Questioning the Resurrection of Jesus

Pastor Chris,

This time of year is called Easter. I understand that Christians celebrate Easter as a remembrance of Jesus rising from the dead after having been put to death by crucifixion. Is this real? Is this true? It seems impossible to me.

~ A Questioner


Dear Questioner,

You are not alone in your questions. Frank Morison was such a man. He was not a church going man. He was a skeptic, a well-educated British attorney, a man interested in logic and facts. Frank’s thinking had been shaped by intellectuals who denied the possibility of miracles. He was influenced by Oxford Professor Matthew Arnold, biologist Thomas Huxley, and the German critics of his day. By-the-way, Huxley was a disciple of Charles Darwin.

Morison decided to prove the resurrection of Jesus did not happen. His plan was to use archeology, the documents of history, and the Bible to make his case. So he applied his prodigious talents to the task.

After considerable research, Frank Morison ended up writing a book titled Who Moved the Stone? That book turned out to be a defense of the resurrection of Christ. In the preface of his book Morison wrote about the intellectual struggles he went through:

“This study is in some ways so unusual and provocative that the writer thinks it desirable to state here very briefly how the book came to take its present form.

In one sense it could have taken no other, for it is essentially a confession, the inner story of a man who originally set out to write one kind of book and found himself compelled by the sheer force of circumstances to write quite another.

It is not that the facts themselves altered, for they are recorded imperishably in the monuments and in the pages of human history. But the interpretation to be put upon the facts underwent a change. Somehow the perspective shifted—not suddenly, as in a flash of insight or inspiration, but slowly, almost imperceptibly, by the very stubbornness of the facts them-selves.

The book as it was originally planned was left high and dry… The writer discovered one day that not only could he no longer write the book as he had once conceived it, but that he would not if he could.” – Frank Morison, Who Moved the Stone? (London, Faber and Faber Ltd., 1944).

If you find yourself like Frank Morison, skeptical of the miracles of the Bible, not sure what to believe, then I urge you to consider the facts of Easter. First is the fact of Jesus’ death. This is important because there are some people who say that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross. Some say that He simply passed out and went into a coma. Then, when He was placed in the tomb, that cool, dark place revived Him. What is the evidence showing that Jesus literally died?

For one thing, the executioner and his death squad said so. Look at Matt. 27:54, “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” Notice the word “was.” It is past tense; a completed fact. These men had seen death many times. When they said that a man was dead, it was so.

Then we know from the Gospel of John that the Roman executioners broke the legs of the other two men that were crucified that day to speed up their deaths. “But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (John 19:33-34). There was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and blood from the heart itself. Some believe that if Jesus wasn’t killed by the crucifixion, then He was killed by the spear when it went through the rib cage into His heart.

Also, the body of Jesus was carefully entombed. Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Matt. 27:59-60 tells us that, “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” Jewish burial customs were such that the body would be washed and straightened. It would then be wrapped in strips of cloth (called swaddlings) and spices of a gummy consistency would be placed in the folds. The arms would be crossed on chest like a mummy. The spices served as a preservative and as glue to hold the strips of linen together. A square piece of cloth was wrapped around the head and tied under the chin to keep the lower jaw from sagging. If His friends had found one sign of life they would not have buried Him.

Second, the body of Jesus was buried. Tombs in those days were carved out of limestone on the side of a hill. The circular stone that was rolled in front of the tomb to keep out grave robbers and wild animals weighed 1 ton or more. The grave was also sealed. Matt. 27:62-66, “The next day…the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I will rise again.” So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.’ ‘Take a guard,’ Pilate answered. ‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”

The tomb was sealed by stretching a cord across the stone. Both ends of the cord were anchored with clay that was imprinted by the signet ring of Rome. The Jews wanted Jesus’ body to stay buried. A Roman guard unit was 4 to 16 fighting men motivated and highly trained. If one of them fell asleep the others would set his clothes on fire. So, friend or enemy could not come and take Jesus’ body out of that grave.

And then, the tomb was empty. Arnold Toynbee said, “You find the body of that Jew and Christianity crumbles.”

