“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).


1) Verdict of the Resurrection (Ray Madrigal)
2) The Importance of the Lord’s Resurrection (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes


Verdict of the Resurrection

Ray Madrigal

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict? In these closing statements, I will briefly summarize the evidence that you are asked to weigh. Since this case is one of history, I shall appeal the Verdict on the Resurrection to the primary historical documents. We shall hear the testimony of competent, reliable witnesses of the highest moral character — individuals who would rather die than lie. The case before us: The people [of God] vs. Mr. Cynic concerns the reality of the resurrection of Jesus and demands your most diligent attention.

Four Core Facts

In formulating this case for the defense (Phil. 1:7,17), I am, above all, overwhelmed. Evidence for the literal resurrection of Jesus is more than sufficient to convince any unbiased jury. I trust that you will examine the evidence in an objective manner. For the sake of clarity as well as brevity, I shall not appeal to the great bulk of evidence which supports the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Rather, I will focus on four undeniable facts. Let me remind the court that these four facts are verified and confirmed by virtually all authorities in the fields of history, archaeology, and biblical research. While these scholars do not agree as to the meaning and significance of these facts, the facts themselves are indisputable. It remains up to you, good men and women of the jury, to reach a verdict.

Just as there are four indisputable facts surrounding the events of the case before us, there are also four theories of interpretation. I will discuss each of these, in turn, as we examine the four facts (see Chart).

Fact One: Jesus’ Death by Crucifixion

Although several prejudiced naturalists have proposed theories suggesting that Jesus did not actually die on the cross (The Swoon Theory), but only faked death, such an hypothesis does not hold up under a careful examination of the evidence. The record indicates that Jesus did, in fact, die from the effects of crucifixion (Jn. 19:31-34). According to David Strauss (A New Life of Jesus, 1879) and a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Society, Jesus probably died of asphyxiation long before his body was pierced by the Roman soldier.

Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear thrust between his right ribs, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge (JAMS, March 21, 1986).

Are we to believe that Jesus merely faked death in light of this evidence? Yet for the sake of argument, let us suppose that Jesus was able to convince his disciples, Pilate, the soldiers and the Jews that he was dead. Could he, in such a weakened condition, untie over one hundred pounds of linen cloth and burial ointments (Jn. 19:39)? Could he roll away the huge stone from this newly cut tomb (Matt. 27:60-61) and escape past the Roman guards? If so, what condition would he be in? Would his battered, tattered, and weary body convince his disciples of a victory over death? Lest you remain undecided, kind jury, let us examine the second fact.

Fact Two: Experiences of the Disciples

It is precisely here at this second point that we have an abundance of testimony. Post-resurrection appearances are documented in no less than twelve separate occasions. Below is a list of these appearances in chronological order:

(1) To Mary Magdalene (Jn. 20:14; Mk. 16:9)
(2) To several women (Matt. 28:9-10)
(3) To Peter (Lk. 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5)
 + (4) To the two on Emmaus Road (Lk. 24:13-33, 43)
(5) To ten apostles [without Thomas] (Lk. 24:36 43; Jn. 20:19-24)
(6) To eleven apostles (Jn. 20:26-29)
+ (7) To seven at Tiberias Lake (Jn. 21:1-23)
 + (8) To eleven at Great Commission (Matt. 28; Mk. 16)
(9) To over 500 brethren (1 Cor. 16:6)
+ (10) To James (1 Cor. 15:7)
 (11) To the apostles at the Ascension (Acts 1:3-12)
(12) To Paul (Acts 9;22;26; 1 Cor. 15:8)

The court should also acknowledge the following summary statements about these appearances (Acts 1:8,22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 5:22). Another naturalistic theory postulates that these witnesses were merely suffering from hallucinations. Yet this, too, goes against modern psychiatric research which concludes that two or more people cannot share a common hallucination. Eight of these twelve post-resurrection appearances were witnesses by more than one party. Also, the psychological preconditions for hallucinations are lacking. Another important point to notice, ladies and gentlemen, is the nature of these appearances. The record will show that these witnesses made use of three empirical faculties in witnessing to these appearances: sight, sound and touch. Both Mary and Thomas touched Jesus’ resuscitated body (see 1 John 1:1-2). Not to mention the fact that Jesus ate and digested food with his disciples on at least four difference occasions (see + above)! Let me ask you once again, have you reached a verdict?

