Catholic Apologetics




The Lord has spoken!
He didn't leave mankind to its own insufficient forces.
The eternal Word of the Father has come to us as the Light of all light to expel the darkness from the world and to make shine before our minds the glorious and inspiring ideal of a happiness that's both perfect and attainable.
God himself has come to visit us, and thus he showed that his love for man has no limits. The Creator of heaven and earth and the Source of all life and all light appeared in history as a mere servant. The Son of the Father has become a man and he stayed among us for a while as the best of our brothers. By teaching us his lessons and offering us the merits of his life, he laid in our hands the happiness we were longing for but could find nowhere.
When confronted with this event, which was the most magnificent of all times, many of us adopted an attitude of doubt and followed a wait and see policy, while others even received it with hostility. But those that believed in the Son of God and accepted his light and his strength, were born again by their confessions of faith and became his brothers and sisters and children of the Father.

Among the many eye witnesses, it's John Baptist, the most beloved disciple of the Lord, who can best tell us about the Revelation that was brought to us by the Word: the Revelation of a grace only God can give and of a truth that's not human:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was all the life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not accept it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
He came to that which was his own, but his own people did not receive him.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has preceded me because he existed before me'."
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

In this prologue of the Gospel by Saint John, which is both deep and harmonious, God, by means of his Son, gives a surprising answer to the two questions that man is naturally asking himself: if there is a higher light over those numerous problems the divine poses to his life, and if there is a stronger force by which the divine may help him.
Only by the light of faith can we understand the essence of the reality John is speaking about when saying he saw the glory of the Word which, being God's Son, is full of grace and truth. However, everyone can also sufficiently ascertain by the natural facts of history that the central idea of the Old Testament, expecting the Messiah while knowing God is with us - Emmanuel - , found its highest and most perfect form in the figure of Jesus Christ who once lived among us.
For history clearly speaks of the Son of God who became man in times that passed long ago but are still visible.
We may feel offended because we think God was 'scandalously' humiliated when the Word became flesh, or because we think human nature is overrated and sublimated beyond recognition when someone says it may be combined with divine nature in the person of Jesus. But these things can only be decided upon when, considering Jesus' life and influence, we see if he was indeed both God and man, as he said he was.

Whoever asks if Jesus may have been mistaken when he called himself both God and man, while exhibiting divine forces until his death, only shows he clearly doesn't know the historical Christ, whose distinct characteristics were organically united in his living Person.
And whoever thinks the incarnation of the Word is so scandalous he has to take its unacceptability as his first axiom in the historical research into the miraculous events of the first decades of our era, may conclude the eye witnesses were unreliable visionary men, or early christian legends made the tales about their adventures even more miraculous, but his judgment is premature because of his a-priori that isn't firmly based on the sound principles of metaphysics and can easily be contradicted by the facts.
But whoever can value the historical testimony of the Gospels without prejudice, judges without doubt that Christ was both God and man and these two natures were in him independently united.
A serious examiner has only one question we can understand: he may ask himself from the beginning of his research whether the Christ of the Gospels is the divine Person of the Word who accepted human nature, or only a man who thinks he's God.
Aut Deus aut non bonus homo - Either he is God or he isn't a good man.
Either Christ rightly says He's God, or He's a man who deceives himself and other people.
Of course, Catholics and, in general, Christians who honestly bear their Christian names, can't ask themselves such a question. In their faith they are confident about the fact their Redemptor and Saviour is the eternal Son of the Father, who accepted human nature in history to regain our right to heaven and to be children of God. However, he also knows that outsiders who don't have the certainty of faith, could have difficulties related to the question if man can know the God-Man of history who was God with the Father, but wasn't foreign to anything human, except for sin and temptation to sin.