Several explanations for the empty tomb have been offered:

  • Jesus passed out and revived. The problem with this is the evidence of certain death through execution. Besides, how could a man who had gone through scourging and crucifixion move a stone that weighed at least a ton?
  • Kidnappers took the body. There are two problems with this. For one thing, Jesus’ enemies didn’t want this to happen. Later, the silence of the critic was as eloquent as the testimony of the disciples. Also, Jesus’ friends could not have taken the body. How would they have gotten past the guards? Later, why did they die for a lie?

The story that Jesus’ disciples came and stole His body was told, however. Look at Matt. 28:11-15, “…some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”

  • Gas theory. Proponents of the gas theory say that the body disintegrated through normal processes and evaporated into gases. An unknown person wisely commented, “Decay would have begun in three days’ time but would certainly not have reached the stage of complete chemical dissolution. To assume that the body of Jesus evaporated into gases within three days after death is to project a miracle as great as the resurrection itself.”
  • Resurrection. The Bible records several occasions when Jesus met with His followers after He had been raised from the dead.

• Women – Matt. 28:8-10
• Peter – 1 Cor. 15:5; Luke 24:34
• Two on the road to Emmaeus – Luke 24:13-35
• Apostles assembled – Luke 24:36-43
• Thomas – John 20:24-29
• 500 followers – 1 Cor. 15:6
• James – 1 Cor. 15:7
• Paul – 1 Cor. 15:7
• Disciples on the sea shore – John 21:1-14
• Ascension – Acts 1:7-9

Let’s consider one of those resurrection appearances for a moment. One of Jesus’ closest followers was Thomas. He was one of the 12 disciples. Thomas was skeptical of the resurrection. The Gospel of John 20:25-29 records Thomas’ story. Speaking to the other disciples he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The resurrection of Christ really happened. May you find the peace that comes following Jesus as millions have done through the centuries.

~ Pastor Chris

Will I be forgiven if I take my life?

Pastor Chris,

I am a reborn christian I do believe and read to your teachings. I am separated from my husband. I forgave him completely. There is no bitterness in me but, I do have the desire to end my live. I am tired I want to go home. Will I be forgiven if I take my life?

~ Trudie



Your life is sacred to God. He is not through with you, yet; or He would have already taken you home. Your life is important to others, too.

The enemy will work on you to distort your perspective on life and damage your emotions. Do not let satan win this battle. The enemy wants you to think that you are all alone. You’re not. Jesus can handle this and He has friends who will walk with you.

All of us go through times of discouragement and depression. King David did. So did Moses. Elijah, too. And John the Baptist.

Sooo, how do you battle these things?

– Remember that God knows what you are feeling and what you are going through. Tell Him what you are feeling. He is always listening.

– Read Psalm 23 five times a day for an entire month. Read it when you first awake. Again after breakfast. At lunch. At supper. And the last thing you do before going to bed at night. Read it slowly each time and dwell on the words. Ask God to show you His love and His character through this Psalm.

– Get a copy of the book Happiness is a Choice by Minirth and Meier. This book is a terrific resource to help you battle situational depression. If you think you are clinically depressed please find a Christian medical professional for help. Focus on the Family has a network of Christian medical professionals across America that are reliable. To reach them call 1-800-232-6459).

– Walk across the street and find someone you can serve. You cannot help someone else without helping yourself.

– Eat well. Cut back on sugar and foods that easily convert to sugar in your body.

– Exercise.

– Continue to attend worship services at your church and join a small group or Sunday School Class.

– Memorize Philippians 4:8; 13; and Isaiah 40:31.

My heart is with you!

~ Pastor Chris

Is there anything wrong with marrying older than yourself?


Pastor Chris,

Is it wrong to marry a lady who is a year older than me? She is my female best friend ever since I was a teenager. A pastor once said, “Marry your best friend.” She inspires me and motivates and we also are pursuing the same goals.

~ Daniel Okpu


Dear Daniel,

Your pastor has given you some sound advice. From what you describe, God has blessed you with a wonderful lady. The age difference of one year is not an issue.

