People have been saying a lot of things about the documentary coming out this week on the Discovery Channel claiming that a tomb discovered in Jerusalem belonged to Jesus. There are three main schools of thought on this issue, four if you count those who aren’t really interested. There is the view that the tomb did not belong to Jesus. Included in this category are archeologists examining the scientific view as well as evangelical Christians arguing that to claim to have found Jesus’ bones is heresy. On the other side of the spectrum are those archeologists and filmmakers who are claiming that they have indeed discovered the tomb of Jesus, as well as those who are using this to support the claim that Jesus didn’t raise from the dead. In the middle are those who don’t see the big deal, seeing the claims as fascinating or even a “good thing,” not understanding the enormous significance of such a claim. Well, this “discovery” is a big deal. Today we will look at the biblical evidence against such a claim. Tomorrow we will examine the archeological.
I am not going to go through the DaVinci Code arguments concerning Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Maybe some other time.
There is one fundamentally important passage that discounts the claim that Jesus’ body could be found:
“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born…
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead… And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:1-7, 12-15, 17-20).
These are the main points of this passage:
1. The gospel has been preached as is presented here from the beginning
2. This same gospel was accepted from the beginning
3. This gospel leads to salvation
4. Rejecting this gospel means your faith is useless
5. Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day, all in accordance with what the Scriptures foretold
6. He appeared to hundreds of people including his disciples, proving his resurrection.
7. There is a resurrection of the dead
8. If Christ has not been raised from the dead then our preaching and our faith are both useless
9. Also, if Christ was not raised from the dead then we are lying about the work God has done
10. Again, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then our faith is in vain
11. If Christ didn’t raise from the dead, then those who died believing in him have no hope and are lost
12. If Christ hasn’t been raised from the dead, then we only have some sort of hope in this life, but there is no hope for the next life (salvation)
13. If this is the case then we are to be pitied more than anyone who’s ever lived
Christ had to raise from the dead. Otherwise our faith is completely useless and the gospel has no power to save. If Christ is still dead in the ground, not resurrected, then I cannot be born again and there is not life in the gospel of Christianity.