The Resurrection Credible

Bible Book: Acts  26 : 8
Subject: Resurrection; Easter

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) writes, “Concerning the souls of our departed Christian friends we suffer no distress. Our main trouble is about their bodies. Even the perfect Man could not restrain His weeping at Lazarus’ tomb. The doctrine of the Resurrection teaches us that we need have no trouble about the body, it has not gone to annihilation. The Lord's love to His people is a love towards their entire manhood. He took into union with His Deity both soul and body, and redeemed both, and both are sanctified by the Divine indwelling. So our complete manhood shall have it in its power to glorify Him forever. This being our hope, we nevertheless confess that sometimes the evil heart of unbelief cries, ‘Is it possible?’ At such times the text is needful.”[1] Acts 26:8 reads, “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?”

Dr. W. H. Griffith Thomas (1861-1924) shares the following: “Thomas Arnold of Rugby [1795-1842], no mean judge of historical evidence, said that the resurrection was the best attested fact in human history.

Christianity welcomes all possible sifting, testing, and use by those who honestly desire to arrive at truth, and if they will give proper attention to all the facts and factors involved, we believe they will come to the conclusion expressed years ago by the Archbishop of Armagh, that the resurrection is the rock from which all the hammers of criticism have never chipped a single fragment.”[2]

Dr. Ernest F. Kevan (1903-1965) shares the following about the epistles of the New Testament: “There is unimpeachable evidence of the contemporary letters of Paul the Apostle. These epistles constitute historical evidence of the highest kind. The letters addressed to the Galatians, the Corinthians, and the Romans, about the authenticity and date of which there is very little dispute, belong to the time period of Paul’s missionary journeys, and may be dated in the period A.D. 55-58.

This brings the evidence of the resurrection of Christ still nearer to the event: the interval is the short span of twenty-five years. Since Paul himself makes it plain that the subject of his letter was the same as that about which he had spoken to them when he was with them, this really brings back the evidence to a still earlier time.”[3]

While Dr. Kevan is correct in his thought about the establishment of an historical fact, Paul brings something even greater in terms of evidence. Of course, I refer to Peter’s divinely inspired documentation of our Lord’s transfiguration. He writes, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:16-21).

Dr. Paul Brainerd Smith shares the following in the Preface of his book titled, Jesus, By John: “Who He Was”: “The four men who wrote the gospels did not see everything from exactly the same standpoint. This is probably one of the factors that gives such authenticity to their accounts. The Holy Spirit inspired and guided them so that they did not make mistakes or conflict with each other. But they did differ, both in their approach and in the viewpoints from which they observed the same events.

More than the events, the evangelists were concerned about giving an adequate impression of how they saw Jesus. It would appear that Matthew saw Him through Jewish eyes — with a view to reaching Jews — and he emphasizes the message of the Kingdom, a subject dear to the heart of his own countrymen. Mark saw Jesus through the eyes of a pragmatist. His account is short, to the point, and with more emphasis on the actions than the words. Luke saw the Master through Gentile eyes, and continually emphasized His humanity while never neglecting His deity. . . . John saw Jesus through religious eyes, and he continues to revert to his introductory remarks that in essence say, ‘Jesus is God.’ The deity of Jesus and the way of salvation are John’s emphasis.”[4]

Acts 26:1-8 reads, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You are permitted to speak for yourself.’ So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: ‘I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently. ‘My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?”