~ Pastor Chris

Recommended book about marriage: The First Years of Forever by Ed Wheat

Is Gog Russia?


Pastor Chris,

The Bible makes reference to Gog. Is Gog Russia?

~ Dustin


Dear Dustin,

Gog is the leader of Russia. “The reference to ‘Gog and Magog,’ when read in connection with Ezek. 38:1-39:24, seems to indicate clearly that Russia will play a prominent part in that final rebellion against the God of heaven” (Louis Talbot An Exposition of the Book of Revelation, p. 237).
Prophecy scholar, Hal Lindsey, writes these words in Chapter Five of his classic book titled The Late Great Planet Earth: “Gog is the symbolic name of the nation’s leader and Magog is his land. He is also the prince of the ancient people who were called Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (p. 63).
“Ezek. 38-39, which deal with Gog, the prince, and Magog, his land, describe the actual invasion of Palestine by a great northern confederacy, ostensibly headed by Russia” (The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary 1988).

“Described as ‘the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,’ Gog is also depicted as being ‘of the land of Magog’ (Ezek. 38:2-3), a ‘place out of the far north’ of Israel” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary 1986).

~ Pastor Chris

How do I Get Closer to God?


Dear Pastor Chris,

I am  Cameroonian girl. I want to get closer to God but I keep falling back to my old self. I know the Bible says we should not be lukewarm Christians. I have a boyfriend who is not a Christian. I do not know what to do.

~ Christy 


Dear Christy,

Jesus is our life (John 14:6). Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). The enemy of our soul comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). You will not find purpose and fulfillment in any person other than Jesus.

There are several things we can do to get closer to God:

  • Read part of the Bible every day. There is no substitute for this. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Think carefully about the passage you read. After thinking about the passage for a period of time, take a notebook and write down, 1) “What God said to me”; and, 2) “What I said to God”. Write this related to the verses you just read.
  • Pray. Use the passage you just read as a guide for your prayer that day.
  • Sing or play Christian music. This will fill your heart with joy!
  • Seek a Christian woman who is mature in the Lord and ask her to guide you in your Christian walk. Ask her to teach you the scriptures.
  • Form a small group of other Christian ladies your age and study the Bible together.
    Be consistent. Christians need to spend time with other believers. Pray for each other. Share your hearts with each other.
  • Be active in the worship services of your church.
  • Serve God in a ministry through your church.
  • Your boyfriend is dragging you down and hurting your walk with Christ. Let your boyfriend know that you can no longer be with him because your first loyalty is to Jesus.

Do these things with your whole heart and you will grow closer to Jesus.

~ Pastor Chris

Afraid to Speak of My Past


Pastor Chris,

Before I became a Christian, I had an ungodly life, full of lies and fornication. I am afraid to speak of my past. What can I do? Since coming to Jesus, I feel full of life and want to share my experience with others.

~ Mai Solange


Dear Mbi,

It is a wonderful moment when someone comes to Christ! He or she finds forgiveness and eternal life, as well as a purpose for living. I am excited about your desire to tell others about Jesus. Take your Bible and read John 4:1-42. In this story you will find a woman with a similar story to your own. You will see how Jesus changed her life and how she told others about Him. It will encourage you.

~ Pastor Chris

Very Reverend



Is it a bundle of contradiction to say “very Rev” or by using that expression does one mean “rev rev”?

~ Naa Oboshi, Ghana


Dear Naa,

All glory, honor, and praise should go to Jesus Christ and not to His servants (Psalm 30:4; 48:1, 10; Revelation 5:12-13).

Titles should be identifiers and not status symbols.

