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April 5: Another Look at the Proofs of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Desent from the Cross J J Tissot Hartford WIVision Viewpoint again looks at the evidence surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and how there is great evidence for it both before and after the event. Vision Viewpoint is a Christian radio program broadcasting out of Hartford, WI, as a ministry of Reformation Hope Church.

We have presented over the past week or so the theme that Christ’s resurrection from the dead is one of the best proven of all events in the ancient world by the facts that surround it. We have not just the New Testament affirming this, although that is self-verifying. We have many who have studied the resurrection of Christ and the evidence surrounding it, and who have presented at least “snapshots” concerning some of that evidence – evidence that, if presented to a court of law, would hold up with great credibility, according to Dr. Frank Morrison, one of the great jurists of the twentieth century here in the United States. Affirming the same conclusion were Lord Caldecott, Lord Chief Justice of England, and Dr. Simon Greenleaf, professor of law at Harvard University, considered to be the greatest single jurist and expert on the nature of evidence (his three-volume treatise on the law of evidence is still considered one of the greatest works on the subject – perhaps the greatest).

The point, however, is that Christ rose from the dead and showed himself “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). But that was the “back end” of the crucifixion, you might say – appearances that occurred after the crucifixion. What about prior to it?

The fact that His entire ministry, in detail, was foretold in the Old Testament, is great evidence for the “front end.” In looking at Psalm 22, written one thousand years before Christ even came. King David, the psalmist, knowing that the great Son – Christ, the Messiah – would come out of his own loins, down through the ages and the genealogical history that was yet to occur, wrote of his great Son’s trauma in crucifixion.

Psalm 22 tells us, in detail, the event of the crucifixion. It even tells of the words spoken in that event: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It speaks of the fact that the Roman officers gambled for Christ’s clothing beneath the cross. It speaks of the fact that they pierced His hands and His feet; it speaks of their mocking, “They gaped upon me with their mouths as a ravening and roaring lion,” we’re told in verse thirteen. It speaks of the fact that He was thoroughly dehydrated: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels,” says verse fourteen. When nailed to the cross, Christ’s bones were jarred – a terrible ordeal, crucifixion designed as a torment in every possible aspect, including when they actually place one upon a cross, beyond the obvious torment of the nailing of the hands and feet.

These details are foretold by David as he writes of his great Son yet to come. “They pierce my hands and my feet, they part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture.” He speaks of His heart being like wax; the Hebrew language here, in which it is written, compares it to the melting of wax. We know from Scripture that a Roman officer pierced Christ’s side with a spear in the fifth interspace of the ribs and up into the heart, and out came, we’re told, blood and water. This not some sort of figure of speech: the watery fluid came from the pericardial sac surrounding Christ’s heart, according to Dr. C. Truman Davis and others who have studied the crucifixion from a medical standpoint. It was that build-up of fluid due to the trauma of the beatings that preceded the cross, and the ordeal of the cross itself, that crushed Christ’s heart, like wax being crushed. The Roman spear demonstrated that Christ was dead, and was post mortem evidence that He had died of mass heart failure when He allowed His body to die.

We see there is much in the way of evidence in the ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ. But the Old Testament, in Psalm 22 and in many other places (over three hundred, in fact), testifies of these kinds of details. This constitutes yet again the testimony of the “many infallible proofs” surrounding the fact that Jesus Christ is, indeed, Lord.
Vision Viewpoint will continue this week in its series dealing with the evidence of Christ’s resurrection. It is a Christian radio program and ministry of Reformation Hope Church in Hartford, WI.

 

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