The Historical Evidence for Jesus – Program 6

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The Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

Did you know Jesus appeared to over 500 people after His resurrection? Join his fascinating program that investigates the numerous post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.



today on the johnny Kernberg show what is the main reason for the fact that the early christians believed Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today and could give you eternal life when you die. It was because after he was dead and buried, they actually saw jesus alive, touched him and talked with him. They didn’t believe on jesus just because he said he was the son of God, but because they saw him alive after he was crucified. This proof to them that his teachings were true. For example, if you’re a university student and I told your dad just had a heart attack and died, you’d rush home and a few days later go to his funeral after the funeral. What if one day you are shopping at walmart and turn to the next aisle and suddenly you see your dad standing there in your amazement, You say dad and he turns around and says, how are you doing, son? You go over and shake his hand and give him a hug. Three of your friends who attended the funeral also see your dad standing there and come over and shake his hand and talk to him. In fact 15 other people who were at the funeral also meet you and your dad at walmart. What would you all conclude you would believe that somehow your dad who had died is now alive. Why? Because you saw him touched him and talked to him, You would never forget the fact that you saw him alive after he was dead. This is the kind of eyewitness evidence that the christian faith is based on Individuals, the 11 apostles, family members over 500 people at one time all testified that they saw talked and touched jesus after he was crucified, buried and then appeared to them. The consensus position among scholars today is this historical evidence about jesus was written down and in circulation among christians within at least two years or possibly even weeks of jesus crucifixion today, World class philosopher Dr Gary Habermas will present this historical evidence. He received his PhD from michigan State University and a second doctorate from Emmanuel College in Oxford. England Dr Habermas is chairman of the department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University and has written more than 100 articles on the life of jesus in scholarly journals to hear the historical evidence for jesus resurrection. We invite you to join us for this edition of the john Achterberg show, Welcome to our program, I’m john Achterberg in the last few weeks, philosopher dr Gary Habermas has been presenting and documenting 12 historical facts that virtually all critical scholars around the world today believe about jesus, he’s gone even further and stated that if you accept just four of these acknowledged facts, they will provide you with a solid historical foundation for believing in the traditional view of jesus today, we will examine one of the most controversial facts of jesus life, His appearances to his disciples after his brutal crucifixion, his death and his burial. This evidence confronted Dr Habermas when he was a skeptic working on his PhD at michigan state University and it led him to become a christian. Now, are you a skeptic? Well, here’s your chance to listen to another skeptic who was persuaded by solid historical evidence that he couldn’t escape. If there is evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, you need to know what it is. I’d like you to listen. I spent 10 years as a skeptic and I would argue with Christians, I would try to reduce their listen, so you can’t know this and you can’t know this and you can’t do this, but certain facts stopped me cold, I end up doing my PhD dissertation at michigan State University and it was on the resurrection of christ Michigan State University is not known as orthodox you, they have some professors there that weren’t crazy about what I was saying, but they said it’s okay, just don’t say it happened because the bible said it happened, I didn’t want to say that anyway, because that wasn’t my opinion. So I came down to facts, that evidence the greatest event of all the fact that jesus appeared. Now I want you to think about this fact, Dr Habermas said the fact that really got to him was after Jesus was dead and buried three days later, Jesus appeared to many different kinds of people who talked to him and touched him and then they went out and told the world what Jesus had done. Why is this fact, historical fact, and why is it such a powerful fact? Why is it persuasive, listen now, how do we get there to start with the Appearances? Let me start with a portion of that story that virtually everyone will admit. Reginald Fuller says this is the indisputable fact in the new testament that disciples at least believe they saw the risen jesus. Why is that true? Because whenever somebody willingly gives their life for something a cause, it can be jim jones follows David koresh’s followers, or even the common people who believe they are being taken away and they take the poison, lie down and die. What’s the key to each of these? We don’t understand a lot of these actions, but here’s what we say. They at least believed what they died for, nothing else explains it. They believed the comet, the the ufo was coming. They believed there was a Ufo behind the comet. They believed their country was worth dying for, They believe their philosophy worth dying for. And it’s true of the disciples. The only explanation is that they believed Jesus was raised the dead, Rudolph Volkmann in his seminal 1941 s a new testament mythology, he said a secular historian can only say this. The earliest followers believed they saw the risen jesus and I’m saying if you have that fact, you’ve got the key one. Everything else flows from there to the appearances of jesus next. You’re probably already saying? I agree it’s an indisputable fact that the disciples believed that they saw jesus, but how do you get from? They thought they saw jesus, so they actually saw him