Josh Talks: Resurrection

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About

Josh McDowell shares the agonizing events Jesus suffered during His trials and crucifixion and the incredible details leading up to Jesus’ glorious resurrection and the hope we have as a result.

Transcript

This morning with the time I have, I wanna get to your minds, not your hearts. Christianity starts with the mind, not with the heart, folks. If it gets to your heart, it’s always supposed to get in through your mind, or usually you get off into heresy and poor doctrine, and all. All truths about Christianity starts with the mind. So, I wanna appeal to your mind. If I get to your hearts, I wanna do it the biblical way, through your minds.

Some of you, how do you get this? How do you worship God without an iPad? I don’t know. That’s not a joke. I’m sure God has a whole stack of them.

The background of what I’m sharing here is, in growing up, my father was the town alcoholic. I never knew him sober until I was 20 years old. From six to thirteen years of age, for seven years, every single week I was homosexually raped in my own home, and my parents wouldn’t stop it. So, the time I hit the university, I was bitter, I was hurt, I was wounded, and I was mad. And when I met these Christian professors and students, they just simply ticked me off by the way they lived. And, so I asked them one day, this one young lady, boy was she cute. I used to think all Christians were ugly. And – well, I did! But, now, my sound is on finally here, I think. But they challenged me to intellectually examine it, and I thought that was the biggest joke ever.

Because I thought Christians had two brains. One was lost, and the other was out looking for it. I figured if a Christian had a brain, it would die of loneliness. And so they made me so mad. Everything they did was appropriate – I was the problem. And so I set out to write my first book, that huge thing out there that’s just now been totally revised, 70% new, called Evidence That Demands a Verdict, I set out to write that against the Christian faith, and I ended up becoming a Christian. And now I’ve written 148 books on it, all documented. And that’s the context for my examining the resurrection. Because it was one of three or four things I knew, if any one of these three or four things I could refute, my case was won. And I could destroy these faculty and students at the university.

And so, I set out, one, left the university. I had made a lot of money, started a painting company. As a student, travelled all through Europe gathering the evidence to refute the resurrection, and ended up becoming a believer. And I wanna share with you some of the results that I found.

Now, the background of this is – normally I have two sessions. The first one I do on the scriptures. Can you trust them? Are they historically reliable and accurate? Then I talk about the resurrection. This morning, I have one session. So, it’s going to be on the resurrection, but I’ve concluded, and I’ve documented and debated it all over the world that – this thing’s alive – that there’s ten times the evidence for the historical reliability of the New Testament than any ten pieces of classical literature combined.

But on the resurrection, it is either one of the greatest facts of history or one of the greatest fables ever foisted upon the minds of men and women. It’s one of the two – there’s no in-between. In First Corinthians 15, Paul lays it out. And I’ve done 250-some debates in universities, and I would always lay this out. You wanna refute me? You wanna refute Christianity, all you have to do, it’s very simple. Just refute the resurrection. It’s all gone. It’s all gone. It was always easy to say that, because you know they couldn’t do it. But I say, it’s all gone. And Paul said this: “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised,” listen to this, “then our preaching is vain, and your faith also is vain.”

There are not many things in life that comes down to one thing for its proof. But Christianity, it’s the resurrection. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised, if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless. And you are still in your sins. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed. And after three days, rise again. Man, he placed everything on it. Everything on it. And what you can gather just from this, in my book Evidence, I have 30-some things you can learn about Christ totally apart from the Bible. All documented in history.

But here, it was Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Jewish prophet. He claimed to be the Christ prophesied in Jewish scripture. He was crucified, three days after his burial, the women found the body gone from that grave. His disciples claimed that God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus appeared to them several times before ascending to heaven. Now, that’s what, just some of the things you can know from this passage. Now, I’m not saying it’s true, but they believed.

The resurrection I learned is a time-space dimension event. Historically. You say, “What do you mean?” Well, it’s not some spiritual event that happened in another world, or anything else. It happened in time-space dimension history. If there’d been a clock then, it would have been ticking off. If you’d rubbed your hand over the cross, you all could have gotten a splinter. It was history as we know it today that Christ proclaimed.

