Sadly when my weak faith in Jesus Christ and His resurrection was challenged in high school and in my 5 quarters at the University of TN, I had few tools to adequately face the challenge. When I resumed my college education at West Valley Community College in Saratoga, CA and then the next two years at San Jose State the challenges continued and intensified. Thankfully in those years I began to learn where to go for answers, and was wonderfully surprised at how much solid evidence there is for the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and reigns now over all.
In celebration of Resurrection Day coming in a few days, I thought I would share some of the best quotes I came across in those days and in the days since. May these strengthen your faith and perhaps be a tool for helping others grow in their confidence of the overwhelming evidence of the resurrection of Christ.
I. Re: the Gospel Accounts of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection being historically reliable.
“That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels…” Will Durant, famous secular historian in Volume III of his “History of Civilization”.
“I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history…” E.M. Blaklock – Professor & Chair of Classics Auckland University 1947-1968. Died 1983.
“The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts.” Josh McDowell
“We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 A.D. given by the more radical New Testament critics of today.” Wiliam F. Albright – the world’s foremost biblical archaeologist in his day.
“Luke is a historian of the first rank…This author should be placed along with the very greatest historians.” Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke’s credentials as a historian and to refute the reliability of the New Testament.
II. Re: the Claim that the Disciples Stole His Body
“….no doubt…the stone (in front of Jesus’s tomb) was large and consequently very heavy. This fact is asserted or implied by all the writers who refer to it. St. Mark says it as ‘exceeding great’. St. Matthew speaks of it as ‘a great stone.’ Peter says ‘for the stone was great.’ Additional testimony on this point is furnished by the reported anxiety of the women as to how they should move it. If the stone had not been of considerable weight the combined strength of three women should have been capable of moving it. We receive, therefore, a very definite impression that it was at least too weighty for the women to remove unaided. All this has a very definite bearing upon the case…” Frank Morison – Author of “Who Moved the Stone?”
“The stone was used as a protection against both men and beasts….This stone is often mentioned by the Talmudists. It usually required several men to remove it. Since the one rolled to the entrance of Jesus’ tomb was intended to prevent an unexpected theft, it was probably even larger than what would normally have been used!” Professor T.J. Thorburn British Doctor of Divinity and Author
“It is, therefore reasonable to assume that these representatives of the Emperor could have been trusted to perform their duty to guard a tomb quite as strictly and as faithfully as they had executed a crucifixion. They had not the slightest interest in the task to which they were assigned (as to its spiritual or religious significance). Their sole purpose and obligation was rigidly to perform their duty as soldiers of the empire of Rome to which they had dedicated their allegiance. The Roman seal affixed to the stone before Joseph’s tomb was far more sacred to them than all the philosophy of Israel or the sanctity of her ancient creed. Soldiers cold-blooded enough to gamble over a dying victim’s cloak are not the kind of men to be hoodwinked by timid Galileans or to jeopardize their Roman necks by sleeping on their post.” Professor Albert Roper – a prominent Virginia attorney and graduate of the University of Virginia – from his book “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?”
“The disciples secreted themselves in their lodgings and nothing is heard of them until the startling news is brought to them by the Magdalene on the morning of the third day. Thereupon, two and two only, have the temerity to venture forth to learn for themselves if the news brought to them by Mary could be as reported by her or was as they themselves believed, just ‘idle talk.’ The whole demeanor of the disciples is one of abject fright and self-preservation.” Professor Albert Roper
“Here we were, the 12 most powerful men in the United States. All the power of government was at our fingertips, but we could not keep a lie together for three weeks. Nothing less than a witness as awesome as the resurrected Christ could have caused those men to maintain to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive.” Chuck Colson former Harvard lawyer and cabinet member of President Richard Nixon.
III. Re: the Claim that He Didn’t Really Die – the so called “Swoon Theory”
“Clearly, the weight of the historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted…Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.” Dr. William D. Edwards from a 1986 article in Journal of the American Medical Association
IV. Re: the Claim that Those Who Claimed to See the Risen Christ were Hallucinating
“Hallucinations are individual occurrences. By their very nature only one person can see a given hallucination at a time. They certainly aren’t something which can be seen by a group of people. Neither is it possible that one person could somehow induce an hallucination in somebody else. Since an hallucination exists on in this subjective, personal sense, it is obvious that others cannot witness it.” Gary Collins – PhD in psychology, professor for 20 years., author of dozens of books on psychological issues, president of a national association of psychologists.
V. Re: “the Only Weak Minds Would Believe This” Theory
“I know pretty well what evidence is, and I tell you, such evidence as that for the resurrection of has never broken down yet.” John Singleton Copley – one of the great legal minds in British history and three times High Chancellor of England
“The disciples didn’t merely believe in the resurrection; they knew whether it was fact or fiction. Had they known it was a lie, they would never have been willing to sacrifice their lives for it. Nobody willingly dies for something that they know is false. They proclaimed the resurrection to their deaths for one reason alone: they knew it was true. And based on the historical data I had examined, I became convinced they were right.” Lee Strobel – 20th century award winning legal journalist for the Chicago Tribune (Yale Law School graduate).
“To preach Christianity meant (to the Apostles) primarily to preach the Resurrection…The Resurrection is the central theme in every Christian sermon reported in the book of Acts. The Resurrection, and its consequences were the ‘gospel’ or good news which the Christians brought.” C.S. Lewis from his book “Miracles” ch. 16.
“What reason have atheists for saying that we cannot rise again? That what has never been, should be, or that what has been, should be again? Is it more difficult to come into being than to return to it?” Blaise Pascal – French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and philosopher, 1623-1662
Happy Easter!! He is Risen!!