Widely Acknowledged As Facts

By historians, scholars, experts in the field, and those who have spent a lifetime looking into it:

The Jew Jesus, also known as the Christ, went around firstly in Galilee and latterly in Jerusalem, teaching, growing a following, and was believed to be working miracles including healings and exorcisms, around the early 30s AD.

He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea from Ad 26-36, at Golgotha, just outside Jerusalem, on a Friday.

He was buried that evening in a tomb owned by a Jewish council member, Joseph from Arimathea.

Early on the following Sunday morning female followers of Jesus, Mary Magdalene included, found Jesus’ tomb empty.

Despite having every motivation to do so, neither the Romans nor the Jewish council were ever able to produce a body, and say, “This is the Jesus we crucified, he’s still dead”.

Hundreds claimed to see Jesus risen from the dead in the weeks following. Too widely dispersed geographically, and too many in number, to be hallucinating.  Many of these hundreds would go on to be executed for their claim rather than renounce it.

Jesus’ half brother, James, was initially sceptical of the claims but later professed belief, became a leader of the new Jesus movement and was also martyred rather than renounce his faith in the 60s AD.

Saul of Tarsus, a devout Pharisee, was a persecutor of the early Christians, but then later claimed to see the risen Jesus, and devoted his life to spread the news about the resurrected Christ.  He was also killed rather than recant his testimony in the 60s AD.

These early Christians, a small Jewish sect, under conditions of intermittently harsh and violent persecution, grew exponentially from a handful of followers to around 10% of the known world’s population in AD300 with adherents drawn from every strata of society.

The above are historical facts.  Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Christopher Columbus type facts.  Widely acknowledged and accepted.

What I put to you today is that the best explanation for the above facts is that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.

Further to this, he lives today.  He is unique and he is central to humanity’s (and therefore your) purpose and meaning.  This truth can be intellectually accepted and emotionally experienced today.

You have received an invitation.

Happy Easter.

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