When I was entering into law school, one of my great heroes was Dr. Simon Greenleaf, the great professor at Harvard University, law professor, who wrote the three great volumes on the laws of legal evidence. And he was always putting down the Christians in his classes. I love Christians like this. And one day, a couple of them challenged him on it. And they challenged him in front of the entire class to take his three volumes on the laws of legal evidence, which was used in all the course for evaluating evidence and testimony, and to apply those same principles to the resurrection of Christ. He kind of laughed at it, but they kind of embarrassed him, so he did it. In the process, he became a believer.

And he went on to write a huge book like this, all documented, and he said, “It’s one of the best-supported events in history, according to the laws of legal evidence administered in the courts of justice.” And he became a true follower of Christ.

There was a journalist by the name of Dr. Frank Morrison. He despised Christianity, in the sense that he thought the life of Christ was one of the most beautiful lives ever lived. But it when it came to the resurrection, it upset him, because he believed somebody came along and tacked on a myth to this beautiful life of Christ and ruined it. And so, he got so upset, he decided to write a book. And he did, but in the process, he became a believer. And it’s called Who Moved the Stone? It’s an incredible book of documented evidence. And in Chapter One, the title is, “The Book that Refused to be Written,” and he became a follower of Christ.

One, he was crucified. Well, what all does that mean? Well, one it means that he was whipped. Uh, how many of you saw The Passion of the Christ? That whipping in there, which I thank God I was able to be a part of describing that in there, is probably the most realistic I’ve ever seen of what took place with a cat o’ nine tails, the whip, it was somebody that was crucified. It had a number of strings of leather, and at the end of each leather was woven into it, tied into it, either sharp jagged bone, or lead with spikes on it. And each one was at a different length. Why?

If they were all the same length, when you hit, they would bunch up. And so they did it where all nine would hit the body at the same time. And when they hit the body, they would pull it down. They would hit the body and then yank it down, all the way to the bottom of their legs. And what it would do sometimes, it just would literally shred the back, to where – there’s historical events – where you could literally see the spinal cord. And because these sharp, jagged would just unravel the skin. And the Jewish law limited to 40 lashes. And from historical records, whenever the Romans did it, to spite the Jews, they’d always do 41, 42, or 43. They would always add to the Jewish law. And that probably definitely happened with Christ.

And many people died through the whipping before they ever were crucified. And then it talks about the ferka – that he carried his own cross-bar. Now, initially, they didn’t carry the cross-bar of the cross, but they would take from the grinding mill, would have this bar that would go across and you would push that bar. They would take that bar and strap it on the back of the person, he would carry that up there. And then, when they had so many people being crucified, they, instead of using that, they would, inside a barn, when you would lock it, they, like they had the two pieces of metal come out, and they’d take this huge beam and drop it in there so people couldn’t open the door. And that was called a ferka. And they would strap that to their body.

And then after that, they started to use the cross-beam of the cross, and they would have to carry that all the way out to the area of crucifixion. Now, Cicero, the Roman philosopher considered death by crucifixion, “The most cruel and hideous of tortures.” Will Durant, the historian, said, “Even the Romans pitied the victims that were crucified.” Alexander Minithau, an M.D, and PhD who studied crucifixion and wrote quite an interesting book on it, said the pain was “Absolutely unbearable.” In fact, it was literally beyond words of description. And so they created a new word to describe it. It’s called “excruciating,” meaning, “out of the cross.”

It was the only way they could explain the tremendous pain that a person went through. And then it says, “His hands and his feet,” meaning right through here, “were pierced on the cross.” For years, everybody said that’s a fallacy, they never used nails in crucifixion. And Dr. Hewitt from Harvard Theological Review said, “The New Testament account of Christ being nailed to the cross was false and misleading.” I thought, this morning when I was studying this, I thought, “I’d like to do a book.” And just start 100 years ago with Harvard professors and others, and just state what they said was untrue and false, false news, and then document what later they discovered about it being true – about biblical accounts and the resurrection. It would make an incredible book. I don’t know how you could put it down, and not say, “Wow. I’m not going to question the scriptures.”

