view as web pdf Christ’s Resurrection - an historical fact

Tacitus, the Roman historian, was born AD 55 only just over 20 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. In his ‘Annals of the Empire’, he wrote:

“Christus, from whom the name Christians is derived, was executed by order of the governor Pontius Pilate in the reign of the Emperor Tiberius. Checked for the moment, the pernicious superstition again broke out, not only in Judea, the source of the evil, but even in Rome.”

In the first century, in a restless Palestine there arose a succession of false prophets who claimed supernatural powers and collected bands of followers. But when the Romans caught the leader and put them to death, their followers scattered and nothing more was heard of them. Gamaliel in Acts 5:36-37 referred to two of them, namely Theudas and Judas of Galilee, and in each case, after the leader was slain, the band dispersed.

It was not so with Christus, says Tacitus; although “the pernicious superstition” was checked when he was executed, it broke out again and spread as far as Rome.

The reason, of course, was that unlike the impostors, Christ was raised from the dead by God and this fact changed “a frightened powerless group of Galileans” into a confident and well-organised band of preachers. Their words recorded in The Acts of the Apostles show that the truth of the resurrection was the power which spear-headed their message. It was an undeniable historical occurrence, well-attested by witnesses, many of whom, says Paul, were still living and therefore available for cross-examination (see 1 Cor. 15:5-8). History confutes the modern doubters!


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