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  1. To identity significant events of the resurrection and ascension of Christ.
  2. To acquaint the student with some of the theories which have been put forth concerning the resurrection.
  3. To convey the significance of the resurrection appearances described in the Gospels.

Content of Lecture

I. The Resurrection 16:1-8; John 20:1-31)

A. Saturday passed and Sunday arrived with several women going to the graveyard to finish the job of properly preparing Jesus' body for burial. Their presence was a testimony to their faith and courage. According to Jewish belief, the graveyard was a place of demonic activity. They also faced a group of Roman guards and a large stone at the tomb entrance.

B. Several theorizes have been put forth to explain the resurrection.

1. The Fraud Theory says that the disciples of Jesus simply stole the body of Jesus and told everyone He had come back to life.

2. The Swoon Theory says that Jesus did not die on the cross; He merely passed out and recovered in the tomb.

3. The Wrong Tomb Theory says that the women went to the wrong tomb in the graveyard.

4. The Vision Theory says that Jesus was not raised bodily, but His appearances were a series of visions born of faith.

5. The Telegram Theory says that Jesus was not raised bodily but at times the glorified spirit of Jesus (ghost) appears for the comfort of His disciples.

6. The Legendary Theory says that the resurrection is just a story predicted by Jesus about Himself and believed by His disciples.

 7. The Literal Theory says that the resurrection was predicted in the Old Testament, recorded in the New Testament, and experienced in life.

II. Resurrection Appearances (DQ3)

A. Jesus' resurrection appearances were unique in that He no longer seemed to be bound by physical laws of nature. He seemed to be able to enter locked rooms without the use of windows or doors John 20:14). He bore the marks of the cross, and was not fully recognized by those who knew Him best. Mary did not recognize Him in the garden until she heard Him speak (John 20:11-18). The two men who walked with Him on the road to Emmaeus recognized Him only after they stopped to eat and heard Him pray (Luke 24:13-35) (TN4)

B. Jesus reinstates Peter John 21)

1. Jesus seemed to come and go at will without anyone knowing where He might show up new. (TN5) In John 21, He found that some of His followers had returned to their former vocations. Peter was one of the fishermen, and he swam to shore to see Jesus. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. The word Jesus used here was agape, the love of God that dies to itself. Peter responded by saying yes, but he used the word phileo, a warm, friendly, affectionate kind of love. Jesus asked again and Peter gave a similar response. Finally, Jesus asked if Peter loved Him with a phileo love Peter was hurt by these questions and answered in the affirmative. It must have been awkward and painful for both Peter and Jesus. Peter was still not where Jesus would have liked him to be in the relationship, but He was willing to take Peter from where he was to where He wanted him.

III. The Ascension (Acts 1:1-10)

A. Luke's account in Acts of the final appearance of Jesus described His final instruction to His followers and His ascension into the sky.

B. Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 are considered among Jesus' last words of instruction. His followers were to witness and make disciples beginning in Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria, and then on to the rest of the world.

C. As Jesus left, the disciples heard from two angels that He would return.


l. Read Acts, chapters 1-2
2. Read Hester, pp. 238-249 or Gundry, pp. 209-219


TN4 According to the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, Luke), Jesus was crucified and died on Friday, leaving Him In the grave parts of Friday and Sunday and all of Saturday. It was not unusual for Jews to consider a part of a day as a day.

TN5 It would be a mistake to portray the risen Christ as a phantom or disembodied spirit of some sort. Christ did have a resurrected, glorified body.



DQ1 What do you believe the women were thinking as they approached the grave?

DQ2 What are strengths and weaknesses of these theories?

DQ3 Where were the apostles on Saturday? How were they feeling? Although some of these theories are difficult to believe, how difficult is it to believe that a dead man is now alive?

DQ6 Do you think Jesus was disappointed in His followers?

DQ What evidence supports the resurrection of Jesus? (Note Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict). Why do many people believe the radical change of Jesus' disciples is one of the strongest arguments for Jesus' resurrection?

DQ What explanation can be given for the difficulty in recognizing Jesus? Why did Thomas doubt?

Updated Thursday, February 24, 2000

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