Whether it be the resurrection, or what. And so, for years it was called to be legendary. It was considered legendary. And then, in June 1968, a dead man spoke up. Dr. Tzaferis discovered, an Italian archaeologist, discovered four cave tombs north of Jerusalem, near Mt. Scopus. And one of the family tombs held 15 ossuaries, which are huge jars, containing bones of 35 family members, individuals. And in ossuary number four, where there was buried a man, his bones in there, named Johan van Hagegal. And what they discovered in there, with the spike was even there, a seven-inch spike that had been driven through the ankle bone. And it was preserved because of the moisture that had been entrapped. And that’s preserved a lot of things over history, trapped within the cave.

And maybe like a little stream would run near there and enter the cave, and it preserved the bones instead of crumbling. And they were dated from about the second century B.C. to about 70 A.D. And all of a sudden, they had to say, “Whoops, we were wrong.” People were, right back at the exact time of Christ, people were crucified with spikes. And they were about seven inches long.

In John 19:39-40, it says, “Nicodemus, who had first come to him by night, also came, bringing mixtures of myrrh and aloes, about 100 pounds weight, and he took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings and the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.” Now, he used about, I estimated, about 100 – maybe 17 pounds of the gummy consistency like a glue, and the spices. And people say, critics say, “Oh, come on, Josh, that’s a lot of spices.” No. I said, “Really?” I said, “When Gamaliel, the great Jewish scholar died, they used 86 pounds of spices at his burial. When Herod died, it took 500 servers to carry the spices.” So, 100 pounds wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a great leader.

And the linen-cloth, that they wrapped him in – of course, the Jewish custom, could have no ornamentation or cloth on it. Or a stain on the cloth, why? The cloth had to be sewn together by women in the synagogue. And no knots permitted – you couldn’t, why? Because the cloth was to show the continuity through eternity of the soul of that individual. And no one could be buried in fewer than three separate garments. One, they had, where they started below the arms, wrapped through the feet. Then a separate piece around the arms and up, and then a separate piece around the head, with the burial cloth, all with the spices put in between with the gummy consistency.

Over 100 pounds of spices around, encased, which became literally an encasement around the body. Then, it says, “There was a large stone rolled against the entrance of the tomb.” After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone, weighing approximately two tons, was rolled by means of levers against the entrance. Matthew 27. And Matthew 27 says it was a large stone. In Mark 16, it says it was extremely large. Everyone that approached the tomb made a comment about the size of the stone.

After I lectured at Georgia Tech, a number of years ago, several engineering professors went on a tour of Israel with the university, and they remembered what I had said about the size of the stone. So, they took, while they were over there, the type of stone used at the time of Christ, and calculated the size needed to roll against a 1 ½ to 2-foot doorway. Or, a 4 ½ to 5-foot doorway. And they wrote me a long dissertation. Thank God, on the last page, they put it in simple English. They said, “Dr. McDowell, it would have to weigh between 1 ½ to 2 tons.”

In the Basai manuscripts, one of the texts about the stone, it puts in parentheses, “A stone that cannot be moved by twenty men.” Now, what’s the significance of that? When they put it within the text like that, it shows that it’s not part of the text, but it’s a part of the original thinking of that time of the text. And so, they put it within the text in parentheses. And that’s why the said it was an extremely large stone. Georgia Tech said 1½ to 2 tons, and the comments of that day said that twenty men could not move it.

How did Joseph move the stone? I debated Dr. Ahmed Deedat, who at the time was the number one Muslim apologist in the world, we debated in a tennis stadium in Durban, South Africa. And he was mocking the resurrection, and he said, “Oh, sure. Nicodemus rolled the stone against the entrance,” and he just kinda laughed. And I get up, and I said, “You know, when I arrived here yesterday, I saw these thousands of chairs here at the tennis stadium. The whole center part was all filled with chairs besides the seats going around in like a horseshoe.” And I said, “Well, who brought these in?” They said, “Oh, Deedat did.” I said, “Sir, you brought all these chairs here by yourself?”

