1. Do you think that people often separate the real world (history, sciences, etc.) from the “religious world” (thinking it’s based upon pure subjectivity)? Have you had any experiences of this with people? How did you interact with them?

2. If you had to say why you thought Jesus has been raised from the dead, what would you say?

3. By itself, the empty grave doesn’t prove Jesus’ resurrection. It proves only that Jesus’ body wasn’t there. It’s the actual, ‘alive and well’ appearances of Jesus in the 40 days following his presumed resurrection that show he rose from the dead. This list of appearances to more than 500 people is impressive:

  • Mary Magdalene (John 20:11–14)
  • The women returning from the tomb (Matthew 28:8–10)
  • Simon Peter (Cephas) (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
  • The Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13–33)
  • The apostles, without Thomas (John 20:19–24)
  • The apostles, with Thomas (John 20:26–29)
  • The seven by Lake Tiberius (John 21:1–23)
  • More than 500 believers in Galilee (1 Corinthians 15:6)
  • Then James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
  • Then the eleven (Matthew 28:16–20; Mark 16:14–20; Luke 24:33–52; Acts 1:3–12)
  • Paul (Saul) (Acts 9:3–6; 1 Corinthians 15:8).

Have a look at some of these accounts. What can you find in these accounts that say that Jesus’ followers had tangible, not merely ‘visionary’, experiences with Jesus?

4. What makes the hallucination theory—that the disciples had hallucinations of Jesus and deluded themselves into thinking these were real, physical experiences—so unlikely? Have you had any experiences with people who have had hallucinations? How are hallucinations be different from the claim’s of Jesus’ followers that they had tangible experiences—e.g. ate fish with him, touched him, walked the beach with him, etc.?

5. Jesus’ followers never backed down from their claims that they had been with a resurrected Jesus. Some even went to their martyrdoms for this belief. Does this demonstrate their sincerity? Why or why not?

6. What did Jesus’ family think of Jesus at one point? See Mark 3:20–21.

7. James was one of Jesus’ brothers who doubted that Jesus was who he claimed to be (the Messiah), but later on James would write, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah.” (James 1:1) James clearly did a turn-around. Why? And what difference does it make that James was family, if any difference?

8. How is the beginning of Christianity (a resurrection) so different from every other spiritual belief system?

9. Would you answer question 2 any differently after this study?


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