Did God really approach mankind so closely as the infinite distance between the uncreated divine and the created human can allow in the hypostatic union of two natures in one Person?
By the way Christ is speaking about himself and the four evangelists describe him for us, we know he really is the Deus Incarnatus - God who became man - who for many reasons can rightly give himself the titles of the promised Messiah.
He calls himself or allows others to call him: Son of Man, Son of the Father, Son of God. And He is fully entitled to these names of honour, not only by the divine power with which He controls the turbulent elements and the storms in man's life, and frustrates the tricks of his enemies or reanimates dead bodies, but also because His divine forces show he is the highest judge whom his Father in heaven authorized to sit on his celestial throne at the end of times to judge the quick and the dead.
We can't separate his miracles from the fact He will judge us.
Whoever acknowledges that his visible works are divine, finds no reason and has no right to doubt his power to decide upon the unseen and the future. By the supernatural performances that Jesus' contemporaries perceived, He has convinced us He was sent by the Father and teaches us the highest truth, and his life fulfils the highest vocation: the truth and vocation which the Catholic Church emphasizes in the doctrine about Jesus' mediatorship between God, who is being insulted, and man, who has lost his original glory and finds no fulfilment in himself.

We can admit that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not intend to give us an accurate biography of Jesus, because their Gospel is too much an outline, and leaves too much to tradition. Even those exegetes who are subordinate to the Church mostly think it was not the intention of the Evangelists to give a detailed biography of Jesus; instead, the sacred writers intended to preserve for future generations a survey of the most impressive events in the life of the Saviour.

Christ, as the Evangelists describe him, truly is the Bringer of salvation, who deserves our faith and our love because his mind has the power to predict and because of his miraculous inversions of the normal phenomenons of nature.
He is a man like other men, but nonetheless He is far above the limited universe of time and space. Almost every page of the Gospel makes us enthusiastic about the divine glory Jesus' personality is full of.
Jesus can dispose of the blind powers of nature. By a single word or a gesture of his hand he calms the wildest storms at sea. He needs no herbs to cure the ill. He doesn't even refer to a higher power when recalling the dead to life. He does everything under his own power. He knows the secrets of everyone He bumps into. He condemns the Pharisees because of their mean intrigues, which they thought were hidden for everybody. He forgives the sins of them who dare to honestly confess their wickedness.
He himself knows no secrets. He doesn't use tricks. When his enemies reproach him with being possessed by the devil, this reproach doesn't touch him.
He is almighty and holy. His works and preaching show He is omnipotence in person, and this makes clear He is the Son of God.
Therefore nobody has a reason to doubt the truth of his words when He says: "The Father laid everything in my hands. Nobody knows the Son except the Father; and nobody knows the Father except the Son and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
This is also the reason why his preaching is true and serious when he addresses his disciples as follows: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, He will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."
Jesus was in his very nature God. And He did not consider equality with God something He was tenacious of.

{{Already in the first few centuries of Christianity, several heresies denied that Jesus, as He appears in the Gospels, is God. For instance, think of the doctrines about Christ of Ebionites, Nicolaites, Gnostics, Adoptians and Arians.

In our days, the liberal Christus-Forschung, which is only possible where one dares to speak of a tension between rationalistic denial of things supernatural and faithful acceptance of Jesus' divine personality, has many characteristics of a "chaos presque absolu".
We find the cause of this confusion in the principle of liberal research, which made the Reformation possible, so has to be maintained by Protestantism, but also in the theological considerations of Immanuel Kant and Friederich Schleiermacher, whose influence on faithful thinking of the generations after them was in the full sense of the word "unblest".

Several parties have tried to gather the numerous opinions and divide them in some principal groups.
Professor dr WJ Aalders thinks there are three directions, characterized by the method they use:
I the historic-critical direction, which "emphasizes the human Jesus";
II the psychological-philosophical direction, which "tends to see in Christ the idea of the principle of the world, from which the historical reality of Jesus' time should be separated because of its being accidental and passing;
III the ethical-religious, which limits the divine nature of Jesus in a way like Arius did.
Of course, professor Aalders has a right to classify the distinct forms of liberal considerations of Christ in his own way, like others who want to do it in another way. However, many nuances continue to exist. In the liberal criticism of the divine character of Christ there are so many shades we can easily lose the view on the principal colours.