“Oh, no, I –”

I said, “That’s right.” Nicodemus could have had 20 people with him, but you wouldn’t say Nicodemus plus twenty people, you would just say, “Nicodemus had the stone rolled against the entrance of the tomb.”

I said, “Besides, almost always, they had a trough in front – usually going to the left, there was a trough, about this wide, with a little ledge on it. They had the stone there, with a wedge on it. And then when they wanted to seal it, they would simply pull the wedge out, the stone rolled down, hit an abutment on the other side, and sealed the tomb.” And in Matthew 27, the disciples went to their own governor and said, “Look, you’d better make this secure.” Because if it’s true, on the third day he’ll rise again, or they’ll steal the body, or whatever, we’re all really going to be in trouble. So, Pilate said, “A guard you’ll have.” And he used the Greek word “custodian” for the Roman guard. It’s a very specialized – like Green Berets. Or our Navy SEALs.

He said, “A custodian you have. Go, make it secure.” And so they went with the guard, take guards and secure it the best you can. And so, when they took the guards, they sealed the tomb and posted the guards to protect it. Now, a custodian was a 16-man security unit. Flavius Figidius Renatus, a Roman historian, right about the time of Christ, wrote a book taking – because the Romans had lessened their discipline of their army – and he wanted to encourage the emperor to instill the methods of training and discipline that had always been true of the Roman army. So, he did a thing called the – I just mentioned it a moment ago, I –oh. The Institute of Roman something. And in there, he described the guard unit and wanted them to go to encourage the same discipline as the time of Christ. And a guardian was 16 men. Each man had three to five weapons on him. They used psychological warfare. On their massive helmets, they had black and purple feathers that went up another two-and-a-half feet. And they would describe how the enemies at a distance made them look like giants – these feathers did.

And they used a little bit of psychological warfare. And each man was trained to protect six square feet of ground. And the sixteen, with four on each side, were supposed to be able to protect, I forget how many square feet, against an entire battalion. And it says, “The guard was placed at the tomb.” Now, normally what they did, they would place whatever they were protecting, they would put four, a unit of four right in front of whatever they were protecting. The other twelve would be asleep or resting with their feet in and their heads out, resting in a semi-circle. And then every four or six hours, they’d wake up another unit and they would go on guard and then the other guard would go to sleep.

And they did that so no matter what happened, any time of the hour or whatever, everybody was fresh. And you had to get through the twelve asleep before you could even get to those that were awake. And it was a 16-man unit, and you say, “Well, I think it was one or two.” I said, “Well, after the resurrection, it says some of the guard remained at the tomb, and the others went in to the High Priest.” He said, “See, they went to the high priest of the Roman guards.” But they went to the high priest because they knew the high priest had great influence on the Roman leader. Because that’s how they got the guard in the first place.

And so they went to the high priest and said, and the high priest said, “Take this money.” They bribed him, if it was a Roman commander, they wouldn’t have bribed him, and said, “You’re dead.” And they bribed him, and said, “If this comes to the, go back and tell them that while you were asleep, they tiptoed in and stole the body. And if it comes to the governor’s ears, it will keep you from being killed or cut off.” And it showed that the chief priest had no influence like that with the Roman guard. And says some of them remained at the tomb, and the others, so, it shows that it’s a good-sized, multi-person unit.

And it says, “They posted the guard and sealed the tomb.” The seal is made up of two pieces of rawhide. Where they had clay packs, and the four outside extremities, and then a large clay pack holding the cross together, the leather, with the Roman insignia embedded in it. Now, the Roman insignia and the seal did not make it more difficult to open it. I mean, you could just grab it with your hands and pull it off. What it did is authenticated that what the guard unit was guarding was there and all. And when they put that seal on it, the guards put their lives on the line. That whatever, like in this case, the body of Christ was there and then they would seal it.

But also the seal carried so much authority. There’s many accounts that when the Romans seal was broken, the FBI, CIA, and National Intelligence agencies of the Roman Empire was thrown into finding that man or men. They never found him. It was crucifixion upside down, and or burned in a fire starting with their own garments. And when that happened trumpets were blown through the land to remind everyone of the discipline of the Roman army, and to fear it.

