Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection & The Power of the Cross | Easter 2024 | Kirk Cameron on TBN

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Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection & The Power of the Cross | Easter 2024 | Kirk Cameron on TBN

Dr. Jeremiah Johnston joins Kirk Cameron to discuss the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his new book, “Body of Proof”. He also examines why this pivotal event forms the foundation of our Christian worldview. Don’t miss this insightful interview here on Takeaways with Kirk Cameron on TBN!

Join Kirk Cameron to discuss pressing issues Christians are facing with compassionate, well-informed guests. Together we will find actionable takeaways that we can use today, this week, and this month to bring more of Heaven to Earth.

You cannot have a fully orged Christian worldview without being able to defend the resurrection of Jesus.
Listen to me carefully, the the center of a Christian worldview is the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Unlike any other religion in the world, unlike any other philosophy or belief systems in the world, Christianity grounds itself in a singular historical fact that if Jesus Christ rose from the grave, He is the son of god, and our sins can be forgiven in him.
It comes down to what happened, and we even know the date April 5th a d 33 that if Jesus walked out of that grave alive, it has a huge implication.
Not only on this life, but the eternal life to come. And here’s the cool thing.
My I think my favorite chapter in the book body of proof is a chapter I wrote said that basically says if the gospel writer Kirk, were trying to make up a story.
That wasn’t true, but would get a lot of people’s attention.
They did a terrible job, and the goss if they were trying to make up a story, because just like you’ve just given voice to the skeptics, we don’t give people in the 1st century time of Jesus enough credit nobody believed that dead bodies came back to life.
Just like today, they didn’t either in the 1st century. It was something that was laughable.
When I think about the apostle Paul standing in court that the Aero Pagus and he’s proclaiming the truth of Christianity, they were giving him a hearing until he brought up what thing.
Jesus coming back from the dead, and then they literally laughed him off the Aeropagus mountain.
And so Paul dealt with the skepticism, Jesus certainly dealt with it because none of his disciples thought he was gonna come back from the dead.
They just didn’t get it. And yet, Jesus and Mark, 831.
Mark, 931, mark 10, 33, 34, kept saying, the son of man will die and come back from the grave.
So are are are you are you asserting that we can determine that the resurrection really did happen that Jesus came back from the dead based on evidence, or is that something that we’re called by god to believe and embrace by faith, or is it a combination of reason logic and faith?
How do they fit?
Kirk, this is why I love takeaways, and I love you in particular because you call us to love god with our heart and our minds.
And to answer your question, the resurrection requires certainly belief.
Romans chapter 10 verse 9 says no one can be a Christian unless you believe in your heart Jesus is lord and proclaim that Jesus has risen from the dead, but it is also an act of faith based on evidence.
We believe to we we believe to become Christians, but we don’t do so in a vacuum.
We don’t have blind faith. The best explanation of what happened at that tomb 2000 years ago is that Jesus physically bodily rose from the grave.
Had we been there that 1st Easter morning? We could have hugged him. In fact, they slept with him.
They had fish for breakfast in the 1st century on the, on the, on the waters of the seal of Galilee on the beaches.
He was no Anthem. He was no ghostly apparition. He was resurrected from the grave.
And this is why his brother who didn’t believe in him who according to Mark chapter 6 and Mark chapter 3, in John chapter 7, his brothers did not even believe on him.
In fact, his brother’s thought he was out of his mind when he was proclaiming him to be the son of god.
James has an experience according to 1st Corinthians 15, 3 through 8.
Of seeing his brother come back from the dead, and that was a game changer.
In James, the brother of Jesus becomes the leader of the Jerusalem church.
That same transformation that James had, everyone in your audience can have as well.
If you see and believe, just like Mary did in John chapter 20,
So do you think that the resurrection miracle was necessary for the gospel for Christianity to really take off.
I mean, Jesus had already done so many amazing miracles, like He had fulfilled these prophecies.
