good news
 1 Corinthians 15:14-19
a. Without it, preaching is vain, v.14
b. Without it, faith is vain, v.14
c. Without it, Paul and others are false witnesses, v.15
d. Without it, you are yet in your sins, v.17
1) Romans 4:25, raised for our justification
2) 1 Peter 3:21
3) Compare Romans 6:4-5 – without the resurrection of Jesus, baptism
would be meaningless.
e. Furthermore, according to 1 Corinthians 15:14-19, without the resurrection
of Christ
1) those who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ have perished, v.18 (His
resurrection is the basis for our own hope of resurrection)
2) Without it, we are the most pitiable people on earth, v.1 (because our
religion is a cruel hoax)
5. You MUST believe it to be saved
a. Romans 10:9, believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead
b. Throughout the book of Acts the resurrection was a dominant theme of
apostolic preaching – those who “believed” certainly accepted the
resurrection of Jesus.
c. Nominal “Christians” who reject the resurrection of Jesus are simply not
Christians at all!
1. It was sufficiently witnessed
a. Honest witnesses (not immoral reprobates, liars)
b. Competent witnesses (not gullible simpletons)
c. Sufficient number of witnesses (well over 500)
d. Testimony of witnesses was not refuted by the 1st century enemies of
1) All anyone would have needed to do was to produce the body –
Christianity would have died in its tracks!
2) If the resurrection did not occur, 1st century skeptics were in a prime
position to refute it!
3) Certainly these enemies (Jews, pagans) were motivated – if they could
have refuted the resurrection, they would have done so!
2. The change the resurrection brought in the apostles
a. From fearful, trembling men of “little faith” to strong, fearless, militant
soldiers of the cross
b. Paul changed from a blasphemous persecutor to persecuted proclaimer (Paul
had no reason to want to believe in the resurrection – he had nothing to gain
financially, or socially, and had everything to lose – i.e. his standing within
1. Jesus’ friends stole the body
a. This tale was invented by Jesus’ enemies shortly after the resurrection
occurred  Matthew 28:11-15
1) Guards supposedly slept
2) Jews circulated that saying even to the time of Matthew’s writing
(probably early 60s, thus about 30 years after the resurrection)
3) This excuse continued to be used for many years (e.g. Justin Martyr [mid-
2nd cent.] wrote against unbelieving Jews of his day who “sent chosen and
ordained men throughout all the world to proclaim that ‘a godless and
lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galilean deceiver, whom we
crucified, but His disciples stole Him by night from the tomb . . .’”)
b. This theory is inadequate
1) The claim that the guards were asleep:
a) If so, then how do they know that the disciples came and stole the body
(if they had other evidence, why didn’t they prosecute the disciples for
breaking the Roman seal?)
b) Highly unlikely that any of the guards (much less all of them) would
sleep on duty – penalty was severe (perhaps death)
2) Would the same group that fled from the betrayal scene suddenly become
so brave as to challenge armed guards by stealing a body from a sealed
3) Why would they take time to unwrap the body and leave the linen strips in
the tomb?
4) Makes no sense for deceitful grave-robbers to preach the highest moral
standards known to man and to willingly die for their faith!
2. The swoon theory
a. Theory: Jesus didn’t really die on the cross, but merely fainted – then revived
in the cool tomb, sneaked out, and claimed to have arisen from the dead!
b. First invented about two centuries ago, this theory was popularized by Hugh
Schonfield’s 1966 book “The Passover Plot” (made into a movie in 1975).
c. One particular Muslim sect (Ahmadiyya–located in NW India) promotes this
theory, claiming that Jesus revived, escaped to India, and lived to be 120
years old!
d. Holes in this theory:
1) Experienced Roman soldiers saw that He was DEAD! (Who would know
more about it – trained, experienced soldiers who were there, or some
foggy-headed infidel eighteen or twenty centuries later?)
2) Assuming (for the sake of argument) that Jesus didn’t die, but swooned–
after what He had been through (scourging, crucifixion, pierced side); is it
reasonable that He could:
a) Revive without food, without water, without medical attention?
b) Get out of the grave-clothes (somewhat like being in a strait jacket)?
c) Move the stone out of the way (combined strength of 3 spunky women
couldn’t roll it away, Mk. 16:1-4)
3. The “wrong tomb” theory
a. Theory: Jesus’ friends went to the wrong tomb, (due to semi-darkness, being
emotionally upset, etc.), saw it was empty, & mistakenly thought He had
been resurrected
b. It was Joseph’s own tomb! He & Nicodemus had placed the body there! The
women had observed intently (Matt. 27:61; Mk. 15:47; Lk. 23:55) – now, less
than 48 hrs. later, everyone is clueless?
c. If they went to the wrong tomb, what were the linen strips and the
handkerchief doing there? (Jn 20:5, 7)
4. Hallucination Theory
a. Theory: The disciples wanted Jesus to arise from the dead so intensely that in
their emotionally disturbed state they hallucinated!
b. But the disciples did NOT expect a resurrection (despite having been told
repeatedly that it would happen); see Mark 16:12-14
c. Over 500 people saw Him at once, 1 Cor. 15:6; that must have been some
d. Psychologists say only certain personality types are likely to hallucinate–
viz. people who are high-strung, nervous, highly imaginative (this doesn’t fit
John, Thomas, et. al.)
5. For any of these, or virtually any other theory, the question remains: why
didn’t the enemies of Jesus simply produce the body and shut the disciples
A. The empty tomb speaks volumes as to the fact of the resurrection of Jesus
1. The OT prophesied of the resurrection.
2. Jesus repeatedly said, both plainly and in figures of speech, that he would be
raised the 3rd day.
3. The disciples witnessed it; the inspired writers recorded it.
4. The early Christians believed it and proclaimed it shamelessly.
5. Without the resurrection, there is no gospel, no salvation, no eternal life.
B. Thank God that we can say with great confidence: “This Jesus did God
raise up . . .”


About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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