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This article's title is Anticipated Answers to Disputed Questions.

by Owen D. Olbricht

Gospel preacher Harold Sharpe once said that the Bible is proven to be inspired because it anticipated objections to its inspiration hundreds of years before they are made. This seems to be true concerning arguments against Jesus' resurrection.

Picture of the Holy BibleThe following quotation, “TV Myths About the Death and Resurrection of Jesus (Easter Series Part Three)” appeared online, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 6, 2015 /Christian Newswire/.*

“John lied about Jesus' dying words (Fox and Friends). Jesus was eaten by wild animals at Golgotha (History Channel). Jesus didn't die on the cross — he was drugged by the Romans and revived in the tomb faking a resurrection (Discovery Channel). For decades atheistic cable networks have excelled at spreading Bible myths for viewers/ratings. Why no rebuttal from the church? Most Pastors rarely present scriptural/archaeological defense information to their congregations. That's why weekly church apologetics classes are desperately needed today, stated Rick Dack of Defending the Bible International (www.defendingthebible.com).”

DID JOHN LIE?

Richard Dack dealt with the question, “Did John lie about Jesus' dying words?” He quoted Bill O'Reilly's statement on “Fox and Friends” (September 2013), “that the words of the crucified Jesus are unknown due to the proximity of the mourners.”

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ during sunsetDack then responded, “Crucified victims were typically in close proximity to the general public (a physical and psychological deterrent) not at a distance.”

The Bible seems to have anticipated O'Reilly's statement. The two crucified criminals could have heard what Jesus said (Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; Luke 23:33; John 19:18, NKJV), but they did not live to tell it. However, Matthew and Mark stated that those passing by “blasphemed Him [Jesus]” (Matthew 27:30; Mark 15:29). The chief priests, scribes, and elders also did the same, and some of them were present when Jesus uttered his last words (Matthew 27:46, 47; Mark 15:35; Luke 23:35). The centurion was there as well as the soldiers who were guarding Jesus (Matthew 27:54) and who mocked Jesus (Luke 23:36). Of all who were present, the most likely to report Jesus words, “I thirst” and “It is finished” (John 19:28, 30) was John, who quoted these words in the book of John. He was standing by the cross with Jesus' mother and two women (John 19:25).

Besides the many who were passing by the cross, reliable witnesses were standing beside the cross whose testimony is indisputable.

EATEN BY ANIMALS

Dack mentioned those who believe Jesus was eaten by animals, “John Dominic Crossan and other television documentary interviewees believe this is probable.” He wrote that Jewish historian Josephus stated, “… that the Jews used to take so much care of the burial of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and buried them before the going down of the sun” (Jewish Wars 4).

Replica of the tomb of Jesus in IsraelAll four of the gospels testify that Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus (Matthew 27:57 – 60; Mark 15:43 – 46; Luke 23:50 – 53; John 19:38 – 42). Women followers of Jesus sat opposite the grave and witnessed Jesus' burial (Matthew 27:61; Mark 15:47; Luke 23:55).

This is strong evidence that Jesus' body was entombed and not disposed of by the Romans to be eaten by animals.

WAS DRUGGED

Dack correctly addressed the argument that Jesus was drugged, by writing: “The Mandrake (plant) ‘drug’ was used as a surgical anesthetic in the first century not to fake death yet could be fatal — the right consistency was necessary, yet I can't imagine Roman crucifiers working at the foot of the cross with a Mattel Kiddie Chemistry Set checking levels of toxicity,”

Closeup of a representation of the crown of thorns and a nailThe Roman soldiers were adversaries, not friends of Jesus, so they were very unlikely involved in such a conspiracy. After the trial, when Pilate released Jesus, “… the soldiers of the governor … gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. … twisted a crown of thorns … put it on His head … mocked Him, … spat on Him, … and struck Him on the head” (Matthew 27:27 – 30). While Jesus was on the cross, “The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, ‘If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.’ ‚ÄČ” (Luke 23:36, 37).

Not only did they mock Jesus, “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (John 19:34). Even if Jesus had swooned or was drugged, He would not have survived the loss of blood from the wound made by the soldier.

The soldiers had no reason to conspire with Jesus to fake His death by use of a sedative drug. The blood and water from Jesus' side was proof that Jesus was dead.

CONCLUSION

All the arguments that have been made to deny Jesus' resurrection are answered in the Bible, not only the ones made above, but others which contend that the women hallucinated or went to the wrong tomb. If so, the Jews could have gone to the right tomb and produced the body of Jesus, thus proving the report that Jesus was resurrected was false.

What is amazing is that the answers to the objections to Jesus' resurrection were written in the Bible years before they were made.

Picture credits:
© duallogic. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
© MaxFX. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
© lindasj2. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
© nito. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.