We we we know where the Messiah was gonna be born.
We knew other things about his life and his death. He turned water into wine.
Jesus had already fed the 5000, uh, he had done all these things. Why the resurrection?
Because, I mean, If you’re gonna if you want people to believe in Jesus, maybe you could get him to buy into him turning some water into wine or multiplying some fish.
But coming back from the dead Mhmm. That’s a pretty tough sell.
Absolutely. And, Kirk, this is why one of the things I point out and buy approved.
Jesus was not the only guy in the 1st century world to wave a flag and say, hey.
I’m the messiah. In fact, there were at least 10 other, what I call, messianic tenders.
And we actually read about 2 of them in the book of acts, one that took 4000 out into the wilderness.
He died, and his following was lost.
Another one following was lost, and this should have been no different for the early Christian movement, except the fact that Jesus did come back from the dead.
Now, is it important? If you look at the gospels, there are 89 chapters in the gospels, only 4 of the chap of the 89 deal with the birth of Christ, the great majority of the eighty nine chapters of the gospels deal with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What’s fascinating to me, Kirk, when I study the gospels, We only have parts of 26 days of his life.
Because the central focus of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the early preaching was that god raised his son, Jesus, from the dead.
And so while the miracles are certainly important and validated his message, Remember what the pharisees said in mark chapter 12, we demand a sign from you, Jesus.
And remember, there’s always a pharisee in the crowd, and we teach god’s truth.
And Jesus said, remember what he said, Kirk, he said, I’m gonna give you one sign, the sign of Jonah, the sign of the resurrection from the dead.
Well, you I would think that the religious leaders of the day who were anticipating the coming of their messiah, the redeemer, of Israel, their their deliverer would be excited about someone who comes and he’s from Bethlehem and he’s from this particular bloodline and embrace him and throw the party when they heard the news that Jesus rose from the grave.
Right. Why was Jesus and his followers treated with such hatred Mhmm. When they began preaching the resurrection.
Because the truth of the gospel penetrates hearts.
And if you and I could, if I could take you by the hand, back to 1st Century Jerusalem, the priesthood was corrupt.
The sadducees had no real religious belief system to speak of.
They would be like the modern um, agnostics.
They would have been so scattered in Jesus message in Luke chapter 19 is fascinating to me In fact, I was just there filming a dominus Flvet, where literally in Latin god wept.
In loop 19 Jesus weeps at his triumphal entry. To kick off Easter week.
And he said, would you have seen remember, he’s speaking to the religious leaders, as you’ve just rightly pointed out, He begins to weep.
In fact, the force of the text in Luke 19 as Jesus begins sobbing.
And he says, you’re the religious leaders.
And yet, peace embodied is before your very eyes, and you don’t even see it. You’re blinded.
And so friends, as I say in the book, body of proof, we can be so religious that we miss Jesus.
And so my message to people today is look into the resurrection of Jesus don’t be so religious that you miss Jesus.
What’s the most common response from skeptics when somebody tells them about the resurrection.
The most common response is they’ve never looked into the actual evidence for the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus.
So let’s say It’s an answer of ambivalence.
But when when I’ve I’ve given my life to study this, Kirk, I did my PhD in Oxford a 93,000 word thesis on the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus.
And I wanted to put together a book that in about 3 hours of reading, you could read this and be totally current on the evidence, the archaeology, the truth claims of Christianity, but really, so just like you and I are having right now, have comfortable dialogue.
At most skeptics will believe. And here’s the fascinating claim that the disciples and the early followers of Jesus had to experiences of seeing Jesus alive after he was dead.
Skeptical scholars will grant that. But they must you know, what kind of nature it was.
I don’t know, but they don’t doubt the appearance traditions.
They’re they remind me of the religious leaders and the gospels, who came up with the stole the body theme.
Oh, just make up the theme. Pay it, pay someone off. They stole the bodies of the body of Jesus.
