There has been a lot of insistence by skeptics for extraordinary evidence lately, reminds me of this:
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (Mat. 12:38-39)
I have been hard at work on a resurrection evidence project for a few months now. Several videos have been produced. Many books have been read. It’s not just any project. I’m preparing to confront YouTube skeptic community with a challenge. True faith is founded on historical facts, which eye witnesses have corroborated. I believe there was an event that occurred 2000 years ago that was so phenomenal that it transformed the very nature of reality. It’s not just about the gospel or apologetics… it’s the ultimate apologetic.
Jesus performed many miracles or signs which authenticated his public ministry. The Gospel of John was written with a purpose. It is unique amongst the four accounts of Jesus in that its author sets down the purpose that the reader would “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing have life in his name” (Jn. 20:31). Scholars have distinguished two divisions by dividing the fourth Gospel into the “Book of Signs”, chapters 1 through 12, since they record Jesus’ public miracles and the “Book of Glory”, chapters 13 through 21, because of his glorious death and resurrection. In addition to the seven signs found in Book of Signs there is an eighth positioned at the end of the book. John uses the Greek word semeion seventeen times in his gospel in reference to miracles. In Greek literature the word often means an event that indicates or confirms an intervention by a transcendent power. Dr. Elmer Towns contends that this word choice emphasizes the spiritual significance of the eight miracles, whereas the synoptic gospels employ the Greek dunameis accentuating power. The eight signs are: (1) turning water into wine (Jn. 2:1-11), (2) healing of the nobleman’s son (Jn. 4:46-54), (3) healing of the lame man (Jn. 5:1-9), (4) feeding of the 5,000 (Jn. 6:1-14), (5) walking on water (Jn. 6:15-21), (6) healing of a blind man (Jn. 9:1-12), (7) raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:1-44), (8) the miraculous catch of fish (Jn. 21:1-11). John seems to have organized the signs in particular settings as a commentary on the institutions and festivals of Judaism. Accordingly, there appears to be a connection between the seven discourses and the seven signs found with the “Book of Signs.”  Each sign uniquely facilitates John’s purpose to lead the reader to believe by pointing to a unique aspect of Jesus divine power. But what about Jesus’ own resurrection?
Was His resurrection just another sign amongst many? In a sense that it authenticated Jesus yes, but in the same manner as the other signs no. While the resurrection is certainly the central evidence authenticating Jesus ministry, I think it stands apart from the other signs. It is the very foundation of the Christian faith. Christianity “stands or falls with the question of His bodily resurrection.”  When Jesus resurrected Lazarus, it was called a sign by the Pharisees (Jn. 11:47). Morris contends that this sign and the “good shepherd” discourse are linked to “set forth emphatically that Christ has supreme authority over death.” Yet he does not call the resurrection a sign. When Jesus rose, he was considered dead. So in this sense, he was not performing a sign. It was external from the physical person of Jesus. Thus tt was much more than a “sign” in the sense of Jesus other miracles. In fact, it was necessarily an external authentication from heaven. The NT is clear that the Father raised Jesus (Gal. 1:1, Rom. 10:9). Boice writes, “The resurrection proved that Jesus Christ is who he claimed to be and that he accomplished what he claimed to have come to earth to accomplish.” The resurrection was a supernatural event so well evidenced and undeniable that it has served to validate the Christian faith for the last 2000 years. Paul wrote in his first letter to Corinth that if “Christ is not raised, your faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15:17a). It was the ultimate and final sign to stand for all time. It stands alone in a unique category as the ultimate apologetic.
Stay tuned for the Resurrection Challenge!
Gary M. Burge, The NIV Application Commentary: John (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 41.
William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 920.
Elmer Towns. The Gospel of John: Believe and Live. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002, xiii.
 Leon Morris. Jesus is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John. Grand Rapids MH: Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1989, 22.
John F. Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord (Galaxie Software, 2008; 2008), 191.
 Leon Morris. Jesus is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of Lohn. Grand Rapids MH: Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1989, 38.
James Montgomery Boice, Foundations of the Christian Faith : A Comprehensive & Readable Theology (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 341.