This Easter weekend our thoughts again focus on the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. And we’re sure to encounter skeptics who don’t even believe it’s an historical fact. So during this week’s broadcast, John Stonestreet and author Mike Licona, author of “The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach," discuss why you can defend the central tenet of our faith with complete confidence.
Ultimately, accepting Christ and His resurrection requires faith. But is it historically reasonable to believe that Jesus rose from the grave? Dr. Mike Licona, an Associate Professor of theology at Houston Baptist University and coauthor with Gary Habermas of “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,” joins us to answer that question.
Every Easter it seems, the frenzy of stories purported to undermine the historicity of the four gospels and their accounts of Jesus’ life overwhelm readers. It’s one of the media’s favorite subjects. Dr. Licona attributes this annual fixation partly to politics, and partly to good business.
The resurrection establishes Christ’s authority, and especially His authority to make demands of our lives. A risen Jesus isn’t just associated in the United States with the “religious right,” but with unpopular moral positions in general. Many with political commitments to abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and other progressive stock issues, says Licona, eagerly embrace doubts about the reality of a risen Christ.
Dr. Mike Licona
Then there’s the bottom line. “Jesus sells magazines,” says Licona. And no story sells faster than one claiming to rewrite the faith of billions. The recent revival of interest in the so-called “gospel of Jesus’ wife,” a business card-sized fragment of papyrus whose authenticity divides scholars, is a prime example.
But media sensationalism aside, there really are excellent reasons to believe in Jesus’ resurrection—reasons accessible to professional, secular historiography. Dr. Licona takes listeners on a whirlwind tour of some of the most compelling reasons, showing that a few facts almost universally accepted by historians are best explained by what he calls “the resurrection hypothesis.” He also explains why the most popular alternative theories fail miserably at accounting for what we know happened that first Easter morning.
We know Jesus died. We know that all of His Disciples believed they saw Him alive afterward, and we know that a major persecutor of the faith, Saul of Tarsus, had an experience in which he claimed to have encountered the risen Christ—an experience which changed his life and the life of the civilized world.
“When you compare all the major hypotheses,” says Licona, “the resurrection hypothesis explains that data, using the criteria I mentioned, better than any of the competing hypotheses. And it doesn’t just edge ahead of them. It beats them by a significant margin. So after 2,000 years and all that we’ve learned in modern medicine and science, the fact that the resurrection hypothesis is still superior to all the competing hypotheses by such a significant margin gives us confidence that it’s what really happened.”
We hope you enjoy this edition of “BreakPoint This Week,” that you’ll visit Dr. Licona’s website, www.RisenJesus.com, for more powerful apologetics, and pick up a copy of his compelling book from the Colson Center Online Store.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
"BreakPoint This Week" is hosted by John Stonestreet, co-host of the BreakPoint daily radio commentary as well as The Point.
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