Resurrection & Commission

Without the empty tomb, the Christian faith is an empty religion devoid of any hope. Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave and commissioned us clearly to the world. 


The Importance of the Resurrection

  • “In a profound sense, Christianity without the resurrection is not simply Christianity without its final chapter.  It is not Christianity at all.”  -Gerald O’Collins
  • “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain.”  Paul, 1 Cor. 15:14

Clarifying the Accounts

While all four Gospels are unified in the primary fact of Jesus’ resurrection, they differ in some of the secondary details.

Is the reported time visiting the tomb different?

  • “At dawn” (Matt. 28:1)
  • “Just after sunrise” (Mark 16:2)
  • “Very early in the morning” (Luke 24:1)
  • “Still dark” (John 20:1)

Are the numbers and names of the women accurate?

  • “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” (Matt. 28:1)
  • “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome” (Mark 16:1)
  • “They went to the tomb” (Luke 24:1); “Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles” (Luke 24:10)
  • “Mary Magdalene came to the tomb” (John 20:1); “we do not know where they have laid him” (John 20:2)

Accuracy of the Narrative

Did Jesus Really Die?

Some people claim that Jesus never died on the cross; he simply passed out.

  • Muslims believe that God transformed a lookalike to take Jesus’ place on the cross (possibly Judas Iscariot, Simon of Cyrene, or another man).
  • Some propose the “Swoon Theory,” in which Jesus appeared to be dead but was in a comatose state.
  • It is doubtful that Jesus survived hematidrosis, flogging which led to hypovolemic shock, crucifixion leading to cardiac arrest, and a spear stuck in the side indicating pericardial effusion had taken place.
  • It is even more unlikely that if a person had been in this medical condition on Friday, he could have waked from a comatose state, unwrapped his grave clothes, removed a gigantic stone with nail-scarred hands, walked miles with nail-scarred feet, and impressed the masses that he defeated death.
  • In this type of medical condition, he would have caused them to want to nurse him back to health.

Is the Tomb Really Empty?

  • The owner of the tomb: Why would it be recorded that a rich man allowed him to use it?
  • The protection at the tomb: Why would they have to create another narrative?
  • The story from the tomb: Why would you have women tell the story?
  • The church from the tomb: Would all the disciples willingly die for a lie independent of each other?


The Gospels’ Conclusion

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  -Matt. 28:18-20

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  -Mark 16:15-18

“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.  But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”  -Luke 24:46-48 (cf. Acts 1:8)

“He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’  Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; and you know that I love you.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’”  -John 21:17

The “Old” Commission

God’s glory among the nations is not a New Testament idea:

  • When Israel began to focus on the blessing as an end rather than a means, their missionary zeal disappeared.  
  • The same is true of the Church today.