as a skeptic dr Habermas had to wrestle with this question himself and here’s what he discovered, but they said, I imagine a lot of people are listening, they’re saying, I’ll grant you that the disciples believe they saw jesus, How do you get from thought, They saw who they saw. Let me say in a nutshell, and let me give you an illustration of where I’m going. The fact that they thought they saw the Risen jesus is important for two reasons, those half dozen facts. I asked for evidence before those facts. Tell me number one naturalistic theories don’t work. They believed they saw the risen jesus, but some people say they saw hallucinations, we saw using only those half dozen facts, hallucinations don’t work. So on the one hand, they thought they saw the risen jesus. People make up what if scenarios, they don’t work naturalistic theories fail. But the second reason that they believe they saw jesus turns into they saw jesus is because those same half dozen facts that everybody admits includes a lot of good evidence is that they really saw him like their life was changed? It was a central proclamation, How do you get paul on board, how do you get James on board, every one of them agreed. It was something they saw. Now I liken this to a common experience, say shopping at Kroger. If we went to Kroger and I saw you last night, I might remember a conversation we had. I said remember we were talking about the spinach Now what if a bunch of our buddies happen to be then we kept running into each other throughout the store and one time two of us saw you one time, just me, another time. There are five of us, let’s say on one occasion, 11 or 12 I saw you in Kroger’s. Now that would be pretty hard for you to claim. You didn’t see me in Kroger last night, especially if I have the guys around me who said, oh come on. We saw you in Kroger last night. I saw you sing, we saw you at twos and threes and we saw you in a group. The disciples were not only claiming, I believe his claims that he’s the son of God, I believe God vindicated him by raising him. I believe he was raised some of these claims don’t sound a lot different on the surface than what other people have been. Have believed that the disciples added something else. I saw you, I touched you. It was a mundane experience when you appeared, I was shocked, but once you appeared the gospels say he ate, he walked, he cooked the shore lunch. I mean he’s doing normal things and that’s the Kroger experience. Now what would happen if I saw you in Kroger And we saw you singly and in pairs and five and 10 and Paul says one time 500. Well that’s not gonna work out program. But the point is when you see somebody there you’re sure when you see in groups. But what if I was at your funeral last week, what if I was at your funeral last week and tonight I saw you in Kroger and all my buddies saw you in Kroger too. How much evidence would it take to convince somebody that we saw you? The more the merrier, two heads are better than one. We all have all kinds of sayings for this. But the point is I could be convinced of two things. I saw a body in the casket, I haven’t reached over and touched you and you were dead. I saw you Kroger, I don’t know how to explain this, but it’s a pretty mundane event. I saw you picking up food. I saw you walking, I saw you talking, my point is the disciples didn’t just say, I believe jesus. They said we saw jesus and somehow we have to do justice to that. I saw you point and like Lewis says it’s the resurrection, that is miraculous. The walking and talking and shore lunch and so on. Those are normal events. What you’ve been raised and Kroger is a normal event. I saw you last week, I see in Kroger today, you know what, I’ll remember that for the rest of my life and every time I doubt I’ll go to my buddies and they say, hey we’re there with you, we saw you there and I think that is what we’re dealing with. Yes, the disciples believed, they believed jesus was right, they believed he is the messiah, but besides that they’ve got a punch here that nobody else has. I saw you at Kroger and we saw you in a group, if my faith is based on senior Kroger, I think it’s pretty firm and that’s one reason the disciples were so excited and so convinced that scene is believing. Now most professors and university students know that 250 years ago in his famous essay on miracles. David Hume said, people don’t accept miracles because the preponderance of evidence outweighs such events. That is, we’ve all had a lot of experience that have led us to the conclusion that people who die don’t come back to life again. But what new evidence could make us change our minds. And was this exceptional evidence given to jesus disciples dr gary Habermas says yes, I want you to listen a moment ago, I used this Kroger illustration to say, you know, I could be really convinced of something mundane. Like I saw your Kroger, you know, a friend of mine uses this example, turns it around a little bit and something like this. What if last week I was at a man’s funeral and this week, his son says to me, I saw dad last night. Here’s my first comment. Yeah, right. All right. Now, he might convince me, Hey, listen, I’m serious. And so now it dawns on me, notice the move here. He really believes this, just like the disciples. He really believes this. And I’m thinking, yeah, this could be more complicated. He could have seen hallucination, but I can take off reasons why this is an hallucination. And finally, let’s say, right, while we’re talking, there’s his dad. And let’s say there are checks and balances that I can argue too, that something’s going on here is my point. David Hume argued about 250 years ago that in general laws of nature show us that, for example, dead men don’t rise. I’m suggesting that in certain circumstances we might know that miracles have occurred, or in this case we might see an argument that this man was raised in the dead. How would I know that? By a preponderance? By a piling of evidence? My friend saw him. Hallucinations don’t work. Saw them together. Now, what if we tell some of our buddies and 10 of them see him? I’m saying, David hume’s general point, Deadman don’t rise is overridden in a particular circumstance, why? Because