After the hypothesis of deceit of Hermann Reimarus, the hypothesis of tendenz of Ferdinand Christian Baur and the hypothesis of myth of David Friederich Strausz, whose original forms are already old-fashioned, the new endeavours to take from the figure of Christ of the Gospel its original glory may be a bit less audacious, but they are not less malicious.
Wilhelm Bousset, Paul Schmiedel, Arthur Drews, Gustav Volkmar, Heinrich Holzmann, Adolf Hilgenfeld, William Wrede, Adolf von Harnack, Alfred Loisy, Rudolf Bultmann, Albert Schweitzer, Gerhart Hauptmann, Karl Kautsky, Rudolf Steiner, Erich Fromm, Alfred Rosenberg, C Binet-Sanglé, H Berguer - and in our country GA van de Bergh van Eysingha, JL Snethlage, A Bruining, KH Roessingh and others - are only a few of the numerous names that cover as many opinions, each of which claims it has made a find of its own, but which all deny God the power to reveal himself as He wishes.
The keenest condemnation of modern criticism of the Scriptures is modern criticism of the Scriptures itself. It is so divided and goes through so many fluctuations and transformations within less than a few generations that only the most persistent defenders of pluriform truth can take it serious.
The Copernican revolution of Immanuel Kant, whose name Immanuel doesn't suit him, brought much harm in the domain of liberal bible research.}}

Yet, at the same time, Jesus is completely human.
He was born of an earthly mother, belongs to a certain family, descends from king David, and has kinsmen among his contemporaries.
Except for sin, nothing human is foreign to his nature.
He has to eat and drink, rest and sleep. He feels pain in his body, and has pity on suffering fellow people. He can feel grief and cry, but also be rejoiced with the glad. He is full of humility, he obeys and prays. He loves his friends, but hates the malevolence in the evil doers. He fears death, dies on the cross, and sheds his blood for the well-being of his fellow people.
The Gospel is the description of the person Jesus; it describes the man in the full tragedy of his earthly existence.
But however bad the adversity may be that troubles this man, and however smarting the many worries that he lives through, we don't think for a moment there are powers active which are stronger than the will of Jesus. We may even say fate has never any chance in his life. Because Jesus is always confident of his own strength and certain of his glory in the end.
Here is a man who's entirely and exclusively standing in the light of his divine vocation.
He is the perfect human being, man at his best.

The promised Messiah

Disponit Deus omnia suaviter - God arranges everything in a gentle way: He proceeds cautiously and prepares everything.
The historical fact of holy Incarnation, too, was preceded by a careful preparation, which was both long and radical, and had to be so, because human mind is slow and can't easily accustom to a truth that's not compatible with the laws of experience and usually doesn't come close to the level of the independent thinker who can imagine the possibilities of God.
Revelation didn't fall from heaven like a meteor, and Jesus didn't appear before mankind in a sudden, unexpected and intrusive way. Since times long past He had his heralds who through the centuries were pointing at the happy hour wherein the Liberator would rise up to bring salvation where no escape seemed possible. As the holy hour came nearer, their voice became stronger and their words more eloquent. And when the great event of Incarnation had finally happened and Jesus began his task of teaching, He could prove his identity of God-Man by recalling the predictions Yahweh himself had done by the mouth of the prophets.

When an event is realized in future after it has been foretold in the past, the prediction proves its worth.
A prediction by God himself or in God's name, as distinguished from a prophecy a man may venture upon while confident of the expected result, is indicating a future event that can't possibly be deduced as a normal phenomenon from the reality we experience.
This essential distinction between divine and human predictions is closely related to the distinction between divine and human knowledge.
Whereas a man only knows the existence of the things he perceives with his senses or are necessarily presupposed by the perception, God knows everything that exists: things of the visible world and of the invisible world, things created and not created, things normal and incidental, things of the past and the present and the future. Man can only predict future things in so far as he can know them with certainty, so these aren't many, because nature plays with the expectations of man, and God may put a premature end to most of the dreams of man about the future, so human capability to predict is limited to the (extensive) domain of probability.
However, God foresees everything with certainty, because all future things depend on their intelligent Creator.

