Why I Believe in Jesus' Resurrection
Without Jesus’ resurrection, Christianity collapses. His resurrection explains the church’s existence. It’d be foolish to begin a religion based on the easily disprovable claim that George Washington resurrected. Jesus’ tomb was empty. His dead body was never found.
Matthew, John, and Peter saw Jesus risen from the dead. Luke wrote, “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3, NIV). Paul’s writings suggest Jesus’ resurrection was widely accepted as a fact in the 50s and 60s A.D.
Jesus’ enemies’ earliest explanation of the resurrection was that His disciples stole the body. That doesn’t make sense. His disciples had everything to lose and nothing to gain by making up a resurrection story. All of them were persecuted because they preached it. Most of them were killed because of it. The disciples utterly believed in Jesus’ resurrection. It transformed them from cowardly hiders into self-sacrificing preachers.
Jewish or Roman authorities didn’t move Jesus’ body. If they could have, they’d have produced it to squash the preaching that Jesus had risen.
The women who first saw the empty tomb didn’t go to the wrong tomb. Joseph of Arimathea knew the right tomb. It was his. He would’ve corrected any such mistake. The Jewish and Roman authorities would have done the same.
Jesus didn’t somehow recover from His wounds in the tomb. If He did, He’d have been a world-class liar because He encouraged His followers to believe in and preach His resurrection.
Jesus’ followers saw Him alive from the dead. They didn’t hallucinate. None of them expected Him to resurrect. He had to persuade Thomas He really was risen from the dead (see the picture).
“You’ve been duped,” a critic commented on a blog I wrote about Jesus’ resurrection. His second comment: “It certainly is not because you personally witnessed Jesus stepping out of the tomb or because you really know what you’re even talking about.”
“My belief in the resurrection is based on the testimony of reliable witnesses, exactly the same as evidence is examined in our law courts today. See Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell. John Singleton Copley, one of the greatest legal minds in British history, said, ‘I know pretty well what evidence is, and I tell you, such evidence as that for the resurrection has never broken down yet.’ I don’t have to see John Wilkes Booth shoot Abraham Lincoln to know it happened.”
According to tradition, all but one of Jesus’ disciples died because they preached that Jesus had risen from the dead. People don’t die for a lie they know is a lie. The most reasonable explanation of their martyrs’ deaths is that they saw Jesus risen from the dead and never got over it!
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