Can it be proven that what the Gospels narrate about Christ’s death and resurrection actually occurred? What use would it be to know these data?
Jesus has undoubtedly been a historical figure who has left his mark on the world. But should he be recognized just for being a shocking, controversial character with a unique message that has permeated until today?
Saint Paul, writer of several letters to the first Christians, affirms that it is not enough to believe that Jesus existed, because justice is not done to him. Many recognize in Christ only the historical contribution of the great commandment of love that He proposed to the world; however, it is necessary to pay attention to his whole life and his message to understand the Son of God.
This Jew who was persecuting Christians and was converted when Jesus appeared to him makes a forceful statement in the First Letter to the Corinthians: ” If Christ had not risen, it would be vain (useless), our faith would be.”
Those of us who have faith have no problem in this regard. The question is: is there a way to prove that the definitive triumph of Jesus, his return from the dead, really happened? What do history and medicine say about it?
Does faith need proof?
You may be wondering ‘ why would this be important, if I already believe in it? And the answer is: because God, who created the soul and the body in man, knows how to fill both.
Some mistakenly claim that the experience of religion should be based solely on faith, and not on reason. Big mistake! Because in the Christian tradition, there are many facts included in the Gospels that science has been in charge of confirming.
Christ has allowed many compelling proofs of His life and work of salvation to give us scientific and proven testimony, so that our faith is strengthened, and it is founded on rock. Some of them are the case of people who havevisited heaven, the bed sheet in which they wrapped him after his death, where the same torments and tortures that Christ suffered on the Cross, among others, are recorded.
What does science say about the death of Jesus?
Following what the Gospels narrate about the passion and death of Jesus, several scholars have elaborated medical reports and forensics that give us verifiable data about his passion and death.
For example, the Spanish doctor Jesús Méndez affirms that the physical reactions narrated by the followers of Christ in the Bible are compatible with science. For example, in the prayer in the Garden that Jesus performs before he was arrested, the phenomenon of sweating blood has a scientific explanation, in a phenomenon known ashemathidrosis.
The explanation indicates that when people are subjected to extreme pressure, capillaries break, and the sweat released from the body turns red.
Another fact, for example, that intrigued the skeptics, was that the sacred texts said that when the Roman soldier drove a spear into the side of the Son of God, it caused blood and water to flow. Blood makes sense, but water? Many wondered.
The answer is given again by Dr. Méndez: « Jesus’ punished body and associated heart failure alter the pressures and cause water to pass to the pericardium, the membrane that surrounds the heart. The spear, when piercing him, not only confirmed his death , but would justify the separate outflow of blood and water.
Proving his death is easy. But the resurrection?
It is not so complicated to justify what is cited in the Evagelios in what corresponds to the death of Jesus, but what about his resurrection? Here the evidence, rather than relying on medicine, is based on history and archeology. We share some:
The tomb was empty
As Jesus had been crucified on a Friday, and on the eve (at sunset) the Hebrew Shabbat would be celebrated, which required recollection and prayer, the women who accompanied the Son of God could not properly embalm him.
So when they approached the tomb on Sunday morning, they were amazed because the tomb was empty.
As a testimony, we not only have this piece of the Gospel, but several more passages that speak to us that in Jerusalem, when the apostles affirmed the resurrection of Jesus, many people gave witness to the fact.
They witnessed with their lives what they professed
When Nero, Decius, Diocletian and several other Roman emperors confronted the followers of Christ with their faith, they were not afraid to give their lives for what they believed.
Do you know fans of a famous soccer team who admire it so much that they are willing to give their lives to defend it? In this case we do not have a testimony, but hundreds of thousands even today.
The body could not have been stolen
What motivation would Jews and Romans have had to steal the body of Jesus and give Christians a free hand to promote the new faith? None! Neither Jews nor Romans shared the Christian message, it just doesn’t make sense.
Now, could the followers of the Son of God have stolen the body and pretended that it had risen with an obscure purpose? What would they have gained by promoting what they knew to be a lie? What would have kept them together if their union had arisen from a deception?
The first Christians were slaves, poor and forgotten. What did you gain by following the faith? They obtained peace and serenity, as well as eternal life, but none of these provided any concrete material benefits that could have tempted them.
Christ is still alive
Christianity is still alive, because even today, it is the religion with the most followers in the world: 2436 million people believe in Christ and his message.
The most beautiful thing about recognizing the resurrection of Christ is that it gives us hope: after death there is resurrection. Christ has already conquered death.
We can then be hopeful. Even if the world pulls us towards selfishness, unhappiness, we can joyfully continue to carry our cross each day, because we know with certainty that Jesus has kept his promises, and will be with us until the end of time.