In words that became clearer in the course of time, the prophets of the Old Testament have often spoken of the Person of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
These predictions clearly are divine and can't be explained as human conjectures.

The Messiah will be God.
The psalmist calls Him Son of God. Isaiah announces Him as Emmanuel - God with us, who will be known as the "miraculous Counsellor, the divine Hero, the eternal Father and the Monarch of peace". According to Jeremiah his name is "Yahweh, our Justice". And Daniel recognizes in Him the Son of Man, to whose power all peoples and nations and tongues should be subservient and who will come at the end of times, seated on the clouds.

The Messiah will be man as well.
When the sceptre of Judah has gone, He will be born of a virgin in Bethlehem as a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from the lineage of king David. He will have to endure all harms and sorrows and his task will be prepared by a preacher whom he will send before Him as a herald.

The Messiah will be a priest.
"You are a priest forever, just like Melchizedek", testifies the psalmist about Him. The sacrifice He's going to make will be the voluntary death of reconciliation, by which He takes our guilt upon himself as the Man of sorrows, and gives God reconciliation for our crimes:
"But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed."
Meek as a lamb, He will have himself led to the slaughter. They will pierce his hands and feet. The villains will part his garments among them, and cast lots upon his vesture.

The Messiah will be a king, and the greatest teacher of his people.
The future Redeemer will inherit the throne of his ancestor David. All nations will go to Him, and He will bless them. As the king of peace, He will make his entry, seated on a she-ass. As the king of life and death, He will rise from his grave.
More than all others, it was Isaiah who saw the Messiah as the Elect of Yahweh, whose mission will be to bring judgment to the Gentiles:
"Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; my Elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him: He shall bring judgment to the Gentiles."
Isaiah gives the answer to this mission when he makes the Servant of Yahweh say:
"The Spirit of Yahweh, my Lord, is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of mercy of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."

Whoever reads the story of Jesus' eventful life, as the Evangelists eloquently have told it to us without mannerism, can't but notice that the many distinct characteristics of the Person of the God-Man which are dispersed in the books of the Old Testament, covering several centuries, find their synthetical equilibrium in the historical Jesus.
It is difficult to imagine someone else but Jesus could have convinced us he had a divine mission by referring to old predictions about the Messiah, who was at the same time God and man, King and servant, full of glory and full of humiliation, and both eternal and mortal.
It is true: Yahweh himself has spoken, and thus God's own authoritative word has confirmed that the redemption by the God-Man was possible.
However, if the mystery of a humiliated God and a deified man should miss this certainty, we would justly ask what virgin Mary asked the angel Gabriel who brought her the glad tidings: "Quomodo fiet istud - How can this happen?"
Now that God himself has sealed the incarnation of his Son by the authority of his prophecy, it seems this question isn't just anymore. Everything indicates it's this historical Jesus who fulfilled the predictions of the Old Testament.
When Jesus is referring to the old prophecies, it doesn't sound strange. When He undergoes the hardest trials a human life can undergo, and yet performs miracles, or when He gradually reveals the secret of his deity while his human nature remains visible, then the words "as it is written" seem self-evident.
Therefore, no human testimony is so honest and understandable as the testimony of Simon Peter, who, after Jesus' question "But you, who do you think I am?" answered "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!"

Jesus' life is full of miracles

The mystery of the Incarnation of God not only made itself acceptable by fulfilling the predictions of the Old Testament. The miracles wrought in Jesus' name or by himself, too, speak eloquently for its credibility.
Jesus' life is full of miracles, which in many cases intend to validate the new doctrine of salvation with a divine stamp.
The value of a miracle can be situated in two domains: in the miracle itself, in so far as it is exempt from the laws of nature, and in the truth or reality which the miracle confirms. Its worth is proportionate to the degree in which it surpasses the forces of the universe and to the importance of the divine message it legitimates.