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explains, “The pronoun you in Acts 26:8 is plural, so Paul must have looked around at the entire audience as he spoke. The Greeks and Romans, of course, would not believe in the doctrine of the Resurrection (Acts 17:31-32), nor would the Sadducees who were present (Acts 23:8). To Paul, this was a crucial doctrine, for if there is no Resurrection, then Jesus Christ was not raised and Paul had no Gospel to preach. (For Paul's argument about the Resurrection and the Gospel, see 1 Cor. 15).”[5]

Dr. John B. Polhill writes, “Gentiles like Festus could not comprehend the idea of resurrection at all. Except for the Sadducees, the Jews believed in resurrection, fervently hoped in it, but rejected Paul’s conviction that it had begun in Christ. Ultimately, it was Christ’s resurrection that Paul had in mind, and all of them—Jew and Gentile alike—found it incredible.”[6]

The Apostle Paul spoke these words to King Agrippa related to God’s resurrection power. Paul attested to the power of the resurrection by his life and by his lips. Paul affirmed that Christ is “declared to be the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). Acts 26:8 reads, “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” Think with me about three factors of the resurrection.

I. Think with me about Jesus Christ our Leader and Model of the Resurrection.

Christians are called disciples (Acts 9:1; 20:7) or “Christ Followers”. In fact, the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26).

Dr. O.S. Hawkins shares the following about the Great Commission in Where Angels Fear To Tread: Confronting Seven Vital Issues Facing the Church, “Matthew’s account of the Great Commission [Matthew 28:18-20] gives us the Mechanics (we are to ‘make’ disciples, ‘mark’ them by baptism, and ‘mature’ them in the faith). These are the mechanics of the Great Commission. Mark’s account of the Great Commission [Mark 16:15] gives us the Measure of it. We are to take this gospel to the whole world. Luke’s account of the Great Commission gives us the Message of it. What is it? (Luke 21:47) —“That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in . . . . all nations.”[7]

Jesus Christ is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2b). He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13). 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 reads, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” We can list those raised from the dead in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, but Jesus was not just raised from the dead as wonderful as that is, He was resurrected! In fact, He is the first-fruits of the resurrection.

Dr. Paul S. Rees (1900-1991) writes, “And then finally, there was the Vision of Life’s Destiny, and Paul was true to that. Look at verse 23 [of Acts 26]. From the beginning, says Paul to Agrippa, my mission was to testify ‘that the Christ must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles,’ What we want is to seize upon the very significant reference to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. For Paul found in that resurrection the pledge, indeed not only the pledge but the pattern, both of his own resurrection in the end, and the resurrection of God’s own people. Thus you hear him say, for example, ‘. . . our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself’ (Philippians 3:20).”[8]

II. Think with me about Jesus Christ our Lord and Master of the Resurrection.

John 5:16-29 reads, “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.’”

Philippians 2:5-11 reads, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Daniel 12:2 reads, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Revelation 20:12-15 reads, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Dr. Ron Rhodes writes, “Jesus was not a mere enlightened Master. The New Agers' rendition of Jesus as an ‘enlightened Master’ in a class with Buddha, Zoroaster, and others is a radical distortion of the Jesus found in Scripture (which is to say, the Jesus of historical record rather than the Jesus of the mystical Akashic Records). The Jesus found in Scripture clearly believed and taught that He alone among men is God (John 8:58; 10:30; 14:9-10).”[9]

Dr. Douglas Groothuis comments, “If Jesus thought he was uniquely God incarnate but he wasn't, he was far less than ‘an enlightened master’ - he didn't even know who he was! If he knew he was not uniquely God incarnate, but said he was, he was a flaming fraud, and in no sense was he an ‘enlightened master.’ Worse yet, he would have been a deceiver, leading a multitude astray.”[10]

III. Think with me about Jesus Christ our Life and Mediator of the Resurrection.

Colossians 3:1-4 reads, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon writes, “‘For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will.’ Our Lord’s own words are—‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, he who hears My Word, and believes on Him who sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they who hear shall live.’ [John 5:24-25] Four verilies, as if to show the importance of the truth here taught to us. We are dead in sin. That same voice, which brought Lazarus out of the tomb, brings us out of our grave of sin. We hear the Word of God, and we live according to the promise—‘Awake you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light’ (Eph 5:14).”[11] Dr. Trent C. Butler writes, “Jesus is the mediator of the resurrection who gives to believers the life given Him by His Father.”[12]


Paul shared his testimony about his life before, during, and after his conversion. After he tactfully invited King Agrippa to believe the gospel, Agrippa said, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28b).