So I believe by faith that Jesus rose from the grave. I wasn’t there.
I didn’t see it, but there are many, many reasons we have to support that belief that a man rose from the grave.
That’s exactly right.
And, um, some people might start out and say, well, how do you know it was really a bodily resurrect not just a spiritual resurrection, like like the spirit of Christ that now dwells on the earth and lives in the hearts of good people.
Mhmm. You’re talking about his flesh and bones, like, came out of the grave. Right?
Absolutely. That’s exactly right.
Why why is That important. And what what evidence do we have for that?
John 14 19 Kirk is the greatest passage. It’s the greatest promise in the new testament.
The promise that we’re given with more frequency than any other promise comes right out of John 14 19.
Jesus said, because I live you will live also.
And he didn’t mean we’re gonna be ghost someday, or we’re gonna be some kind of phantom or apparition.
He meant we would live again physically bodily.
I was in the tomb of Bethany and Lazarus’s tomb 1 point 8 miles from the city center of Jerusalem.
And I yelled in the tomb because I wanted to be like Jesus in Greek Duro XO, Lazarus come out, come forth.
In fact, a lot of us joke that, um, if Jesus hadn’t have said, Lazarus’ name, everyone who was who was dead at the time would have just come out of their graves at the time.
It is so vital that we understand the central importance of a Christian worldview as it relates to resurrection belief.
What I love about your mission and why I believe god’s raising you up Kirk and raising up takeaways as a program is you stand so rock solid for us to have a Christian worldview.
We’re both dads of tons of kids. You have 6 I have 5.
We’re so concerned about passing on a legacy of faith to our children, and we’re very concerned about a Christian worldview for our children.
Now here’s here’s a point of why this even matters.
You cannot have a fully orbed Christian worldview without being able to defend the resurrection of Jesus.
Listen to me carefully, the the center of a Christian worldview is the death and resurrection of Jesus.
There are 3 100 passages in the new testament on the resurrection of Jesus. Think about that.
There’s only 260 chapters. That’s why not just in the goss but in the epistles and all the other writings, Jesus is on the road to emmaus in Luke chapter 24.
The disciples don’t recognize him, and he begins with the law. In the prophets and the writings.
And he says, these all testify of me. He was constantly bringing up this resurrection power that Paul says, hey.
This same power that raised Jesus from the dead, it can be alive in you, and it’s alive in me.
And that’s what makes us unstoppable Christians. And so is it a real body? Yes.
Read 1st Corinthians 15, I talk about in the book.
Someday we’re gonna need to have a body in Christ that never needs upgrading hallelujah.
I’m gonna have a body that’s not sore anymore.
I started getting gray hair after my wife gave birth to our triplet boys, and it’s just continued, Kirk. Okay?
I’m excited that my body, which is decaying now because of sin, someday will be more alive than it ever was before.
When I’m in Bethany, and I’m able to read this passage in John chapter 11 verse 25.
And Jesus says, I am the resurrection, the life, everyone who believes in me, though you die, yet you will live.
Do you believe this? And you know what?
He performed the greatest miracle right after that and raise Lazarus from the dead.
In your book, body of proof, you cite 7 of the best re uh evidences for the resurrection.
One of them being how society has been transformed everywhere that Christianity is introduced. Unpack that for us.
You cannot explain the emphasis on equality and freedom that pervaded the Roman Empire because of this group of Christians apart from the fact that Jesus physically bodily rose from the grave.
The passage escalations 328, Paul, who hated non Jews, who didn’t care for women very much, meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, and it changes his whole worldview just like meeting Christ today can change your worldview And he goes from this this male, um, dominant figure.
I’m a Jew. I’m the best of the best to now I’m the least of all saying.
So I’m the chief of sinners, but Galatians 3 28 in Christ. There’s neither slave nor free.
There’s neither male nor female. There’s no neither jude or gentile.
