King's Business - 1940-03

TH E K I N G ’ S B U S I N E S S

March, 1940

The Fact of the Resurrection By W. GRAHAM SCROGGIE London, England

not dispute anything you have said so far, that the literary sourçe of infor­ mation is the New Testament; but then I do not beliève the New Testa­ ment.” I would remind such a one that he must be prepared to defend his unbelief; that this is as obliga­ tory upon hfin as it is that we should defend our faith. Objections of Doubters There are many who deny Christ’s resurrection because, like the people at Corinth, they deny the possibility of resurrection at all. If resurrection is impossible, then, o f course, Christ is not risen; but you remember that Paul said, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible . . . , that God should raise the dead?” Yet the history of the criti­ cisms of the resurrection narratives is one long record of attempts to impugn their trustworthiness, and to form hy­ potheses which are purely naturalistic, and so to explain the resurrection away. It used to be said that Jesus Christ did not die, that He only swooned. Will you recall what He had suffered in the hall where the soldiers made the flag­ ellation, the buffeting, the bruising, the crown of thorns, till He was broken and bleeding from head to foot, so overcome with suffering, so shockingly malhan- dled, that He fell beneath the cross on the way to Calvary? If He only swooned, and did not die, what do you think would have been His physical condition three days later? Have you ever thought of that? Would there not still have been manifested the marks of His suffering? Bqt many who do not deny tie death and burial of the Lord Jesus, try to explain away the empty tomb. They treat the narratives as unhistorical; they say the empty grave was never seen by any of the disciples. There are others who say that the disciples went to the wrong tomb; that they mistook the way and saw an empty tomb, but not the tomb in which there had been placed the body of Jesus. There are others Who say that the body of Jesus had been secretly removed from the tomb, either by the disciples, or by Pilate, or by members of the Sanhedrin, or by Joseph of Arimathea. All these attempted explanations are highly unlikely. This denial of the res- urrection is only a part of the general disbelief in the supernatural. The ra­

tionalist does not believe in the super­ natural at all. The resurrection is not denied because the evidence is regarded as insufficient, but the evidence is re­ jected and repudiated because the res­ urrection itself is denied. The unbe­ liever reasons like this: The resurrec­ tion is impossible; therefore the New Testament is not true. The true scien­ tific method, whether we are treating of this, or of any other subject, is to examine the facts, and then to form a theory; not to form a theory first, and then try to crush the facts into a theory. Evidences that Lead to Faith Can we really believe that Jesus rose from the dead? That He came forth alive from out of the tomb ? Let us see. Our Lord, being what He was, necessi­ tated the resurrection. We must believe in His resurrection if we believe in Christ at all. In the light of His life and character, it is impossible to believe that He did not rise. We could not imagine Christ as remaining in the grave and seeing corruption. With His resurrection everything else that has been revealed concerning Him assumes its due proportion and order and har­ mony. Think of His miraculous and mysterious beginning; think of His per­ fect life. No one can point to Christ and say that He was wrong in His thinking or doing. You say, “I do not believe the record.” It was impossible for the disciples to have created such a character as Christ. In the fiction of the world we have countless charac­ ters who have been created by their authors, but there is not a character like Jesus Christ in the whole range of fiction. If the resurrection is not a fact, then all is mystery. We have a lock without a key; we have a labyrinth without a clue; we have a beginning without a corresponding end. All is mystery if the resurrection of Christ be not a fact. Our Lord, being what He was, neces­ sitated it. Again, the work which Christ came to do required it. The resurrection was, and is, an essential and integral part of His redeeming work. He said, “I lay down my life, that I may take it again” (John 10:17, R.V.). He never thought of His death apart from His resurrec­ tion. You remember He spoke about the exodus which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem. An “exodus” is something

“He rose again the third day” (1 Cor. 15:4). F EW of those who commonly com­ pany with Christians would be disposed to question the fact of the resurrection. But supposing you were to be examined in the shop, at the factory, in the hospital; in the club, or anywhere else, by some one who pbured scorn upon the idea of the res-- urrection, and who regarded it as a foolish thing to believe the record of that event, would you be able to stand your ground and to defend your faith? Remember, in these critical days it is not sufficient that we be satisfied in oUr own minds as to the truth of that Which we believe; we must be prepared to vindicate, and to justify, and to de­ fend our faith; we must be prepared, not merely to stand our own ground, but also to carry the battle into the enemy’s territory. The Sources of Information “He rose again the third day.” The first question we ask is, How do we know this? What are our sources of information? Well, the literary sources of information are the Epistles of the Apostles, and the records of the Evan­ gelists—in other words, the New Testa­ ment. Now what do these records claim ? The New Testament declares three things about JesUs: It says that Jesus died on a cross; that He was buried in the tomb of Joseph; and that three days after His burial that tomb was empty because Jesus had risen from the dead. I can imagine some one saying, “I do

*Pastor, Metropolitan Tabernaclf .

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