evidence for the resurrection
It’s Easter time once again! A Sunday that marks the single most pivotal point of Christianity. If you want to prove Christianity is a hoax, all you must do is illustrate how the resurrection was a facade. It is absolutely essential to our salvation that Christ conquered death, for if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead our hope is lost. 1 Corinthians 15:14 likewise states, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Without the resurrection our belief is baseless, futile, unfounded, and foolish. So why is it we believe such an outlandish claim could actually happen, superseding the natural laws of earth? Here’s a few reasons
The Bible is the most historically accurate ancient text in the world When discussing the validity of history, it’s only reasonable to reference your source that has proven most reliable. The Bible is that source. No other record of ancient history has come CLOSE to matching the reliability of the Bible. If we say the Bible is untrustworthy, we must discard every other historical record as well because the Bible vastly surpasses every test of authenticity as no other book does. More on that here and here.
Yes, Jesus really died - Many people start off with the dispute that maybe Jesus wasn’t really dead. However, that neglects both the historical and circumstancial context. The Romans were masters at execution. They knew how to draw out suffering to the finest line between death and life, make it last for days on end. This was their art form. These men were proficient and practiced. Jesus was tortured, whipped with a scourge that often exposed bone and vital organs, tearing flesh from a body. Many people didn’t survive that alone. He was forced to carry a cross that could have weight up to 300lbs, and he crumpled under the weight, unable to bear it. Nails were driven through his wrist and through both his feet. Make note he would be unable to walk from the pain in his feet, his hands would be rendered useless. The way you hang on a cross causes death by asphyxiation, to breathe you had to push your self up with means grating your torn back against the wood and putting more pressure on the holes ripping your limbs. After Jesus died they speared his side to make certain he was dead and fluid came pouring out. The Romans checked thoroughly to make sure he was dead because they were shocked he died so quickly. He was bloated, swollen, and gored by death on a cross. Even if for arguments sake, Jesus was not yet dead, being in a tomb for three days would indisputably see to that. If blood loss didn’t kill him, infection certainly would. Additionally, Luke, one of eyewitnesses who recorded the events, was a doctor so his perspective is a notably authoritative one. (Luke 23-24).
The tomb was empty - There is no possible way Jesus, weakened to the point where the Roman masters of execution called his death, unable to use his hands or feet due to the spikes pounded into them, was able to roll away a MASSIVE boulder and over power two trained and able-bodied Roman soldiers. The idea that Jesus didn’t fully die on the cross and escaped the tomb is absurd. Furthermore, the guards stationed to prevent anyone from robbing the tomb and the Roman seal on the two-ton rock ensured that anyone who dared to even attempt to move it faced the death penalty themselves. If the guards themselves fell asleep they faced the same fate. There was a LOT at stake if Jesus’ body was taken, the Romans were taking no chances. Every other argument for the absence of Jesus’ body can quickly be dismantled by historical context and the circumstances by which these things took place.
It was prophesied - Isaiah talks about the particular circumstances of Jesus death, such as no bones would be broken, an unusual anomaly when it came to crucifixion. Jesus himself also foretells that he will rise within three days. Even smaller details like casting lots for His garments were spoken of hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Other prophesies like this show that Jesus’ death was no accident, God knew what He was doing. (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; John 18-20)
Eyewitness accounts - Jesus appeared to over 500 people after His resurrection, many of whom were alive at the time of the gospels being written and therefore could confirm or dispute their accuracy (1 Corinthians 15:6) Among those include the disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Paul the former murderer of Christians. The Bible records accounts of skeptism and unbelief, but they saw the scars on his hands, touched his solid flesh before them, heard his familiar voice, and they believed because of it. Paul became that which he initially DESPISED because of his encounter with Jesus Christ, that alone is a mind-blowing testimony. The man who hunted and killed Christians became a Christian who was willing to be tortured and killed because he so strongly believed in the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The apostles went from hiding in extreme fear to preaching the gospel in the face of deadly persecution - When Jesus died the apostles went into hiding. They were TERRIFIED that the Romans, the other Jews, would come after them next. Yet, after Jesus appears, they’re fearlessly preaching the gospel out in open crowds of THOUSANDS. It’s a dramatic switch of perspective. To go from quivering fear to such emboldened confidence, surely seeing Jesus standing risen before you would give you that kind of intrepidation. There is little else to explain how these men were suddenly ready to risk everything after being afraid to admit they ever knew Jesus just days before.