We are all one in Christ Jesus, and this message of unity, this message of freedom, this message of holistically caring for every human made in the image of god, even if you were a Roman slave, that catapulted the message of Christianity to the furthest ends of the Roman empire and turned the world upside down.
We have a letter where literally it says, if it’s a boy, keep it, if it’s a girl, throw it away in the 1st century, and and not not no one would have batted an eye doubtle, the Christian movement comes along and says treat children as you would.
Let them come
to me. Yeah. And and I’ve read, um, in in in history, historical sources where you go the Roman empire and throughout the ancient world.
Babies are thrown into the rivers. Babies are thrown up into the arms of of molten hot Yes. Idol gods.
Mhmm. Women are treated like cattle.
Children are despised and told to go sit down, shut up, get out of the way.
And then Christianity comes around. And then, like
you’re saying, brings us quality.
It touches. It brings dignity and identity and purpose and equality and value, all of this stuff.
It’s it really is amazing. And so many of the things that we take for granted today are a result of a Christian worldview so much so that we see stuff like twisted values creeping into our schools for children as the horrors like, how bad things are getting when really these things that we call progressive are really just regressive regressing back to the things that were prior to Christianity’s
investigation message. Exactly.
So this this is a compelling evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Um, what about miracles?
Is that one of the evidences of the resurrection?
Jesus was constantly predicting his death and resurrection, and his disciples didn’t get it.
Jesus takes the old testament passage, Joseas 6, 23, he applies it.
I like to say he messiahizes it to himself. And he says, the son of man’s coming, but guess what?
He will be killed. Even though Peter, remember, Peter tried to stop Jesus from going to the cross, to fulfill his messianic program.
And do you remember what’s what Jesus called Peter, He said, get behind me, Satan. Peter didn’t even get it.
And yet, Jesus predicts his his resurrection, mark 831, mark 931, mark 10 33 34.
He kept saying the son of man will be put to death, but he will raise 3 days later.
And then Not only did he predict it, point number 3 in body of proof, he demonstrated resurrection power.
The widow of Nain’s son, Luke chapter 7, Jesus stops a funeral processional.
I mean, again, if we could go back in time, Kirk, uh, in Jewish burial traditions, that son, it meant he had died that day.
People are grieving. And the fact that his mom is a widow means she is now destitute.
She has no son who will care for her. The young man is young.
Jesus stops the processional he touches the buyer. That would have made him in Jewish eyes ceremonially unclean.
Nothing makes pure Jesus unclean. And Jesus said, he’s not He’s not dead. He’s sleeping. Arise.
We also see it in this wonderful passage in Mark, the the ruler of the synagogue.
We hear in his own native language, Talitha Kum, and Jesus raises the girl from the dead.
We’ve already mentioned Lazarus. So Jesus not only predicted resurrection power, he demonstrated resurrection power.
The cool thing is, this is really fun, and this is why you’ve gotta watch takeaways, because you get all these delicious details like this.
Um, Lazarus has been buried twice. Do you think about this for a minute?
Lazarus is one of the few people to die twice in the history of humanity.
He died, and he was risen from the dead in Bethany.
He dies a second time because remember Jesus is the first one to rise from the dead never to die again.
Paul says Jesus was the first fruit of our resurrection body.
In fact, you can go to the island of Cyprus today, Kirk.
And you can see Lazarus’s second burial location only because the power of Jesus resurrection over death.
Lazarus died, he was resuscitated by Jesus. He dies again.
In Cyprus. I don’t think he was afraid the second time around.
That’s right. So you talked about the, uh, the Pharisey Saul who was met on the road to Damascus and completely turned his world around.
He was someone with all of this religious pride this toxic religious spirit better than everybody else, and he gets transformed into one that he calls the worst of all the sinners and he is just modeling humility.
He’s no longer prosecuting Christians. He actually is 1.
And and and he’s proclaiming the message to everybody.
