In his sermon, Pastor Piper introduces his sermon with five lines of Evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. I would have put the “Empty Tomb” as the no. 1 evidence. The resurrection appearances are part of each of the gospels and Acts and other passages such as 1 Corinthians chapter 15. The early church is another evidence and the first three centuries of persecuation and martyrdom and the writings of such men as Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen, Athanasius, and Augustine.
“Five Lines of Evidence That Jesus Rose From the Dead
- The testimony of the apostle Paul. We have 13 letters from his pen. He was a contemporary of Jesus. He claimed to see the risen Christ. He spoke of others that he knew who saw him alive after his crucifixion, even 500 at once, many of whom were still alive when Paul was writing (1 Corinthians 15:5). This gives to Paul’s writings what is called “historical control,” which means that there is good reason to take seriously what he says because there were so many people around who could easily falsify his claims if they were not true.
- The empty tomb in Jerusalem where Jesus had been buried. This is relevant because the claim that Jesus was raised from the dead spread in a city that was hostile to that claim and would have done anything it could to squelch it if they could. The one thing they could have done was to produce the dead body of Jesus, but they could not (Acts 5:30-33).
- The courage of the disciples of Jesus and their willingness to lay down their lives to preach that Jesus was raised from the dead just weeks after they abandoned him out of fear and thought that they had been badly mistaken about his Messiahship (Luke 24:21). What had changed them from fearful to courageous so suddenly? And do men really risk their lives for what they know to be a fraud?
- The diverse testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, and the writer to the Hebrews. Here you need to get to know these men as witnesses, and see if they are credible. Give them a hearing and see if they do not win you over, and prove themselves to be more worthy of your confidence than the skeptics of our day.
- The ring of truth in the biblical vision of the world. Does not this whole story of God and creation and sin and Christ and salvation help make more sense out of more things in this world from beginning to end than any other vision of reality?
Five lines of evidence. I hope that you will pursue them. Your eternal life hangs on what you conclude from these.”
John Piper, from the sermon: “When I am raised up, I go before you in Galilee”