God has created the world and did so of his free will.
It turns out to be a world striving after its highest perfection. All distinct parts of the universe contribute proportionate to their natural disposition and aim at the actualization of their potency. We trust God will in the end perfect the universe.
Whatever God does is good. But He could have done something else as well.
Nothing can force the Creator to reveal His infinite goodness through this finite creation. Likewise, nothing can force Him to make the universe evolve the way the separate creatures seem to predict by their striving.
The created laws of nature are such as God willed them to be. The Creator doesn't depend on the things He calls to existence through a free act of love. He is far above that.
It's good we realize this principal truth when facing the miraculous fact of Jesus' life on the earth, because we use to think mechanically and thereby erroneously.
The miracle doesn't intend to strike us with fear. Its intention is to make us admire the Majesty of God who by interfering in the normal course of nature reveals his eternal presence more than by not interfering.

{{It's almost self-evident many people doubt a miracle is possible. For the miracle seems to express in space and time that God acts arbitrarily, which is unacceptable and doesn't fit in the closed system of scientists nor in the harmonious structure of the cosmos.
When philosophers say the miracle is impossible, this is related to their deterministic view on God.
That's why we aren't flabbergasted when Baruch Spinoza writes the miracle isn't really an exception to the laws of nature, because it obeys them like all other facts, but we only can't explain immediately what we perceive.
That Gottfried von Leibniz refuses to believe miracles exist doesn't surprise us, either. In his doctrine of the 'harmonia praestabilitata', which says the order in the universe has been established from the beginning, he says there can't exist any miraculous exception to the normal course of events.
Among the more recent important philosophers, above all John Stuart Mill and Edouard Le Roy have negated the possibility of the 'unnatural' miracle. Mill intended to conclude by induction that the course of nature is regular. Le Roy wrote that the 'continuité mouvante' of the dynamical evolution of nature makes the miracle chanceless.

Apart from short-sighted materialism, which denies everything related to God or religion, the fight against miracles is the fiercest but the least impressive with the rationalistic Bible experts.
Ernest Renan says he wants to believe in miracles if only we can establish miracles did happen in history. However, there has never been a scientific proof of a historical miracle before a competent and unprejudiced court of critics.
Adolf von Harnack thinks more like Auguste Sabatier, who considers a miracle as a surprising act of God who hears a prayer, which, however, can be explained scientifically. Von Harnack thinks, without giving any proof, "dasz, was in Raum und Zeit geschieht, den allgemeinen Gesetzen der Bewegung unterliegt, dasz es also kein Wunder geben kann".

Not only because of the Catholic revealed concept of God are we pleading that the miracle is possible and does really exist, nor do we insist that Jesus' miraculous life is historical only because we are faithful and therefore allegedly 'prejudiced'.
The deterministic philosophers don't understand this because they erroneously think God can't create of His own free will.
Likewise, the rationalistic Bible experts don't understand it because of their narrow-minded view on the world, which gradually has become the plain scientism of an imaginary 'monde isolé'.}}

Jesus' life is full of miracles. In fact, it's one great miracle from the birth up to and including the ascension.
It breaks through all convention, ridicules the approved rules of dull social correctness, and surprises both friends and enemies again and again.
Jesus' words always hit the target. His behaviour is a bit exceptional in all circumstances. His personality makes an impression everywhere and seems 'different' and supernatural.
This life captures us, because it contrasts with our own lives wherein we meet less and smaller problems, which, however, we can't completely solve.
This life convinces us, because it is in all aspects meritorious. All routine and love of ease are strange to him. He is guided by a higher and more difficult ideal than his own well-being and doesn't ask anything for himself.