What about the evidence of all of the disciples and all of the others who who seemed to have no reason to believe in the resurrection, who suddenly become the greatest proponents for Christianity Is is that another evidence?
Without a doubt, and this is what’s interesting to me is the apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 15, 3 through 8, gives us 3 groups and 3 individuals who Jesus appeared to.
This is called the appearance tragic tradition. We have empty tomb tradition. That’s what we read about in the gospels.
The women go to the tomb. It’s empty. Wears his body, wears Jesus. That’s John chapter 20.
And then we also have the appearance tradition, men and women who saw Jesus.
And as CS Lewis said, make no mistake to preach Christianity is to preach the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The first men and women to be called apostles According to the new testament, were men and women who saw Jesus alive after he had been dead?
Those were the first apostles. And that was then to preach Christianity to proclaim. I’ve seen the lord. He’s alive.
Exactly what Mary said in John chapter 20.
One of the 7 evidences that you cite here is that there’s no real motivation, you say, to invent Jesus’ resurrection narrative We can’t find any real evidence that people were motivated to fake this whole thing.
What do you mean by
Yeah. This is one of the cool new trends and the fluidity of resurrection research, and this is a cool new fun way to argue for the truth of the resurrection.
Is to convince people that, hey.
If Kirk and I wanted to make up a religion, we have no reason to make up that Jesus came back from the dead.
If you and I were 1st century Jews, we would have believed in an eventual general resurrection of all of Israel when Messiah comes Um, we would have had no, I no problem venerating prophet Jesus is a godly rabbi as a highest man.
And guess what? We could have gone on and and even published, uh, his writings and published his sayings.
And And we could have become success with not having to go out on the skinny branches and make this crazy claim that one guy actually came back from the tent.
If we wouldn’t have started there because nobody would have given us a hearing.
The in that Jesus’s own disciples didn’t expect that either. We really can’t emphasize this enough.
You’ve probably heard of something called the Dead Sea Scrolls, which was the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century.
Um, the Dead Sea scrolls and, uh, reflect the belief of pious Jews in Qumran in the land of Israel in the time of Jesus.
And 4q285, that would just be scroll number 4, uh, excuse me, found in Qumran K4number285, They’re writing about their belief in the coming of the messiah and Kirk, they believe that when messiah comes, if you’re reading the scrolls, he’ll kill the Roman occupiers He will that their Messiah would die on a Roman cross.
They expected a Messiah that would vanquish a corrupt priesthood cleanse the temple.
And yet, Jesus comes, and he says to pilot my kingdom is not of this world.
If it was of this world, my servants would fight But even so, my kingdom is coming, but it’s not of this world.
And that is why Jesus had to go to the cross.
Our sin needed a full payment And the only representative who could do that was Jesus as the lamb of god.
And that’s why John the Baptist, it’s recorded in all four gospels, quotes Isaiah 40.
When he says, behold the lamb of god who takes away the sin of the world, this is the power by Isaiah chapter 40 verse five through a that Kirk, god built a super highway to save you and me.
So many people in our audience were trying to find god. We’re trying to find god for our marriages.
We’re trying to find god for our parenting.
We’re trying to find god for our kids, and we don’t realize god built a super highway to save us according to Isaiah 40.
In the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Uh, one of your chapters is titled, uh, if the disciples invented the story of Jesus’s resurrection, they did a terrible job.
You mentioned that uh, a little bit earlier. Uh, it it seems to have worked pretty well.
There are billions of people on the earth that say that they follow Jesus Christ.
Uh, what do you mean that they did a terrible job?
Well, in Luke chapter 24 verse 21, cleopas, and an unnamed disciple are doing a seven mile walk from Jerusalem to the little town of Emeis.
And they’re walking in Kirk. I just filmed there. You can get there if you go off roading.
It’s a lot of fun to get there. The Roman curbing is still there.
There’s Roman milest1s that are 6 feet tall that say Amayas this way, Jerusalem that way.