And then, after the resurrection, the women went to the tomb. And they were saying to each other, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance for us?” Because they knew it was big and they couldn’t do it – there was maybe three, four, five of them. And they used the Greek word for the entrance to the tomb, which was logical. “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they got there, they said, and I’m going to describe this rolling in a minute – they said, “Who rolled away the stone?” and they changed it from the entrance of the tomb to use the word for the entire massive sepulcher.

Now, why would they do that? Because every time somebody approached the tomb afterwards, they made an amazing statement about the position that 1 ½-to-two-ton stone that twenty men could not move. Let me show you what I mean. They used the Greek word kulio which means “to roll.” kulio simply means “to roll.” But in Mark 16, verse 4, they use a preposition, ana, A-N-A, to change the intensity or the direction of a verb, you can add a preposition like you can in English. And when they added the preposition, –ana, kulio can only mean to roll something up a slope. And to have used that word, and that stone was in such a position, they said, “Who ana-kulio the stone? Who rolled the stone up the slope?” Or it was totally meaningless in any other context.

And to roll something up a slope or an incline, and then, in Luke 24, using the word kulio but changed the preposition to A-P-O, apo. Kulio means, apo means away from in the sense of distance. Apo-kulio means to roll one object from another object in a sense of distance. Here is a 1 ½ -to-2-ton stone that 20 men couldn’t carry, and it said, “Who rolled the stone – apo-kulio the stone away at a distance from the tomb?” Without waking up the guard, tip-toing over them, defeating the four of them without waking up the rest of them, and stealing the body?

And then in John 20 when they approached it, John totally changed the verb to airo-kulio A-I-R-O, which means to pick up something and carry it away. And when they got there, they exclaimed, “Woah. Who picked up and carried away the stone?” And with all the different descriptions, at a distance, not just from the entrance but the entire sepulcher, looking like it had been rolled up a hill. It’s interesting that everyone who approached the tomb afterwards made a startling statement about the position of a 1½ -to-2-ton stone.

And then the Roman seal was broken, which meant the Romans would find out who did it and they would be killed. Martyred. And many people say the tomb was empty. It wasn’t. When they ran there, and they leaned over, because the entrance was only about four-and-a-half feet tall, and they leaned over and looked in, and they saw the grave-clothes, the headpiece, everything. But the body of Christ had passed right through them. Or somebody had brought in and rearranged them and everything, as an encasement. So, the tomb wasn’t really empty.

But one thing that struck me, as a non-believer, where was the most difficult place in Israel to convince anyone of the resurrection? Where would it have been? Somebody? Jerusalem. Now, think of this. Where a 10, 12, 15-minute walk could take the most adamant sceptic and convince him that the tomb is empty. They didn’t go off to Caesarea, Philippi, no. They went right back to Jerusalem where they proclaimed Christ raised from the dead. And I can guarantee you, some of the Pharisees and Sadducees and scribes and Roman leaders immediately went to check out the tomb. So, they didn’t go off somewhere else. They went right back to the city of Jerusalem.

Ron Sider, a historian, one of my favorites, he’s a believer. “If Christians and their Jewish opponents both agreed the tomb was empty, then we have little choice but to accept the empty tomb as a fact.” Totally historically apart from the New Testaments, confirms that the Jews, the Romans, and the Christians all said the tomb was empty. So, you go into a court of law with that, you’re on pretty good, solid foundation the tomb was empty. But what convinced the disciples that Christ was raised from the dead was not the empty tomb. In my book, I go into many secular, historical explanations for how the tomb could be empty.

What convinced him, were his appearances. After the resurrection. Notice in Acts 1:3, did you ever catch this there? “To these he also presented himself alive after his sufferings by many convincing proofs.” And the way Luke uses, it means overwhelming evidence, appearing to them over a period of 40 days. Not four days, not four hours, not 40 hours. And our own testimony, they said, “For 40 days he appeared to them with overwhelming evidence that he had been raised.” That’s what convinced him. It wasn’t over four hours, four days. 40 days.