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon writes, “Lastly, and this is a very solemn thought, the ungodly are to rise again, but it will be to a Resurrection of woe; their bodies sinned, and their bodies will be punished. ‘Fear Him,’ says Christ, ‘who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.’ He will cast both of them into a suffering which shall cause perpetually enduring destruction to them—this is terrible, indeed! To slumber in the grave would be infinitely preferable to such a Resurrection—‘The Resurrection of damnation,’ so the Scripture calls it. A rising ‘To shame and everlasting contempt,’ so Daniel styles it. That is a dreadful Resurrection, indeed—you might be glad to escape from it; surely it were dreadful enough for your soul to suffer the eternal Wrath of God without the body having to be its companion, but so it must be; if body and soul sin, body and soul must suffer, and that forever! Jeremy Taylor tells us of a certain Acilius Aviola who was seized with an apoplexy, and his friends, conceiving him to be dead, carried him to his funeral pile.

And when the heat had warmed his body, he awoke to find himself hopelessly encircled with funeral flames; in vain he called for deliverance; he could not be rescued, but passed from lethargy into intolerable torment! Such will be the dreadful awakening of every sinful body when it shall be awakened from its slumber in the grave. The body will start up to be judged, condemned, and driven from God’s Presence into everlasting punishment! May God grant that it may never be your case or mine, but may we believe in Christ Jesus now, and so obtain a Resurrection to Eternal Life. Amen.”[13]

Dr. John Phillips (1927-2010) shares the following: “Lord Lyttleton and Gilbert West were both convinced that Christianity was a hoax. They agreed together that the entire fabrication could be torn to shreds simply by disproving the resurrection of Christ and by discrediting the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Lord Lyttleton undertook to disrobe Paul and Gilbert West agreed to debunk the resurrection myth. When they met some time later to compare notes and progress each betrayed a reluctance to begin. Then each discovered that the other had set out on his task in good faith, had been overwhelmed by the evidence in favor of the event he was supposed to disprove, and had not only been converted but had written his manuscript to prove rather than disprove the event. Copies of their subsequent book can still be found in libraries.”[14]
Are you willing to affirm with the Apostle Paul the resurrection credible?

[1]Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Resurrection Credible” Sermon Notes (Acts 26:8).

[2]W. H. Griffith Thomas, Christianity is Christ (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1916), 67.

[3]Ernest F. Kevan, The Resurrection of Christ (London: The Campbell Morgan Memorial Bible Lectureship, Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate, S. W. I., June 14, 1961), 6.

[4]Paul B. Smith, Jesus, By John: “Who He Was” (Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Welch Publishing Company, Inc., 1987), 9.

[5]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament (Wheaton: Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc., 2004), 1:504.

[6]New American Commentary, gen ed. David S. Dockery, Acts, John B. Polhill (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 1992), 26:498.

[7]O. S. Hawkins, Where Angels Fear To Tread: Confronting Seven Vital Issues Facing the Church (Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1984), 89.

[8]Paul S. Rees, Men of Action in the Book of Acts (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1966), 89-90.

[9]Ron Rhodes, "The Christ of the New Age Movement" Part One in a Two-Part Series on New Age Christology Accessed: 03/24/15 .

[10]Douglas Groothuis, Confronting the New Age (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 121.

[11]Charles H. Spurgeon, “Christ our Life—Soon to Appear” Sermon Notes (Colossians 3:4).

[12]Trent C. Butler, Holman Concise Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2001), 529.

[13]Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Resurrection Credible” Sermon Notes (Acts 26:8).

[14]John Phillips, 100 Old Testament Sermon Outlines (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1979), 78. Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.

Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on in hardcover, paperback and eBook] & / / (251) 626-6210

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