And they’re joined by someone they don’t quite recognize.
And they say, haven’t you heard of everything that’s happened in Israel?
And they said, you know, we had hoped he was the messiah, but he died on the cross.
They were dejected. They did not respect their messiah to rise from the dead.
And Jesus, um, he was gonna go on and they invite him in, and their eyes are open.
And they said, we’re not hearts burning within us, we were walking with a resurrected Christ.
My point is that they had given up all hope. They didn’t expect him to die on a Roman Cross.
So why would anyone invent that narrative? And this is so important that Christians understand this.
There was no psychological motivation Um, there was no way to profit from a story like this.
Nobody believed in bodies coming back from the dead.
The reason they believed it is because it actually happened, and that why they proclaimed it.
Wow. One of the other evidences that you give in your book, body of proof is that the resurrection gives meaning to suffering.
Mhmm. Mhmm. Mhmm.
Can you unpack that for us?
You know, the resurrection of Jesus is the key to every belief in the new testament.
Every belief in the Christian life is fueled by this promise of resurrection for all eternity.
And for anyone out there who’s been touched by suffering, I remind you of Romans chapter paray where the apostle Paul says that the sufferings of this world are not compared with the glory that is ours someday in the resurrection in Jesus, you know, Kirk, As you’ve rightly pointed out, as a Christian thinker, we live in a world where society is largely given into despair.
Gen Z has lost all hope.
A loneliness epidemic when we’re, quote, unquote, more connected than we’ve ever been, the resurrection of Jesus shows that my life can be lived in with purpose.
My life can be poured out in a god honoring way because I’m not just living for this world.
I’m living for the world to um, eternity when Jesus promised, Heaven and Earth will come together, and we will see him as he is.
Paul says, not through a class a glass dimly, we will see him face to face.
And that is the promise that took hold in the 1st century, and it’s been changing lives. For 2000 years.
It changed my life. I’m not a Christian because I have some kind of emotional need to be a Christian, or I feel like a Christian, I am a Christian because the evidence is overpowering that Jesus physically bodily walked out of that grave alive.
What’s the danger if we don’t study the evidence for the resurrection and learn how to share it with other people.
Mhmm. The danger for every Christian who does not stay current in resurrection belief.
And by current, I mean, When you look at the archaeology and when you look at what’s happening in the Holy lands, plural, all of it shows the authenticity of the resurrection accounts that we see in the gospel narratives, And guess what?
You’re you’re gonna lose pace with how exciting it is to be a Christian.
If you have a ho attitude about it, well, yeah, I I believe that when I became a Christian 20 years ago, but can’t really articulate it anymore, and we’re so forgetful.
Just like the Krish Christians were in Corinth, remember what Paul says, He opens up the greatest chapter in all the Bible.
1st Corinthians 15. And he says, now I wanna
the greatest chapter in all the Bible. That you heard
it your first But he opens up the chapter, and this is perfect because you keep asking me great questions.
He says, now I wanna remind you brothers and sisters of the gospel that I preach to you.
He starts off 1st Corinthians 15, which ends, you know, verse 58. Therefore, be steadfast and movable.
Always bounding in your work of the lord, knowing that your labor in the lord is not in vain.
Be strong. He starts by saying, Hey, Kirk, Jeremiah. I gotta remind you the gospel, guys.
I gotta remind you of what we preach, what was given to me, and what I passed on to you.
And then he gives the truth of the resurrection It’s like being at a wedding with my my wife, Audrey, sometimes I’ll I’ll just lean over and say, I love you so much, but I’m reminded how much I love you being at this wedding.
I wish I could marry you all over again.
And that’s the power when you study the resurrection every single day in your life, when you pray resurrection prayers over your family, when you believe those resurrection promises apply to you today.
Just as they do did in the time of Jesus, that puts a protection on your family.
It puts focus on your life and a purpose in all you do for the lord. That’s why it matters.

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