And when I think of people today are so concerned, this is why I did chapter three in that huge Evidence book out there, on the New Testament. Is it historically accurate and trustworthy? Can you hold it up and really say, “Thus saith history,” and have intellectual confidence in it? Today, people are concerned, is it true? But you know, back in the first-century church, they were even more concerned. You say what? Oh yeah. They meant the disciples, and everything else, “How do you know Jesus said that? How do you know he went there? How do you know he did?” You know why they were more concerned than you are? Because they were dying for it. They were being killed for it. And they said, “We want to know.”

How’d they answer it? John 1:1-3. This is how they always answered them: “What our eyes have seen, what our ears have heard, what our hands have handled, we declare unto you.” They were eyewitnesses. They said, “We were there. We saw Jesus do that. We heard him say that.” And they said for 40 days, Christ appeared to them in every situation. With overwhelming evidence that he was truly raised from the dead. And every one of them had gone and checked out the tomb, too.

In Corinthians I, 15, it said he was seen by Peter and then by the twelve. And he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time. Now, I’m jumping ahead here. To 500 of his followers at one time. And Paul said, “The majority of them are alive. Remember? Go check it out.” Boy, he put everything on the line when he said that, “Go check it out.” Appoint a special prosecutor and see if there’s any collusion there. Go check it out. I mean, that’s what they were saying, Paul was. He says he appeared to 500 people one time. Now, take this to a court of law, give each eyewitness testimony six minutes, that’d be 50 hours of eyewitness testimony that Christ was raised from the dead.

To put one many to death, all you need is one testimony, a woman, too. No. You just need one testimony to put someone to death. You’d have 50 hours of eyewitness testimony in a court of law. And they said, Paul – Paul said, “Go check it out.” The majority of them are alive today.

There were two men at Oxford, Dr. Gilbert West and Lord George Littleton, who was a statesman. They were determined to destroy the basis of the Christian faith. They were upset at what these crazy things Christians were believing. So, they decided to write a book together, and they were going to go their own individual way to do their research, come back, compare the research, and then write a book to refute Christianity. Gilbert West was going to demonstrate the fallacy of the resurrection. Lord Littleton was going to prove that Saul of Tarsus never converted to Christianity. I have several chapters on Paul. I think one of the greatest testimonies of the truth of Christianity is the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to the apostle Paul.

It’s incredible, the historical background there, and what happened. So, they went their own way, and when they returned, each one was a little hesitant to share with the other. Why? Both of them had come to the exact opposition conclusion what they set out to prove and had become followers of Christ. And Gilbert West concluded the resurrection was true. And Lord Littleton, “The conversion and apostleship of St. Paul alone, duly considered, was, of itself, a demonstration sufficient to prove Christianity to be a divine revelation.”

Excuse me. And they said, well, they only – I hear this all the time at – it’s so easy to lecture at universities. I’m serious. It’s such shallow thinking, so often. Not all the time, but by an overwhelming majority, you don’t have to be very smart. I’ve lectured in 1,260 universities. Probably nobody else in history has lectured in 300. And so, I’ve got a little background to say it over the years, with 250 debates in universities all over the world. And they’ll say this, every debate on resurrection, they’ll say – you’d think they would do studies of what I say before they go into a debate. And their mentality, “Oh, this dude is a Christian, I don’t need to do my homework.”

When I go into debate, I know how many times that guy sneezed in the last ten years, or that woman. I’m serious. I go back and I study their dissertations. I go back to students in their classes, as far back in years as I could, and ask them, “What’s some of the things he taught about Christianity?” And I did, “Well, what day was that, do you think? And what time was that class?” And I go in and say, “Sir, that’s not true. Do you remember, back in 1979 at such-and-such a class, at 2:30 in the afternoon, you said –” But they come into debates with Christians and don’t even do their homework. They can know by reading my books everything I believe about the resurrection and the documentation for it.