we have irrefutable evidence that this man was dead a week ago and today I have evidence that I cannot explain away singly and in groups that he’s alive, facts add up until sometimes we have to throw out hypotheses that say these things are incredible and here’s what I would say. Well they generally are, but this time I think something’s going on, I think I saw him and I think that’s what’s going on with the disciples and jesus going back to those half dozen facts, What do we have here? That indicates that Jesus was raised, he’s dead, he’s asphyxiated, Strauss says, coming back, wouldn’t convince anybody of a resurrection. Anyway. Alright, secondly, we have people who are saying I saw the risen jesus third, their life has transformed because not because of his teachings or some general euphoric whatever, because they believed they saw him, paul said if christ has not been raised, Our faith is Vain. 4th, you’ve got a person named Paul. He’s on his way to kill Christians. He’s not in the mood to see resurrected, Jesus is around and here, boom, just in front of him, strikes him down. He’s blind according to the book of acts, paul says himself in first Corinthians twice, I saw the risen jesus, What are you with James? The Insider, the family skeptic and he meets the meets the risen jesus at each of these points, what I’m saying is the probabilities begin to go up and the general rule dead. Men don’t rise is looking less and less likely in this instance only because it’s being outweighed by the facts. We live based on probabilities all the time. Anyway. At this point you have to make a decision. Is it really true? Is this evidence? Can I conclude not just that it probably happened, but can you reach a point where the evidence says, wow, he was raised? I think you can. And what I’m suggesting is that’s exactly what happened to the disciples when they had evidence upon evidence. What luke calls many infallible proofs in fact 13. Now folks, here’s a very important question for you personally. If you believe the historical facts about the risen jesus, does that make you a christian? The answer is no. Well then what is faith? How does one become a christian dr Habermas answers these questions and I’d like you to listen very carefully. I could picture an objection from the other side, christians are saying, whoa, this evidence is starting to look so good. What about faith? I mean facts don’t get us in the kingdom of God, but faith is not a leap into nothingness and the new testament without exception. Faith is based on trustworthy data, paul says Back to 1st Corinthians 15 I came and I preached you the message at least three things always present in the new testament definition of the gospel, the deity of christ death. Resurrection paul said if you believe these things, you’re saved. You have eternal life in Christianity. There’s always content. We call that the gospel data deity, death, resurrection of jesus. But how do you get from gospel data to salvation? There’s something missing. I suggest it’s facts plus faith equal salvation. But that’s not accurate enough. And the new testament, it’s not facts in which we place our place, our faith, I love history, but new testament. Faith is not placed in history, it’s placed in the jesus of history. Or if you prefer to get real exact here, jesus of the gospel facts, deity, death, resurrection plus faith equal salvation. Faith goes in the person of jesus. You know, it’s sort of like marriage. I could be convinced that a woman is the best possible person for me. She’s good here. She’s good here. She’s good here everything. But you know what if I don’t say I do, we’re not married. And I think that’s the new testament picture. It’s an analogy, but a decent new testament picture of what faith in jesus christ is, we can be convinced jesus did this and he did this and he did this and oh yeah, he died for my sins. He was buried. He rose again for that. He’s even the son of God. But the new testament. If I don’t say I do. If I don’t say I trust him. If I don’t commit myself to him, I’m not a christian and that I think is the key here, that jesus, the gospel facts plus faith equal salvation. And I think that’s paul’s argument in the first few verses of first Corinthians 15. Now, Gary Habermas just said that facts plus faith equals salvation. Let me ask you, have you ever transferred your trust from yourself to jesus for your salvation? The historical facts about jesus are the foundation for anyone’s faith commitment to him. But the facts alone won’t save you. Only the jesus of the facts will save you. Each one who has ever become a christian has realized via the facts that jesus is real. But then they experientially come to him in prayer and told him that they are sinners and transferred all of their trust to him. The bible says, all men and women are separated from God because we have all broken his moral laws, we have sinned against him. Do you realize that second the bible says, when jesus was on the cross got picked up our sins and they were placed on jesus and he died in our place, Jesus took the punishment we deserved and could never repay and he paid it in full. It’s his gift to us. Now, if you’ll come to jesus and admit that you’re a sinner and ask him to forgive you, he’ll do just that. You only need to say a prayer to him and then trust yourself into his hands and then he will make you a christian, he will forgive your sins and give you the gift of eternal life when you die. The bible says whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. And let me see if I can illustrate faith. Picture yourself on a two story building. A fire starts on the first floor and you rush up to the roof and there’s no way to escape the fire trucks come and the firemen get out and bring a net. They look up at you and they say jump, you look down at the fireman and the net and you say hey I can’t do that. I’m afraid the firemen say don’t you trust us, Don’t you have faith? You say Yeah but it’s two stories up and they say well what choice do you have? And you see the smoke and the flames coming up around you now just understanding the facts that those firemen can save you and then you’ll be safe. That understanding of facts