We understand very well that the modest way the Man from Nazareth was a king didn't fulfil the high-pitched but too human expectations people thought they could entertain on the base of national pride and by a reference to the Scriptures.
A king who is born in poverty and spends the longest part of his life in the workshop of his father, doesn't suit the image of a well developed society and culture. Especially it didn't fit in with the world of thoughts of the Jewish people, which was proud on a past wherein the glory of the royal power and the dignity of all had inspired neighbouring nations with awe.
This king lacked the properties that make a monarch great in the eyes of his subjects.
It seemed He fled not only the homage but also the right to receive it. And when He went down in the prime of his young life and his kingship broke down without glory, not because of the superior power of a foreign tyrant, nor by the force of an army, not even by an arbitrary illness or physical accident, but by the intrigues of some personal enemies, the sigh of the discouraged disciples on their road to Emmaus seemed just: "But we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel".
As Jesus clearly broke through the common notions of routine, because He was an incorrigible revolutionary and took roads He couldn't take according to conservative people, He also played with the normal course of physical phenomenons.
He did this not just once, alone or in a small circle of initiates, but repeatedly and often before many that didn't even believe in him.
The miracle by which He transformed water into wine, happened on a wedding. Near Betsaida He fed five thousand men, not including women and children, with only five loaves of bread and two fishes. Some time later on, He repeated the same miracle somewhere near the Ten Cities. There, too, He made the set of provisions more than a hundred times as large.
And how often did Jesus reveal his glory before many people by performing a miraculous sudden healing?
The people of Jerusalem, Jericho, Capharnaum and Betsaida, of Genesareth and the region of Tyrus and Sidon, of Gerasa and Samaria, could tell how the Man of Nazareth was able to change the normal course of a disease. Blind, deaf, mute and lame, crippled and lepers and people possessed by the devil, for total recovery didn't need anything else but faith in his divine power and a single word of a silent gesture made by Him. Sometimes it even sufficed to hastily touch his clothes.
Jesus could even raise dead people.
Jairus' little daughter rose from her death bed by the words 'Talitha Koum'. At the command of Jesus, the young man of Naim rose from the bier whereon his inanimate body was lying when people carried him to the churchyard. And Lazarus, Jesus' friend, was allowed to return to life when his dead body already was exhibiting signs of decomposition.
The miracles Jesus wrought in the brute nature may seem less impressive, but are really as superhuman and divine.
He had no difficulty at all in calming down a dangerous storm, making the water level suited to walk upon, or providing a large take of fish from the lake beyond the laws of skill and zeal.
And, finally, it was equally miraculous when Jesus saw through people and read deep secrets in their hearts, like he did with Nathanael and the Samaritan woman, or when He predicted events that happened later on just as He had foreseen them, like with the prophecies of Judas' betrayal and Peter's denial.

Sometimes we can't easily decide with certainty upon the limits between natural human activity and divine miracle, because we don't exactly know all human forces, so we could erroneously say God performs a miracle when in fact man himself is the main cause of the phenomenon.
But why should we lose ourselves in the difficulties of an uncertain phenomenon when there are so many miracles that speak for themselves?
Most important is to know Jesus' human nature proved, by performing palpable miracles, He was able to create phenomenons that can't create themselves but can only be called into existence by a direct act of God who reigns all things that are existing or possible.
This way we can see Jesus' nature is in God's hand and God chose to make this nature sacred.
When Jesus calls himself the Man whom God sent, He has every right to say so.
Jesus always has a right to say as he wills, because God bears witness to it.
Every act of Jesus is convincing us. And we have to trust every sentence He says.

