Jesus’ Ultimate Claim
Although Jesus made many claims as we noted in another section, the ultimate claims that He made centered around His death and resurrection. If these claims are not true, then Jesus is reduced to an impostor, liar or lunatic. But, if they are true, then He is the Son of God who has provided a saving sacrifice for our sins and has been raised from the dead. After being raised, He has received authority from the Father over heaven and earth. Everything rests on these claims that He would die for our sins and be raised from the dead on the third day.
First, we present the facts as given to us by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. John claims to be an eyewitness of Jesus’ death and also, along with Matthew, of His resurrection. On the accounts of these men we turn for the plainly but powerfully written records of what happened to Jesus.
Before turning to them however, we note that not only do we have their word for what happened to Jesus, but we also have the word of the Old Testament prophets who predicted that these things would come to pass. How could these first century writers like John control events in such a way that they would fulfill what the prophets had written hundreds of years ago?
Finally, in response to the passages that follow, men have responded by proposing various theories to “explain” away the things that are written. Even though these theories are not supported by any external proofs, we provide responses to them that should challenge those who propose them to consider honestly on what basis they found these theories upon. Now, to what is written about His death, burial and resurrection.
His Death And Burial
Before His death, Jesus Himself had spoken of the manner in which He would die and the events that would lead to it. How could He have controlled all these events?
MAT 20:17 ¶ And as Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them,
MAT 20:18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death,
MAT 20:19 and will deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up. ”
After an illegal and unfair trial, the Jewish leaders take Him to the Roman authorities. Being intimidated by the implied threats of the Jewish leaders, Pilate, the Roman Governor, orders Jesus’ execution although he knew Jesus was innocent of all crimes.
Later the same day, Jesus is crucified along with two convicted criminals, thieves. For about six hours, He remains on the cross until He is officially verified and pronounced as being dead.
JOH 19:31 ¶ The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
JOH 19:32 The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him;
JOH 19:33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs;
JOH 19:34 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.
JOH 19:35 And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.
JOH 19:36 For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.”
JOH 19:37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
Jesus being dead, Joseph, a disciple of Jesus who was wealthy, requested that the body might be given to him. Along with another disciple, Nicodemus, he takes the body of Jesus, prepares it for burial, and lays it in his own newly carved tomb.
JOH 19:38 ¶ And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came therefore, and took away His body.
JOH 19:39 And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.
JOH 19:40 And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
JOH 19:41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid.
JOH 19:42 Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
MAR 15:46 And Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
MAR 15:47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.
Fearing that Jesus’ disciples would come to steal His body and propagate the lie that He had been raised from the dead, the Jewish religious leaders petition the governor to take precautions that t6his would not occur. Upon their urging, he assigns a squadron of Roman guards to maintain the security of the tomb, at least until after the third day had passed, the day that Jesus had predicted that He would rise from the dead.
MAT 27:62 ¶ Now on the next day, which is the one after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
MAT 27:63 and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’
MAT 27:64 “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”
MAT 27:65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.”
MAT 27:66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.
Just before His death, Jesus had told His disciples that He was dying so that He could provide the world forgiveness of sins. His death was not just another death.
MAT 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
Before His death, Jesus had said that He would rise from the dead. This would be the ultimate verifying factor that would show that His death was for the forgiveness of our sins and would also bring Him to the point where He would ascend into Heaven and receive authority from the Father over heaven and earth.
MAT 26:32 “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Early on the first day of the week, the tomb of Jesus was found empty with the guard having been scattered from the scene. Although they did not yet accept or believe that Jesus had risen, the apostles knew that His body was no longer in the tomb where He had been placed.
JOH 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.
JOH 20:2 And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
JOH 20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they were going to the tomb.
JOH 20:4 And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first;
JOH 20:5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.
JOH 20:6 Simon Peter therefore also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he beheld the linen wrappings lying there,
JOH 20:7 and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.
JOH 20:8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb entered then also, and he saw and believed.
JOH 20:9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
JOH 20:10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
Then, on several occasions, Jesus appears to the apostles, as well as others, showing them that He indeed had been raised from the dead. By conversing with them and showing them the wounds in His body, Jesus proved to them that He had been raised. Also, Jesus refers them back to the prophets who had predicted that these things would come to pass. Therefore, we have their writings along with eyewitness testimony to provide with the necessary evidence for us to believe that He was raised from the dead.
JOH 20:24 ¶ But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
JOH 20:25 The other disciples therefore were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!”But he said to them, “Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
JOH 20:26 ¶ And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, “Peace be with you.”
JOH 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.”
JOH 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
JOH 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
JOH 20:30 ¶ Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
JOH 20:31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
JOH 21:1 After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way.
LUK 24:36 ¶ And while they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst.
LUK 24:37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.
LUK 24:38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
LUK 24:39 “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
LUK 24:40 [And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.]
LUK 24:41 And while they still could not believe it for joy and were marveling, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
LUK 24:42 And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish;
LUK 24:43 and He took it and ate it before them.
LUK 24:44 ¶ Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
LUK 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
LUK 24:46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day;
LUK 24:47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
LUK 24:48 “You are witnesses of these things.
Based on what the prophets wrote and the testimony of the apostles, we can reasonably accept and believe that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead on the third day! Our faith (leading to our trusting obedience) is based not upon our feelings, contrived fantasy or just the words of the apostles, but on tremendous evidence, each avenue of proof verifying the other. By His resurrection, Jesus is proved to be the Son of God, the one possessing all authority in heaven and earth, the one should obey so that we might be saved.
ROM 1:3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
ROM 1:4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
By Gary Hunt