Fact Three: Disciples’ Remarkable Transformation

Perhaps the very first theory proposed attempting to refute the reality of the resurrection is the Conspiracy Theory (or Fraud Theory). This theory maintains that the disciples allegedly stole the body, hid it and subsequently conspired to lie about it. Yet this hypothesis, as all the others, does not stand the test of even the most simple examination. Given the facts of the case, it is highly unlikely that anybody stole the body. In the first place, the Jews made careful precautions to prevent the success of possible body-snatchers (Matt. 27:62-66). Secondly, the Roman guard assigned to secure the tomb also witnessed the events of that resurrection morning (Matt. 28:11-15). Notice that the chief priests of the Jews bribed the soldiers to lie and guaranteed their safety should the Roman governor hear about it (Matt. 28:14).

In light of these historical facts, the fraud theory falls flat! The burden of proof rests upon the prosecution: those who would defame the character of these outstanding witnesses and deny the gospel claim of Jesus’ resurrection. Would liars become martyrs? The New Testament records the subsequent suffering and death of many of these early witnesses (Acts 4:13,19-20; 5:28-32,40-2; 7:57f; 8:1-3; 12:2; Jn. 21:19; Rev. 1:9). No naturalistic theory accounts for the utter and remarkable transformation of these whiny, wimpy disciples into bold proclaimers of the risen Christ. The only reasonable explanation of this fact is that these men and women actually had seen, heard and touched the risen Jesus (see 1 Jn. 1:1-2). Suffering, shame or even death did not matter to them.

Although by now the truth must be most apparent to you, let us proceed to the fourth fact (which readily expands on the third fact).

Fact Four: The Experience of Paul

You have been most kind to listen to three lines of evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I will but mention one more. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus began with a well-documented appearance of Jesus on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus (Acts 9, 22 and 26). Here we find a most zealous Pharisee engaging in an expanding persecution of the Christian movement when he, too, encounters Christ. Paul first relates this experience to the Galatians (1:16-18) and later testifies to the Corinthians (15:3-8).

You will remember, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that Paul suffered terrible things for this cause (2 Cor. 11, cf. extra-biblical sources report that he was beheaded for his testimony; see also 2 Tim. 4:6-8). Why did this man change? What motivated this remarkable transformation of life? Only a literal resurrection can account for the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to the Apostle Paul.


While we could explore the evidences of the Christian community [the church], the monuments of the Lord’s day, the Lord’s supper, baptism and the Bible itself, we have focused our attention on only four facts. These four historical realities are conclusive evidences for the resurrection. Nevertheless, the decision is yours, ladies and gentlemen. Have you reached a verdict?

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXV: 7, pp. 208-209, April 4, 1991 



The Importance of the Lord’s Resurrection

Tom Edwards

For the video sermon with the above title, just click on this following link:



News & Notes

The Oakgrove church of Christ in Jennings, Florida, is having a gospel meeting this week (April 17-22) with Emerson Brown as the guest speaker.  The church meets at 2922 NW 76th Terrace, Jennings, FL 32053.

Folks to remember in prayer, due to their health:

Rex Hadley, June Peters, Alex Cornelius, Rick Cuthbertson, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Donald Sears, Ronnie Davis, Myrna Jordan, Jim Lively, Doyle Rittenhouse, Tammy Griffey, Deborah Medlock, Lois Fletcher, Vivian Foster, Danielle Bartlett, Kayla Williams, and Kim Rowell.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).

2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith
 in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

Tebeau Street
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m.
Bible Classand 10 a.m. Worship Service.  We also have a Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

We will resume our Wednesday class on June 1, 2022 at 7 p.m.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm (This is a link to the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)