~ Pastor Chris

I am an Awful Person


Hello Pastor Chris,

I am from Ethiopia. I am practically a loner. I have a non-Christian girlfriend and I have been totally awful to her. I have been lying to my girlfriend and also have cheated on her. We are still together and I have lied to my friends and family. I am a notorious liar. My mind has evil in it. I am kind of addicted to pornography and everything that is related to it. I do not respect my parents. I think about revenge on people. I manipulate people. I only pray to God when I am in serious trouble. Even now I am in trouble and I am considering church solely because I need relief from my troubles. I have an anxiety problem and many more mental illnesses I notice on myself. My sister once gave me 300 (Ethiopian $) to give to church and I took it for myself. I stole money from my parents. I’m stubborn and just an awful person. I have been thinking about going to church but I am scared the pastor there will speak of my wrong doings to the congregation because they record it live on a Christian channel. I know that should not stop me and I do not know what to do next about my relationship and friends. Please pastor I am an awful person and I absolutely have no one to talk to. I need your advice and prayer. Thank you pastor and pray for me. I am a wreck.



Dear Bereket,

There is hope for you! You need to completely turn your life over to Jesus Christ. Give yourself to Jesus without reservation, without hesitation. Jesus is the Savior for the world regardless of what anyone has done, regardless of where they live, and regardless of their ethnicity. Jesus welcomes all people. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever (even you and even me!) believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NAS). Then meet with the pastor of your church so that he can guide you as you grow in Christ. Get a Bible and start reading the Gospel of John. This is your opportunity for a new life!

~ Pastor Chris

Which church is for me?


Pastor Chris,

Thank you for taking time to answer our questions. My name is Prince from Southern Africa. I am a member of a certain Christian church. It is a good Christian church that preaches the true word of God, but somehow there are times we are not taught the word properly, actually many times. There is another church where I have seen that the word of God is taught much more definite and accurately. I have always followed the teachings of that other church. I have gotten to the point where I am inspired more in that other church than in my church. I have been thinking of moving to the other church. Now my question is how to know the right church for me. Do I stay or do I move?



Dear Prince,

I am thankful that you take your church membership seriously. The church is the body of Christ and a vibrant congregation is a powerful witness to a dark world in need of the light of the Good News.

It is obvious to me that you already have your heart with the other church. There is nothing wrong with that. Just make sure that your motive is to glorify Jesus Christ by maturing in the faith so that you may serve Him effectively and well.

A good book that I recommend for you is I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference by Thom S. Rainer. You will find many helpful insights in this book.

Pastor Chris

Responding to God’s Word


Dear Pastor,

I have a question. We live life with a purpose. When we are faced with a difficult situation, how do we know that we are responding according to God’s word?
Thank You in advance.



Dear Hwee,

You are already on the right track. The spirit you show in this question tells me that you are genuinely seeking the Lord. The Bible says that God “…rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). God will bless you with insight into the situations of life so that you will know how to respond in ways that please Him.
First, maintain the spiritual discipline of reading, meditating, and studying the Bible. Take no shortcuts here. The more of God’s Word you have in your heart the more insight God will give you into the situations of life. His Word “…is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). The word “active” (Gk. energes) means powerful, effective. God will never contradict His Word. He will never ask you to do something that is against His Word.
Second, ask God for insight and wisdom as to how to handle the situations of life. This was Solomon’s request of the Lord when he became king of Israel. He prayed, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people…” (2 Chronicles 1:10). God answered Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire…wisdom and knowledge will be given you” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).
Third, commit to submit. Decide ahead of time to submit to God’s will and to carry out His directions. Sometimes God’s will makes no logical sense to the human mind. The battle of Jericho is a case in point (Joshua 6). God’s people were told to march around the walls of Jericho seven times while the priests were blowing trumpets. After this the priests were to sound a long blast on the trumpets and the people were to give a loud shout. They were told that the walls would then collapse – and they did! This strategy makes no sense to the analytical human mind. However, God wanted His people to respond to their situation in that way at that time.
Fourth, listen for the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit (1 Kings 19:12, KJV). He will nudge your heart and will never go against the Word of God. Be careful not to confuse the prompting of the Holy Spirit with the fleshly desires of your heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). Your heart can and will lie to you unless it is fully given over to God.
Finally, seek out human counselors that are Spirit-led, biblically based, and have nothing to gain from you for their insight or advice. Proverbs 11:14 tells us that “many advisors make victory sure.”

~ Pastor Chris