Apostles willing to die for Jesus - Now some people say the apostles stole the body of Jesus to convince people to turn to Christianity. The Bible says that lie was started by the Romans in order to discredit the apostles. However, almost all of the apolstles died for preaching the gospel, and all of them were severely persecuted. Why would they exchange their lives, their health, their reputation, their livelihoods, their comfort for something they knew was a lie? It simply makes no sense. The only logical conclusion is that they believed Jesus was the resurrected Christ.
Appearing to a woman first was a dumb move - The testimony of a woman would not be as respected as than of a man in those times. If Jesus’ resurrection was a ruse, the logical thing to do would be to claim he was seen by a male dignitary of noble standing, not a woman who had been previously possessed by demons - a social blemish (Luke 8:2). “Unflattering” facts like this, the cowardis of the apolstles, their initial skeptism, not recognizing Jesus right away, etc. lend to the credit of the account because it demonstrates an accurate retelling, not a fabrication that was crafted to deceptively sway the masses into false belief.
Vision, hallucination unlikely due to number of witnesses and circumstances - Jesus didn’t appear to two people and then go back to Heaven. He appeared to over 500 in all sorts of different locations. People who weren’t looking for him, people who didn’t believe it was Him until they had proof. Proof so certain that they were no longer afraid, they were filled with unextinguishable hope. We must also realize the historical context of the time in which it took place. It’s much easier to fabricate this kind of illusion today with the technology and way by which we pass on information. The time period in which the resurrection took place adds merit that should not be ignored. News was circulated in a manner that was unique to our present day process.
Non-Christian historians record the resurrection - Josephus, a renowned secular historian at the time of Jesus’ death, writes, “On the third day He appeared restored to life.” It should be noted there are many who debate the reliability of Josephus’ words regarding the resurrection, however, many historians find this evidence to support the Bible’s claims.
The persecution of the early church - Under Nero’s reign the early church suffered some of the most violent persecution, not to mention the Jewish leaders who also sought to kill the Christians. The steadfast resolve of a Church who was in its infant stage is astounding. The only explanation is that they all genuinely believed in the resurrection. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose by preaching the gospel, yet they did so freely despite the cost. If Christianity was based on a lie, it should have been easy to crush it as it was beginning. The fact that the force of the entire Roman Empire wasn’t enough to sway their devotion is incredible. The whole of the known world tried to annihilate Christianity in the cradle but couldn’t.
It is the accumulation of evidence that begs cause for belief - It is not for one singular reason that we believe Jesus rose from the dead, but rather the combined evidence that demands an explanation% that only the Bible provides. The proven accuracy of the Bible, the eyewitnesses details; the historical records of Jesus walking, eating, alive; the unexplainable absence in the tomb despite all efforts to seal it; the prophesies fulfilled; the change in people’s lives, the martyrs, the flourishing of the church in the face of persecution. It all points back to Jesus rising from the dead as the only reasonable explanation. The Bible consistently presents answers to questions the world has no answer for.
More comprehensive analysis and sources
Within these sources you’ll find more Biblical references, breaking down arguments and evidence, and quotes from some of the world’s finest minds and historians.
* The Resurrection of Christ: The Best Proved Fact in History
* Resurrection: No Doubt About It
* Biblical and Extra-Biblical Evidences
* Is the Resurrection True?
* Atheist’s Look at the Resurrection
Still got questions/comments? Shoot me an ask! I don’t usually reply to comments on long posts, but I’d certainly love to talk!