Resurrection: Where's the Evidence?
resurrection. Some might wonder what all the fuss is about,
thinking, Who cares? What difference does it make if Jesus rose
from the dead? And if he did, where's the evidence?
First of all, it makes all the
difference in the world. If Christ did not rise, then thousands
of believers have died as martyrs for a hoax.
If he did rise, then
he is still alive and can offer peace to troubled, hurting
lives. Countless scholars 'among them the apostle Paul,
Augustine, Sir Isaac Newton and C.S. Lewis 'believed in the
resurrection. So we need not fear committing intellectual
suicide by believing it also.
Paul, a first-century skeptic,
turned believer, wrote that "Christ died for our sins...he was
buried...he was raised on the third day...he appeared to Peter,
and then to the Twelve (disciples). After that, he appeared to
more than five hundred...at the same time, most of whom are
still living" (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
Now let 's consider the
1. The explosive growth of the
Christian movement. Within a few weeks after Jesus was
crucified, a movement arose which, by the later admission of its
enemies, "upset the world." What happened to ignite this
movement shortly after its leader had been executed?
2. The disciples ' changed
lives. After Jesus ' arrest and crucifixion, most of the
disciples fled in fear. Peter denied three times that he was a
follower of Jesus. (The women were braver and stayed to the
end.) Yet ten out of the eleven disciples (Judas committed
suicide.) were martyred for their faith. According to tradition,
Peter was crucified upside down; Thomas was skewered; John was
boiled in oil but survived. What turned these cowards into
heroes? Each believed he had seen Jesus alive again.
3. The empty tomb. Jesus '
corpse was removed from the cross, wrapped like a mummy and
placed in a solid-rock tomb.
A one-and-a-half to two-ton
stone was rolled into a slightly depressed groove to seal the
tomb 's entrance.
A "Green Beret"-like unit of
Roman soldiers guarded the grave. Sunday morning, the stone was
found rolled away, the body was gone, but the grave clothes were
still in place. What happened? Did Christ 's friends steal the
Perhaps one of the women
sweet-talked (karate-chopped?) the guards while the others moved
the stone and tiptoed off with the body. Or maybe Peter
(remember his bravery) or Thomas (Doubting Thomas) overpowered
the guards, stole the body, then fabricated 'and died for 'a
These theories hardly seem
plausible. The guard was too powerful, the stone too heavy and
the disciples too spineless to attempt such a feat.
Did Christ 's enemies steal the
body? If Romans or Jewish religious leaders had the body, surely
they would have exposed it publicly and Christianity would have
died out. They didn 't, and it didn 't.
The "Swoon Theory" supposes
that Jesus didn 't really die but was only unconscious. The
expert Roman executioners merely thought he was dead. After a
few days in the tomb without food or medicine, the cool air
He burst from the 100 pounds
of grave clothes, rolled away the stone with his nail-pierced
hands, scared the daylights out of the Roman soldiers, walked
miles on wounded feet and convinced his disciples he 'd been
raised from the dead. This one is harder to believe than the
4. The appearances of the
risen Christ. For 40 days after his death, many different people
said they saw Jesus alive. Witnesses included a woman, a shrewd
tax collector, several fishermen and over 500 people at once.
These claims provide further eyewitness testimony to the
As a skeptic myself, I came to
realize that attempts to explain away the evidences run into a
brick wall of facts that point to one conclusion: Christ is
The above does not constitute
an exhaustive proof, rather a reasoned examination of the
evidence. Each interested person should evaluate the evidence
and decide whether it makes sense. Of course, the truth or
falsity of the resurrection is a matter of historical fact and
is not dependent on anyone 's belief. If the facts support the
claim, one can conclude that he arose. In any case, mere
intellectual assent to the facts does little for one 's life.
A major evidence comes
experientially in personally receiving Jesus ' free gift of
forgiveness. He said, "I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with
him [or her]" (Revelation 3:20).
Dear God, I believe that Jesus
died for my sins and that He rose again, and I want to
personally receive His free gift of forgiveness right now. I 'm
sorry for not believing in Him before. I turn my life over to
You now, and ask that You use me as You will. Amen.
Also go to this link for some good
information about the resurrection