Gospel News · January - April 2019

Christ’s Resurrection -
an historical fact
acitus, 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 gover-
nor Pontius Pilate in the reign of the Emperor
Tiberius. Checked for the moment, the perni-
cious superstition again broke out, not only in
Judea, the source of the evil, but even in
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; al-
though “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 im-
postors, Christ was raised from the dead by
God and this fact changed “a frightened pow-
erless 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!
Living the Truth
| (The late) Bro Ernest A Stallworthy
hen the apostles first began to proclaim
the gospel of the Kingdom of God, led by
Peter at Jerusalem after the ascension of
Jesus, there was a tremendous response.
Some 3,000 were baptized in one day, and
they were all imbued with a wonderful spirit:
“And all that believed were together, and had
all things common; and sold their possessions
and goods, and parted them to all men, as
every man had need. And they, continuing
daily with one accord in the temple, and
breaking bread from house to house, did eat
their meat with gladness and singleness of
heart, praising God, and having favour with
all the people” (Acts 2:44-47).
Some forty years later, however, the picture
was very different. Paul, writing to Timothy,
not only told him that “Demas hath forsaken
me, having loved this present world” (2 Tim.
4:10), but complained of opposition: “Alexan-
der the coppersmith did me much evil” (:14).
There were also problems in relation to belief,
as is demonstrated by Paul’s letter to the
Galatians. Paul wrote to them: “I marvel that
ye are so soon removed from Him that called
you into the grace of Christ unto another
gospel” (1:6). It seems that it was being
taught that it was necessary for believers to
keep the Law of Moses, an idea which Paul
vehemently opposed.
James, however, in his letter, was more con-
cerned about the conduct of the brethren and
sisters. As we read his letter we see a great
contrast between the situation in the ecclesias
at the time when he wrote and that in
Jerusalem perhaps forty years earlier, when