And so, they always say this, “Oh, Josh, okay, he appeared to eyewitnesses, but they were all friendly eyewitnesses.” And Christians say, “Jeez, yeah, that’s right.” Get your head screwed on straight. Look at James. He appeared to James. James was anything – the brother of Jesus – but a friendly eyewitness. He thought his brother was a little kinky. He did. Come on, claimed to be raised from the dead, the Jewish Messiah, and James fought him on it. James was embarrassed. And yet, he ended up coming to Christ when he was confronted by his brother, raised from the dead. And he became the leader of the Jerusalem church. He definitely – and then, Saul of Tarsus. Oh my gosh.

Not often do I get to give my hour lecture just on Saul of Tarsus. Like his father, he possessed Roman citizenship. And Paul said, “Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.” The greatest heretic became the greatest believer. Turned from a murderer to a martyr. From a Christian prosecutor to a Christian missionary almost overnight.

I was lecturing at the University of Houston, I was sitting in the café, cafeteria, and it was full, and I sat down across from this fellow who had a big book out, reading. I said, “What are you studying?” He said, “Roman history.”

I said, “You got a test coming up?”

He said, “Yeah.”

I said, “Oh, is there a chapter in there on Saul of Tarsus?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Could I see it?” This was incredible. If they’d had cellphones back then, I’d have scanned it. But it started out with the life of Saul of Tarsus and the life of Paul, the apostle Paul. And next to the last sentence, it said, “We don’t quite understand what happened in-between.” I said to the fellow, “Could I show you what happened in between?” and led him to Christ with a Roman history book and a chapter on the apostle Paul. It’s historical. It’s evidential. And Paul was the one who got permission to go from city to city to incarcerate the Christians and cast his vote for their deaths.

They feared – remember when Jesus said to the disciples, “Go to the apostle Paul. Place your hands on him and pray over him.” What did they say?

“No way. I know the reputation of that man. I’m not going to go there.”

Jesus said, “Look, you either go there, or you’re unemployed.”

And so, he said he went there. Can you imagine what this guy, knowing, he placed his hands on Paul, he was probably – he was shaking. And probably what removed the scales from Paul’s eyes was he was shaking so much it shook them loose. When he wasn’t anything supernatural. But think of what he went through when he reached out, put his hands on Paul, and prayed for him. The greatest murderer of the Christian faith at that time.

You can say everyone he appeared to became eyewitnesses, but you cannot say historically they were all friendly eyewitnesses when he appeared to them. And then they say, and I gotta wrap it up here, I think. I’m six minutes over. Just briefly, one of the biggest things you hear, “They went to the wrong tomb.” You know how crazy that is? You’d have to say then that Joseph of Arimathea went to the wrong tomb. Then you’d have to say the women went to the wrong tomb, you’d have to say the disciples went to the wrong tomb. You’d have to say the Jews went the wrong tomb, you’d have to say the Romans went to the wrong tomb, and then you’d have to say the angels went to the wrong tomb.

I might be dumb, but I’m not stupid. And then the biggest one is, and this is all documented, right in the psychiatric association, is they say it was hallucinations. Any psychiatrist would look at that and laugh. You know why? And I proved this, and I document it all. Hallucinations have nothing to do with external references. It’s all internal, past experience and everything. This is why no two people ever have the same illusion or hallucination. Because it’s triggered by an internal situation, not an external. That is the hallucination.

Now think of this, to have 500 people hallucinate the same thing would be 500 miracles greater than the very miracle of the resurrection. No, I’m dead serious. I’d put it this way: the shallowness of the critics speaks louder than the voice of the believer. And that blew my mind when I set out to refute it. Well, it ended up it did bring me to Christ. And I was able to confront the fellow that had raped me for seven years, led my father to Christ, who lived for 14 months, died because three-fourths of his stomach had to be removed, and his kidneys were destroyed through 30 years of drinking. But over 100 businessmen and all, accepted Christ in that little town going out about 100 miles. Because of the changed life of the town drunk.

My wife puts it this way:

Because Christ was raised from the dead, he lives, and because he lives, he can enter a man or woman’s life and change them from the inside out. Dottie McDowell Click To Tweet

[End of Audio]

Duration: 42 minutes

 

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