won’t save you. It’s only when you step off of that building and you entrust yourself to those firemen and the net down below that you get saved. Now some of you know the facts about jesus but you haven’t entrusted yourself to him and you need to do that now. But then it’s not the amount of faith that saves you, let’s say that you jumped off the building because you had faith and now you get about halfway down and you notice the firemen don’t have a net there just holding hands singing kumbaya, what good is your faith then? Will faith save you? If you have placed it in the wrong object namely a group of firemen that can’t save you. It’s not your faith that saves you. You better make sure that you’ve got real firemen and a real net down there first. And in terms of salvation, it’s not your faith that saves you, but a real jesus who really did rise from the dead and the one who said he was God and can forgive your sins and give you eternal life. He’s The one. You must place your faith in faith is really sticking your hand out to jesus and saying I’ve got nothing. Please give me your gift of eternal life. He promises he will right now. Would you pray and place your faith in christ put yourself into jesus hands and trust him to give you eternal life. If so you might say something like this, God, I know I’m a sinner, I know my sins have earned from eternal separation from you. But I believe jesus died in my place when he died on the cross and I accept his death as the full payment for my sin. I accept him right now is my savior. Thank you for saving me and in jesus name, I pray this. Amen Now if you prayed that prayer, the bible says this, whosoever who sort of means, you shall call upon the name of the Lord, how do you call you pray? That’s what you just did. Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Those last three words. What God does, he’ll save you others of you may be saying, I just can’t do that yet. If you delay trusting christ for yourself, Dr Habermas has this final word for you, I’d like you to listen now if you’re sitting there wondering, look, I don’t know, I’m a hindu, I’m a buddhist, I’m an agnostic, I’m an atheist. Sure you can walk away and not believe in jesus. I don’t think you can walk away and say there’s no data. I don’t think you can walk away and say there’s no facts. I really wonder if you want to try to shorten that list of six facts because see we can argue to each one of them independently. But you know, what else is going, paul says that it’s because of the resurrection. That death has no sting. It’s because of the resurrection, that grave, the grave has no victory. Because of the resurrection of jesus. We have a shot at eternal life. But we need to say as paul said, I do to jesus, it’s all and whether we make that commitment. You know, you may believe someone’s right for you. You don’t say I do, You’re not married? You don’t say I do to jesus. What do you have? You still haven’t accepted his teachings, Oh, death. Where is your sting o grave, where is your victory? I leave you with the words of jesus because I live, you shall live also. The promise of the rapture is only for real christian believers, not people that just profess it or have some mental assent toward it, but have really made a commitment of their heart to christ by faith. Uh, when the rapture promises given in first Thessalonians four, it says they’re very clearly the dead in Christ and then he says, and we, which are alive and remain. The real question is if Jesus is coming for his own, is he coming for you? Because for those that are left behind at that point then the trouble of the tribulation period breaks out the wrath of the lamb, the wrath of God and even the wrath of satan, you don’t want to be left behind. You want to know that when jesus comes, he’s coming for you, You want to know that if you were to die and you were to step into eternity, you’re gonna meet him either as your savior or as your judge and you have to decide what that’s going to be. I want to urge you bible prophecy is not written to just stimulate our curiosity about future events. Uh, knowing how to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, it’s really written to prepare us to be ready to meet the Lord when he comes. Uh this should give you an impassioned desire to say, I want to know him personally. If he’s that wise and that brilliant and that ammunition that he knows the end from the beginning, I need to know that I know him. If he’s the one who died for my sins and rose from the dead, if he’s the one that can change my life, I need to know that I’ve committed my life to him, pray by faith in jesus name, commit your soul to him, your eternal destiny to him. He’ll hear your prayer. He’ll answer your prayer, will save your soul. He’ll guarantee your eternal destiny. You can know the scripture says these things are written, that we might know that we believe you can have the assurance that you’re on your way to heaven today because you put your trust in him. You’re not trusting yourself to get there. You’re not trusting what you did to get there. Your good works to get there or your church membership or lack of it to get there. You’re trusting the blood of jesus christ is sufficient to atone for my sins. And I am ready to commit my life to him, pray that right now and ask God to answer your prayer and you will here to believe what God says about you now. You didn’t realize he looks at you and says you’re valuable. He thinks that you’re worthwhile. You’re to consider yourself alive unto God. You’re his new creation here to present the members of your body to the Lord. For him to use. What does that mean presenting our members means time to present my mind to the Lord the way I think my emotions, every imagination what my hands do. Okay. But my eyes see what my mouth speaks. Mhm. But my ears here, all of these and to present to the Lord and say, I’ll only use these as you see fit.

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ABOUT DR. JOHN ANKERBERG Dr. John Ankerberg is an American Christian television host, author, and speaker. Dr. Ankerberg is a graduate of the University of Illinois—Chicago,...

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