The culture of Christianity is torn between Jesus’ resurrection or His never ended death! When these questions arise it is required from us by the Bible1 to confirm them or to show where they are erred or wrong. The resurrection of Christ comes with numerous challenges and pitfalls that have to be analyzed through the lens of God’s Holy Word. The modern-day liberal says that we, “Should [put] our trust [in] a person rather than in a message; in Jesus, rather than in what Jesus did; in Jesus’ character rather than in Jesus’ death[.]2” And this is what we are about to find out.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is fundamental to how we view the Bible and our faith. Without the resurrection, the hope for which we live is ultimately lost. Our life now is meaningless and our faith dead, because what is there to have faith in, that is the true question. The people who constantly swarmed Jesus in Galilee were all broken and in need of a healer. Jesus was the only man not broken. They saw Jesus, they touched Him, they talked to Him; He was right there in their small little world. But now we are separated from Him, separated through time and space and that is even further if he never conquered the grave.
“Some persons would bridge the gulf by the mere use of the historical imagination. ‘Jesus is not dead,’ we are told, ‘but he lives on through His recorded words and deeds; we do not need even to believe it all; even a part is sufficient; the wonderful personality of Jesus shines clear from the Gospel story. Jesus, in other words, may still be known; let us simply‐without theology, without controversy, without inquiry about miracles-abandon ourselves to His spell, and He will heal us.3”
In the Bible, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17–18, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” The whole time that Jesus Christ ministered to us humans on earth He foretold His death and resurrection 3 times, and in the Old Testament, it was foretold over 8 times. If it had really been true that Jesus never rose from the grave then the whole Bible could be discredited, directly contradicting itself as being completely true and never-changing4. Not only would the Bible be now untrue but all the faith we had beforehand would be “futile”.
Some arguments are put up about Christ’s death, one of them being that He never actually died but was only severely wounded. To properly refute this we must start at the beginnings of Christ’s torment and crucifixion. According to all four of the Biblical Gospels Jesus was brutally scourged and beaten. This alone would have resulted in a considerable amount of blood loss. Then, after trying to carry the cross to Gethsemane, He would have been emotionally and physically exhausted, so when He got to the cross he probably could barely walk.
Once on the cross, after the nails had already been driven into His hands and feet, His next physical challenge would be trying to breathe. When we breathe our chest rises and falls but when Jesus was nailed to that horrible cross he would have a much greater challenge. To breathe Jesus would have to push up on His feet which were nailed to the cross creating an enormous amount of pain. As He was up there longer the blood he was losing would keep making it harder and harder to breathe resulting in Him dying of asphyxiation.
Interestingly, Jesus did not die of asphyxiation but on his own accord.5,6 Generally, in Roman times, people who were crucified took a few days to die, and because in two days the Jews had their Passover they wanted all the bodies off the crosses. So when the soldiers came to the other two prisoners who were with Jesus and saw that they were alive they broke their legs because it made them die faster. At last, when the soldiers came to Jesus they did not know if he was already dead so then, “… one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.7” the significance of this is great. When a person has been dead for a few hours the liquids in their body start to separate thus coming out as “blood and water” like Jesus did, thus they never broke his bones fulfilling the prophecy in Psalm 22.
The question of “did Jesus die?” is no longer a question but a lie from Satan. He tries so hard to sway those who study God’s word. From the beginning of time, in Genesis Satan started to tempt those made in God’s image into doing wrong, as he did with Adam and Eve. Thankfully, the better you know your Bible and biblical history, the better you can be at refuting Satan’s cunning lies. As true Christians, we need to understand, accept, and meditate on every word of the Bible, and not just be “red print” Christians, only listening to what Jesus said, if we like it.
Amazingly, the theological liberal only takes from the Bible what he or she thinks is an “ethically good statement.” Anything supernatural is instantly discredited as a fairytale. Miracles are described as “stories” and are held in the same light as any other part of the Bible, but this is not how God designed us to read it. The miracles are for us to start to comprehend God’s greatness, or the Son’s godly humanity, or even the Holy Spirit’s power. The Gospel on the other hand is meant to be read as our guide to living and acting more and more like Jesus Christ. And finally the law is our manual of truth, correction, and spiritual well-being. With this being said, the whole Bible is your guide to understand the truth of the resurrection as well as the truth of Christ. God did not only give us the Holy Word for use as an absolute truth but also as a rock for us to build our life and heavenly house on; because of the resurrection we now can live as soldiers for Christ, no matter the circumstance.
- 8The Son of God goes forth to war,
A kingly crown to gain;
His blood-red banner streams afar:
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears his cross below,
He follows in His train.
2. The martyr first, whose eagle eye
Could pierce beyond the grave,
Who saw his Master in the sky,
And called to Him to save:
Like Him, with pardon on his tongue,
In midst of mortal pain,
He prayed for them that did the wrong:
Who follows in his train?
3. A glorious band, the chosen few
On whom the Spirit came,
Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,
And mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant’s brandished steel,
The lion’s gory mane,
They bowed their necks, the death to feel:
Who follows in their train?
4. A noble army, men and boys,
The matron and the maid,
Around the Savior’s throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed.
They climbed by strength divine from heaven,
Through peril, toil, and pain:
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train.
12 Timothy 2:16; 2J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1923) 39; 3J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1923) 40; 4Numbers 23:18; 5Luke 23:46; 6Luke 10:17-18; 7Luke 19:34; 8The Son of God Goes Forth to War