Where Science and Faith Converge
Reflections

12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 5

By Kenneth R. Samples - April 11, 2017
More

Does every historic movement emerge from a specific cause? If so, what caused the Christian religion to come into being? According to the original followers of Jesus of Nazareth, the church sprang into existence and was deeply shaped because of the truth of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The first four parts of this series (see part 1part 2part 3, and part 4) have catalogued five evidences for the resurrection of Jesus. This article will briefly consider two more important elements in support of the truth of the resurrection

6. Emergence of the Historic Christian Church

What initiated this religious movement that within 300 years dominated the entire Roman Empire and over the course of two millennia dominated all of Western civilization? In a very short time span, Christianity developed a distinct cultural and theological identity apart from that of traditional Judaism. According to the New Testament, the unique religion of Christianity came into being directly because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The extraordinary historical emergence of the Christian church needs an adequate explanation. According to the Christian Scriptures, the apostles turned the world upside down with the truth of the resurrection, and the historic church emerged. This is why many have called the historic Christian church the community of the resurrection.

But if the resurrection didn’t cause the emergence of Christianity, what did? There seems to be no other adequate natural explanation. Thus the heart of historic Christianity is found in the remarkable happenings of Easter Sunday.

7. Emergence of Sunday as a Day of Worship

The Hebrew people worshiped on the Sabbath, which is the seventh day of the week (measured from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday). Nevertheless, the early Christian church (which was viewed initially as a sect of Judaism), gradually changed the day of their worship from the seventh to the first day of the week (see Acts 20:71 Corinthians 16:2; “the Lord’s Day,” Revelation 1:10). For the early Christian church, Sunday uniquely commemorated Jesus’s resurrection from the dead.

Sustained reflection on Christ’s resurrection to immortal life transformed Christian worship, uniquely influencing the formulation of the sacraments of the early church (baptism and communion), and thus it distinguished the Christian faith in its theology and practice from traditional Judaism. Apart from the resurrection, no reason existed for early Christians (as a sect of Judaism) to view Sunday (the first day of the week) as having any enduring theological or ceremonial significance. The resurrection of Jesus therefore set historic Christianity apart from the Judaism of its day. That same truth of resurrected life sets the faith apart from all other religions through the centuries.

So the happening of Easter Sunday—Jesus’s resurrection—explains two things well: (1) why the Christian religion emerged as a historical movement and (2) why Christians worship on a different day of the week than the Jews. And, in turn, both of these historical elements support the factual nature of Jesus’s resurrection.

Reflections: Your Turn

Many believers describe their Christian faith in very personal terms. But why is it important to also understand that Christianity was a dynamic historical movement? Visit Reflections on WordPressto comment with your response.

Resources


Category
  • Resurrection
  • Jesus Christ
Tags
  • Resurrection
  • Jesus Christ
  • Cross
  • Blogs

About Reasons to Believe

RTB's mission is to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature. Learn More »

Support Reasons to Believe

Your support helps more people find Christ through sharing how the latest scientific discoveries affirm our faith in the God of the Bible.

Donate Now

U.S. Mailing Address
818 S. Oak Park Rd.
Covina, CA 91724
  • P (855) 732-7667
  • P (626) 335-1480
  • Fax (626) 852-0178
Reasons to Believe logo