DID JESUS RETURN FROM THE DEAD?
by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
No man or woman has left our earth and said they would come back when they wanted to and actually come back and persuaded everybody that they were alive and then have disappeared off the earth forever. No one has ever done that, but do you realize that the resurrection of Jesus is an incident that is better substantiated and better reinforced with evidence than any other incident in our history? I mean I am talking about history beyond 100-200 years.
There is no incident in our history that is more variously and more substantially narrated and reported than the resurrection of Jesus. And no event has been subjected to so much questioning -- legal questioning, historical questioning, theological questioning, and geological questioning. No event has so often been questioned, criticized and examined carefully and has come out so absolutely untouched by it, as the resurrection of Jesus.
You know the arguments and I will not draw them out but there isn't one that stands. If Jesus only swooned,(and hadn't really died) then how, bleeding from the wound in his side and from the wounds in his hands, could he have come back into consciousness so strongly that he could appear on 13 different occasions at 13 different places, sometimes within an hour of each other even though they were miles and miles apart? How could he have done that if he had only swooned? He could never have done it.
If the disciples stole his body, why then did they die for a lie? If the Romans stole the body, why didn't they parade it through Jerusalem and say, "This man was a fraud"? Even if you examine those twin facts of the resurrection appearances and the empty tomb, there is just no way in which you can reject their historicity and their authenticity.
You tackle the resurrection appearances with the whole theory of hallucinations and it falls apart, the whole theory of hallucinations falls apart. A hallucination demands that people experience it personally themselves; it's a subjective experience. He appeared to more than 500 people at one time. A hallucination has to be experienced by a people who want to experience it, who are hoping it will happen. These people said, "Listen, we have given up. We thought that he would have been the one to redeem Israel but he is dead now and gone." They hid themselves in the upper room. They were so convinced that he was finished with.
None of the laws of hallucinations fit the appearances of Jesus. Loved ones, you're bound by the history in this book and by almost every critical theory you can produce. For its interpretation, you're bound to admit finally that this Jesus must have been the son of our Creator. He must have been the son of the one who made your face and your hands. That's the only conclusion you can come to, if you allow your mind to work logically and to examine the evidence in detail.