The top story on ABCNews’ Nightline for February 26, 2007 was the so-called ‘discovery’ of the bones of Jesus and his family by filmmaker James Cameron and his team. This comes on the heels of such ‘discoveries’ as the gospel of Judas (a gnostic document), Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (a fictitious conjecture), and other non-Christian and even anti-Christian documents. The simple truth is this: Jesus is alive and his body is not here.
I first heard about this story when I opened my web browser, which has Fox News as the home page. Their story on the Jesus tomb caught my eye. At first I was going to ignore it until Nightline covered it as their top story. However, I was quite refreshed when I read the comments made by Fox News fans. As of 1:00 AM CST, there were twenty-three responses from fans. Of those twenty-three, only one offered any credibility to the findings. All the others rejected the findings based on faith, probability, history, or other reasons.
I believe that Christ bodily rose from the dead on the third day. I believe this primarily because Scripture says it happened. Furthermore, the Bible records that Mary Magdalene saw him alive (Mark 16:9; John 20:14-18), Mary his mother saw the empty tomb (Matthew 28:1-4), Jesus appeared and spoke to both Mary Magdalene and his mother after they left the tomb (Matthew 28:8-10), the apostles saw him alive (Mark 16:14; John 20:19-29; Rev 1:9-20), Jesus talked to two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-39), Jesus ate food with his apostles after his resurrection (Luke 24:40-43), he appeared to his brother James (1 Cor 15:7), he appeared to Paul (Acts 9:1-19), and he appeared to over 500 people at the same time (1 Cor 15:3-6).
Beyond all these witnesses, there are other reasons to believe he rose bodily.
- The apostles lived and died believing he rose. A person would not willingly be beaten, tortured, and put to death for what he or she knows is a lie.
- The Jewish leadership knew he rose from the dead. They knew where the tomb was and even asked that Roman guards be placed at the tomb. If Jesus was not alive as the apostles others claimed, then the Jewish leadership would have simply produced the body and the issue would have died along with Jesus.
- Over 500 people saw him at the same time. It is impossible for 500 people to have the same exact hallucination. Also, hallucinations are based on, often twisted versions of, one’s own experience or knowledge. The idea of a bodily resurrection like that of Jesus’ had never been experienced by all the people.
- Jesus actually died. Those promoting the idea of Jesus ‘swooning’ and not really being dead forgets that crucifixion was perfected by the Romans. They knew when a man was dead or alive. In fact, they stabbed Jesus in the side while he was on the cross to verify his death. They would not have allowed the body to be removed until they were sure he was dead.
You can rest assured that Jesus is alive! James Cameron, whatever his motives, has not found the body of our Lord and Savior. He may make lots of money from this venture. However, he cannot refute the facts, evidence, and truth. As Simon Greenleaf, author of A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1842), once noted in his book, Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice:
All that Christianity asks of men… is, that they would be consistent with themselves; that they would treat its evidences as they treat the evidence of other things; and that they would try and judge its actors and witnesses, as they deal with their fellow men, when testifying to human affairs and actions, in human tribunals. Let the witnesses [to the Resurrection] be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability and truth.