EMPTY: The Resurrection

EMPTY: The Resurrection

Now Is Christ Risen

1 Corinthians 15:12–26

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

What a difference a week makes. 

If there was ever a time in your life of a week that has both its highs and lows we might wonder how it could compare with the week that had seen the Lord Jesus Christ go from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to his murder at Golgotha and his resurrection three days and three nights later

John 12:12–13

12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Is the record of John, the beloved apostle.

Mark 11:9–10

9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

Is the record of John Mark, apostle and company-man of Bananas and Paul for the ministry of the Gospel of Christ.

Matthew 27:22–25

22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Is the record of Matthew a few days later, with similar accounts in Mark, Luke and John.

In a matter of a few days the testimony of Christ went from exaltation to condemnation in the eyes of the people. From Veneration to detestation, from being worshipped and adored to being demonised and abhorred, and all this in but a few days.

What happened?

When you look at the account in its best chronological order as seen in Matthews Gospel, we see that after Jesus presents himself as King on the very day prophesied by Daniel (9:25-27) and in the very manner spoken of some 500 years earlier by Zechariah (9:9), the zeal of Christ for the temple of his father consumed him after his entering into the city and he overthrew the tables of the merchandisers. 

Chapters 22 to 25 of Matthews Gospel was the next day where he condemned the leaders of the people with great clarity against their sin, no sooner had he done so that Matthew 26 records just two days before the Passover, a conspiracy to destroy him; turn there;

Matthew 26:3–4

3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.

Thereby culminating in that which Isaiah wrote of 700 years earlier in Isiah 53,

Isaiah 53:3–6

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrate, as we gather on the first day of every week since that timeis a matter of HISTORY

It is NOT a fable, a nice story or a myth, it is a testimony of HISTORY that has historic affirmations in;

  • Multiple INDEPENDENT SOURCE Testimony OF history
  • Testimony of enemies and sceptics
  • Embarrassing Admission Testimony
  • Eyewitness Testimony
  • Early Documented Source Testimony

The historical claims concerning Christ fulfills ALL these in greater force than the historical accounts of ANY OTHERS ancient account of ANY OTHER ANCIENT EVENT.

Philosophers Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli write, 

“We believe Christ’s resurrection can be proved with at least as much certainty as any universally believed and well-documented event in ancient history.” [1]

Yes, we believed Jesus died for our sins by faith, and we trusted that in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily and that his blood was sufficient to wash away all our sins, BUT IF JESUS DID NOT RISE FROM THE DEAD HISTORICALLY AND IN REALITY, we would yet remain in our sins practically. 

Whatever we believe to be true would still not be true if what we believe is true, is false.

1 Corinthians 15:17

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 

Our faith means NOTHING if it is not rooted in reality!

Three Things that are attested to in this portion of Scripture that must be TRUE.

  1. Jesus is God
  2. Jesus died For Our Sins
  3. Jesus rose from the dead

Jesus resurrection from the dead demonstrates the truth of the former two. 

If Christ be not raised, the divinity of Christ and his death for our sins cannot be affirmed. The HISTORIC resurrection of Christ CONFIRMS IT ALL.


1 Corinthians 15:3–8

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Embodied in 1 Corinthians 15 is a creed concerning Jesus Christ, his death, his burial and ESPECIALLY his RESURRECTION.

It is there in verses 3-8 and it was circulating well before it was here penned by Paul in this letter to the Corinthian Churches. 

It is a creed that testifies as to the reason WHY Christ died, (v3) “for our sins according to the scriptures”. 

It is a creed that testifies of his burial for no more than three days (v4)  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

It is a creed that testifies of a multitude of witnesses that had seen him after he rose from the dead in verses 5 & 6, And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remainunto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

And it is a creed which testifies to the appearance of Christ to two of the most ardent sceptics who did not believe anything concerning Jesus being “The Christ“; 

James the brother of Jesus, and SAUL (Paul), the persecutor of all the “Christ ones” who followed “that way“;

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

What we have here is an historical creedal testimony that had been circulating at least orally well before the writing of any of the epistles of Paul. 

This first letter to the Corinthian Churches written around 57AD and affirmed as a letter from Paul by the earliest Church fathers such as St Clemens Romanus less than forty years later in 96AD.

Not a single critic of the New Testament doubts the authenticity of this letter from Paul;

Theologian Spence Jones, in writing of Pauls letter to the Corinthian Churches, wrote over 100 years ago saying.