Above all, Jesus' resurrection convinces us of his divine mission and the truth of his word. It is the greatest miracle of all times.
Here is not a living man who heals an ill person, nor a wonder worker who raises his deceased friend. Here the power of one person is not standing against the powerlessness of another. Here we only have the stiff inanimate body, the lonesome vacancy of death.
After reading the history of Jesus' passion, who can doubt the real downfall of this human life?
Jesus really died.
After the hours of murderous tension, wherein the double torment of human sin and forthcoming crucifixion beats us with horror, one friend betrays Him and another denies he knows Him. A furious people is taunting Him, jealous priests are badgering Him, a lingering governor is handing Him down to the people. A debauched king mocks at Him. And when they had given the soldiers free scope, these kicked at Him and lashed Him. They put a crown of thorns on his head and didn't rest before they could mock at the king of one day under the cross whereon He was hanging, bleeding and defenceless between heaven and earth.
Jesus died at the cross.
Soldiers did a post-mortem examination, and when they didn't doubt the decease, some friends were allowed to balm and bury the body.
But this dead Man was raised too.
Jesus had predicted He would rise from the grave within three days. All his predictions are fulfilled. This one too.
"After the Sabbath, at daybreak on the first day of the new week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to visit the grave. And behold, there was a heavy earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, came nearer, rolled the stone away, and sat down upon it. His face was like lightning and his cloth white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women: 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell it to his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them, and greeted them. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him." (Matthew 28)
Nothing could stop the fulfilment of Jesus' prophecy about his return from the domain of the deceased.
Jewish priests had sealed the stone before the grave, and soldiers were keeping watch.
It were small human precautions that couldn't do anything against the irresistible power of divine will which clearly had been the foundation of the life of Man from Galilee and couldn't allow that the accomplices of lie and injustice would continue to rejoice at the downfall of Him whom they considered as their worst enemy, whereas He was the best friend of mankind.

{{In order to do away with the scandal of the rise from the grave by explaining it naturally, the enemies of faithful Christianity put the greatest miracle of all times under the light of solemnly announced hypotheses which always seem more important than they really are and most often contradict both the elementary laws of psychology and the possibilities of normal nature.

For instance, we have Hermann Reimarus' hypothesis of conceit. It reduces the whole history of resurrection to the most foolish case of a man who wrongly says he's the Messiah, whose plan fails because of the death sentence the High Counsel pronounces and Pontius Pilate makes being executed, and who after many weeks suddenly is said to have risen because common people don't know disciples took away Jesus from the grave but remember their teacher spoke about his future resurrection.

Furthermore, we have the hypothesis of Heinrich Paulus, who says Jesus was only apparently dead. According to him, biological and medical considerations exclude a fast and sudden death. The bleeding from the wound of the thrust with the lance, the coolness of the grave, and the sharp spices, make Jesus conscious again. He puts off the shroud, puts on the overall of a gardener, and appears to Mary Magdalene and other trusty followers, like risen from death.

Finally, we have the hypothesis of illusion. Strausz, Renan and von Harnack each have a distinct image of the Lord's resurrection. They make every sharpwitted observation, but leave to the psychologists and psychiaters an even greater enigma than the one they are trying to resolve. They all think Jesus' appearances to the Apostles and the Disciples on the road to Emmaus weren't real, but dreams and hallicunations of people with weak minds who were overstrained by the strange adventures of their beloved friend and teacher.}}

People who came to Jesus with a honest interest were convinced that the miracles Jesus wrought proved He was authorized by the Father who sent him.
Jesus often referred to the miracles He performed before the crowds to confirm his divine mission. When the disciples of John Baptist came to see what was already clear to Jesus, they asked him: "Are you the one we are waiting for?".
Jesus answered: "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed; the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor."
Among common people, too, many were convinced that Jesus must be the promised Messiah. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this Man?”

We need not demonstrate that the Resurrection, more than the other miracles, shows God's complacency with the life and doctrine of Jesus. It is more than the sign of Jonas who stayed in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, and came out of it unharmed. That's why the preaching of Jesus is even more credible than the preaching of Jonas.
The risen Christ struck with a sudden fear the holy women who met him on the morning of Easter. But the fear soon was transformed to happiness. The frightfulness of the living corpse, the improbability of the resurrection, has become for numerous people the beginning of the only true joy: the joy of the children of God.
Can we be surprised when reading in the Gospel of Saint Luke that the Apostles bore witness of the resurrection of Jesus the Lord with much enthusiasm?
What could they preach about that was more interesting?
Can't we understand the sacrifices of Saint Paul, who had to suffer tortures because he defended the Lord's resurrection, if we think of the most important truth of Christianity: that the preaching of the priests and the faith of the faithful can't be idle because Jesus has risen?