■ By Jesse Cuaron / Contributed
As Easter approaches, my conviction as a pastor is to prepare a message that would explain the many evidences surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The evidence is so overwhelming that it cannot be denied. It’s recorded within scripture, history, and found in archaeology.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Paul declared that the scriptures tell of this event. During the time Paul wrote, the only scriptures available were the Old Testament scriptures. The Old Testament spoke of the suffering and resurrection of Christ. (Luke 24:25–27; Acts 2:25–31; 26:22, 23).
Jesus, Peter, and Paul quoted or referred to such Old Testament passages regarding the work of Christ as Psalms 16:8–11; 22; Isaiah 53.
Not only is prophetic writing recorded in scripture, but Paul goes on to name eyewitness accounts. “He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Last of all, then he was seen by me also.” (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).
The testimony of eyewitnesses, recorded in the New Testament, was added to support the reality and truth of the resurrection. Although this has been preserved for all to read. Some may believe, but some don’t. They are ignorant to the scriptures, therefore doubt. Let’s look to secular evidence outside of Christianity.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
In Rome, in the year 93, Josephus published his lengthy history of the Jews. In his book, “Jewish Antiquities,” Josephus gives the following account during a period of Roman rule:
“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”
One might ask, who is Josephus? Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish–Roman War, including the siege of Masada.
Lastly, I look to archaeological evidence—not just what’s written of the various sites—but visiting the places that exist today. One example is the site of the crucifixion—the place of the skull, as described in Matthew 27:33 and Luke 23:33. It is ever so evident today!
The empty tomb, it’s still empty! Scholar William Lane Craig said, “It would be unlikely for the story of the empty tomb to explode with no basis since its location was known to all and could have been verified by supporters of the idea and naysayers alike.”
And so, I present to you the risen Christ named Jesus, the one prophets wrote about almost a thousand years before his human existence. The one whose resurrection was witnessed by over five hundred people. The one whose places of birth, death and burial still exist today.
I will leave you with one final thought: today’s date. Today, the international standard is to designate years based on a traditional reckoning of the year Jesus was born—the A.D. and B.C. system. A.D. stands for “anno domini,” which is Latin for “in the year of the Lord.” It refers specifically to the birth of Jesus Christ. B.C. stands for “before Christ.”
May the Lord Jesus reveal himself to you as you examine the evidence. Lord bless!
Pastor Jesse Cuaron is senior pastor at Living Way Christian Fellowship, 144 N. Palm Ave. Hemet. Pastor Jesse gave his life to the Lord on August 23, 1991 at Shining Light Ministries in La Puente. From there the Lord called him to Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, where he attended one year of Bible College and Calvary Chapel Golden Springs Pastoral School serving under Pastor Raul Ries. He attended Calvary Chapel’s School of Ministry in La Mirada for two years, and then studied eschatology for another year. In 2005, the Lord called him to Hemet. Knowing his purpose and reason for the move, he sought the Lord continually until he was called to start a home bible study in Feb. 23, 2009.