‘…not a single writer of the smallest importance, however “advanced” his school of criticism, has ever ventured to question its cogency.[2]

Triumphal Entry

Jesus held people accountable to KNOW who he was BEFORE the day he entered into Jerusalem, presenting himself as KING on the day prophesied exactly 483 years earlier by Daniel (9:25). 

When John the Baptist came to enquire of him;

Matthew 11:2–6

2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

When he the wonderful works he did in certain cities testified of who he is but they refused to believe, Jesus said;

Matthew 11:21–24

21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

When the Pharisees asked for an additional sign from Christ apart from all he had already shown them he said;

Matthew 12:39–42

39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

And finally, when he approached the city in the day and the manner in which all the scriptures of old testify to, and he wept before it;

Luke 19:41–46

41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation

Now, before I go on, what of YOU?

The testimony of Christ has come down through the ages and with it is a ring of truth that your own sin and longing testifies to.

What of YOU?

Your death is imminent, judgement of sin looms over head pressing you down and you walk over the thinnest covering underfoot to keep you from falling headlong into hell at any moment, it is as brittle as chalk and your own weight works against you.


With the testimony of history and billions around you to the truth of Christ, will you not be held accountable to the information you have? 

Perhaps it was through the pointing out of the sinful state of the people with such clarity that caused them to turn against him so quickly.

When Jesus spoke to the leaders of the people the day after he presented himself as the fore coming King, he said in the plainness terms possible to those who stood against him;

Matthew 23:28

28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Matthew 23:32–33

32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Perhaps it was the clarity of this accountability that turned the people against Jesus not a day after they cheered his entering in.


The Doubts

1 Corinthians 15:14–19

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 

From the very beginning, even before the death of Christ, there was a plan to deny his resurrection, and so the apostle here brings the logical conclusion that if Jesus did not rise from the dead then all preaching is pointless, so too your faith, you are yet in your sins with no hope of eternal life and only the ever-present expectation of hell and judgment,

Hebrews 10:27

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

From before his death the plan was afoot to deny his resurrected life.

Turn to;

Matthew 27:62–66

62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65  Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

So here we have the very first claim of doubt presented that would potentially explain two events;

  • the first was the Empty Tomb 
  • and the second his RESURRECTION. 

Two doubts that would persist for over two thousand years.

Lets take a look at its employment after Jesus rose from the dead;

Turn forward to Matt 28,

The women came to the tomb, an earthquake hit while the angel of the Lord rolled back the stone (v2), the keepers of the door feared as they saw the angel and became as dead men (v4) and the angel spoke to the women, commanding them to go tell the disciples of the Lord;

Matthew 28:11–15

11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

And EVEN “UNTO THIS DAY” some 2000 years later is the same tale told.

1 Corinthians 15:14–15

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

So which is TRUE?

Are the historical testimonies true or the doubts true?

So many are the possible doubts of the account, but none testify better to the truth of the account than the historical record we have.

Everything from stealing the body to account for the empty tomb, to group hallucinations of seeing the risen Christ has been proposed to answer the question.

From rejecting that Jesus died on the cross (the famous “Swoon Theory”) to the disciples of Christ LYING for some personal gain in the matter, has been proposed.

The Answers

They Stole the Body

The Empty Tomb

That the Tomb was unexpectedly EMPTY is testified to by this claim that persists to this very day. 

The expectation was that Jesus body was meant to still be where it was laid after he died on the cross. Testifying that “They stole the body” ALSO testifies to the FACT that the tomb was unexpectantly EMPTY.

That this was the natural original conclusion of even the disciples of the Lord seem to have been lost on the doubters, turn to John 20

John 20:1–10

1  The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

Mary, seeing the risen Christ, thought he was the gardener and requested the body from him;

John 20:15

15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

Both the disciples and the discoverers EXPECTED the tomb to contain the body of Jesus.

Disciple Deception

How likely could it be that the disciples of the Lord stole the body from the tomb, and deceived the world that Christ had risen from the dead and willing for themselves to DIE for that which THEY KNOW to be a lie?

In 1972 a scandal toppled the United States President Richard Nixon called Watergate. A conspiracy to cover up the scandal was perpetuated by two of the closest aids to the president, but one of them John Dean, turned ‘States Evidence’ and testified AGAINST Nixon.

