The Evidence For The Resurrection – A Judge’s View -- By: Ken Handley
The Evidence For The Resurrection – A Judge’s View
Judge, New South Wales Court of Appeal (1990-2007)
The author was a Judge of the New South Wales Court of Appeal from 1990 until his retirement due to age in 2007. He continues to serve on the Court in an acting capacity. He was Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney from 1980 to 2003.
I have been reading and thinking about this topic for about 30 years. I don’t pretend that my research made me a believer because I was one already. However I have tried to use my training to assemble information that might convince a non-believer with an open mind. Chapter 20 of John’s Gospel records what happened on the first Easter Sunday when Peter and John went to the tomb and found it empty. It says that John went in and “He saw and believed”. He does not tell us what made him believe but we can work it out.
Life after death? Many think that is ridiculous! Everyone knows that death is final. But what if someone we knew died and we saw him alive again? What if we talked to him, touched him and saw him eat a meal? It couldn’t happen. But what if it did? What if we saw it with our own eyes? God in human flesh living among us? Many think that is ridiculous! There is no God anyway but if there was how could anyone believe that a human being was God? How could you possibly prove this? Why would God want to be born as a helpless baby, and grow up to die a painful death on a cross as a criminal?
But what if we had met this person? What if we had listened to Him, and witnessed His miracles? What if we had seen Him die and be buried, and then three days later saw Him alive again? Perhaps then we might believe that we had met God in human flesh. We were born in the wrong time and place to be eye witnesses or to listen to those who were but contemporaries recorded what they saw and heard and we can look through their eyes and listen with their ears.
Death was just as final in the first century, and Jesus’ followers, like everyone else in Jerusalem, thought they had seen the last of Him when He died on the Cross. He had told His followers again and again that He would be executed but would come back to life, but despite all His miracles they did not believe Him. The Gospels record the doubts which greeted the first reports that He had been seen alive. The disciples had the same doubts but by the time the last of them –doubting Thomas had met and spoken to the risen Jesus-- they had all become convinced that He was really alive, that He was God, and that God had trumped death. They were not weirdos or given to philosophical speculation but middle class people, practical men, master fishermen and in one case a taxation official.
Jesus was a carpenter who lived most of his li...
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