Author and co-author of 112 books
Founder of Josh McDowell Ministry, since 1983, has ministered to millions all over the world
Founder of Operation Carelift (1991)/Global Aid Network (GAIN)
Nominated 36 times for the Gold Medallion Award (won on 4 occasions), numerous other award honors
B.A., Wheaton College
M.Div, Talbot Theological
Age: 69; Married nearly 40 years to wife, Dottie; 4 children, 3 grandchildren
Josh McDowell: Proof for the Risen Christ
By Terri Simmons
The 700 Club
A QUESTION OF HISTORY
Best-selling author, Josh McDowell, says that after more than 700 hours of studying Christ’s resurrection, he has come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless, hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings, or it is the most remarkable fact of history.
Here are some facts relevant to the resurrection: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet who claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, was arrested, was judged a political criminal, and was crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women who went to His tomb found the body gone. In subsequent weeks, His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He appeared to them various times before ascending into heaven. From that foundation, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and has continued to exert great influence down through the centuries.
The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts. The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the Gospel, a word that means “good news,” the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.
The New Testament witnesses were fully aware of the background against which the resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth. About 100 pounds of aromatic spices, mixed together to form a gummy substance, were applied to the wrappings of cloth about the body. After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Large stones weighing approximately two tons were normally rolled (by means of levers) against a tomb entrance.
A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to prevent any attempt at vandalizing it. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.
But three days later the tomb was empty. The followers of Jesus said He had risen from the dead. They reported that He appeared to them during a period of 40 days, showing Himself to them by many “infallible proofs.” Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote. So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead.
EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION
According to Josh, the empty tomb of Christ was not only intended to offer the Church a future hope.
“While the resurrection promises us a new and perfect life in the future, God loves us too much to leave us alone to contend with the pain, guilt and loneliness of our present life,” he said.
Josh contends that, though millions worldwide dress-up in Sunday bests and attend Easter services to commemorate the resurrection, so few apply its power for their everyday lives. Skeptics of the resurrection date back to the first century when Thomas, the disciple, placed his hand into Jesus’ side. In 2007, Director James Cameron took a memorable shot at disproving a resurrected Jesus in his controversial TV special “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” A Barna Research report found that 25 percent of adults and 51 percent of churched young people do not believe Jesus came back to physical life after he was crucified.
“Few people seem to realize that the resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone to a worldview that provides the perspective to all of life,” said Josh. “No matter how devastating our struggles, disappointments, and troubles are, they are only temporary. No matter what happens to you, no matter the depth of tragedy or pain you face, no matter how death stalks you and your loved ones, the resurrection promises you a future of immeasurable good.”
Josh says that the promise of the resurrection is this: What happened to Christ can happen for us. Like Him, we will die, but His resurrection is a promise that death is not the end. His resurrection is the prototype for our own. He blazed the trail through death to eternal life, and He tells us that we can follow in his footsteps with His hand leading us the entire way. The resurrection gives us hope for a glorious, pain-free, death-free future. The dreams of paradise, Arcadia, Utopia, El Dorado and Camelot can be realized in all their imagined perfection. Our most outlandish dreams of peace, love and harmony can be fulfilled.
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