The reason why, in his own words, “to save my own skin“.

According to Charles Colsen, who served prison time for his part in the scandal (and who, indecently is the FOUNDER of Prison Ministries Fellowship International, who we thank for his work in the gospel of Christ shared to Tyson), John Dean confessed the “lie” after only two weeks to “save his own skin”.


The real cover-up, the lie, could only be held together for two weeks, and then everybody else jumped ship in order to save themselves. Now, the fact is that all that those around the President were facing was embarrassment, maybe prison. Nobody’s life was at stake. But what about the disciples? Twelve powerless men, peasants really, were facing not just embarrassment or political disgrace, but beatings, stonings, execution. Every single one of the disciples insisted, to their dying breaths, that they had physically seen Jesus bodily raised from the dead. Don’t you think that one of those apostles would have cracked before being beheaded or stoned? That one of them would have made a deal with the authorities? None did.[3]

Beloved, what is the evidence of history is simply that the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, together with over 500 witnesses at one time, testify that Jesus rose from the dead and was seen alive.



Neither James, the brother of Jesus, nor Saul, the persecutor of Christians, believed in Jesus UNTIL they had seen him alive on separate occasions.

James became the Pastor of the Church in Jerusalem and was later killed by sword by the Herod the king in Acts 12:1.

Saul, who became Paul, was the first persecutor of the church of God, believing he was doing God service. Stephen was the first martyr in the scriptures, who died at the feet of Saul. The Damascus road was Saul’s experience, and Saul, who was later named “Paul”, is said to have died by decapitation in Rome for his testimony of “the resurrection from the dead”.

During one of his trials he shouted out;

Acts 24:21

21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.

Why are these two testimonies important?

Because they are the testimonies of Sceptics and enemies, not friends. They are strong because there is no bias that can taint their witness and evidence.

There was one more sceptic however…


That it was a physical Resurrection and not a spiritual manifestation is made evident in several sources both in the gospel accounts AND in the book of Acts.

Thomas doubted both the witness of his friends AND even his own eyes;

John 20:25

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

John 20:26–29

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: thencame Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 

Thomas is credited for bringing the truth of Christ to India where it was said he was speared to death in the city of Mylapore, India in July, 72 AD for his testimony of the risen Christ.

Unlike “martyrs” willing to die not knowing they are deceived, there are no sane people on earth willing to die for what they KNOW to be a lie?

Gary Habermas is by far the greatest and most prolific writer respecting the veracity of the resurrection of Christ.

He has been interviewed countless times defending the truth of it and answering all arguments of atheists unwilling to accept the historical reality of what he and others refer to as the ‘The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is single most assured fact of all history’, the denial of which would cause us to deny ALL OTHER HISTORY that is not seen with our own eyes today.

He has written several books on the subject, has collated over 4,500 writings on the same subject, has his Four Volume Magnum Opus of almost 4,000 pages on the matter pending publication, two of which this year, including.

On the Resurrection: Evidences (released Jan, 2024. 1072 pages)

On the Resurrection: Refutations (release Sept, 2024. 896 pages) 

Gary Habermas Summarised the logic of the argument of coming to the truth of an historical event this way;

Some Testimony Is Stronger Than Others.

 Historians employ a number of common-sense principles in assessing the strength of a testimony. Here are five of those principles: 

1.​Testimony attested to by multiple independent witnesses is usually considered stronger than the testimony of one witness. 

2.​Affirmation by a neutral or hostile source is usually considered stronger than affirmation from a friendly source, since bias in favor of the person or position is absent. 

3.​People usually don’t make up details regarding a story that would tend to weaken their position. 

4.​Eyewitness testimony is usually considered stronger than testimony heard from a second- or thirdhand source. 

5.​An early testimony from very close to the event in question is usually considered more reliable than one received years after the event.[4]

What we have concerning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has all of this and so much more. 



1 Corinthians 15:20-21

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

The question now comes to you!

Will YOU believe the Gospel?

[1] Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1994), 181.

[2]. Spence-Jones, H.D.M. (ed.) (1909) 1 Corinthians. London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company (The Pulpit Commentary), p. v.

[3]. Charles Colson, “An Unholy Hoax? The Authenticity of Christ,” BreakPoint syndicated column 020329, (29 March 2002).

[4]. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (p. 40). Kregel Publications. Kindle Edition.


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