Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. This isn’t a myth or a fable, but a fact of history. Below are some reasons why we believe the resurrection to be true:
#1 Jesus certainly died on the cross
Over the years, some have thought that Jesus only faked his death on the cross, swooning in order to make it appear like he died. This is completely implausible. The Romans were efficient, trained executioners. They made sure Jesus was dead. There is no way he could have survived his flogging, his time on the cross, and the wound from the spear that pierced his side. Jesus died.
#2 The testimony of the female disciples
The Gospels tell us that some of Jesus’ female followers were the first to find the empty tomb. This is a remarkable historical detail because in the first century women were viewed as second-class citizens and their testimony was generally unacceptable. If you were creating a story about the resurrection of Jesus, you would have someone like Peter, James, or John find the empty tomb, not a group of women. The only reason this detail is in the Bible is because it reflects what actually happened.
#3 The testimony of eyewitnesses
After the resurrection, many people saw Jesus. If only one or two people claimed to see the risen Jesus, then perhaps we might think that they were fabricating the story. But the evidence shows us that Jesus appeared to hundreds. According to 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, Jesus appeared to the twelve disciples, a group of over 500 followers at one time, James, all the apostles, and finally Paul.
#4 The changed lives of the disciples
After the crucifixion, the disciples were living in fear, hiding behind closed doors. In an instant, they were turned into a group of fearless people who offered themselves as public witnesses for the message of Jesus. They stayed strong in the face of opposition and imprisonment. Their number grew from a handful of faithful men and women in Jerusalem to a worldwide movement that went beyond the Roman Empire. What accounts for this change in their lives? The resurrection. The disciples were willing to die for their faith. How many people are willing to die for something that they know to be false? Also, if the disciples were lying, how likely is it that the early Christians would have been able to cover up their lie when so many people knew the truth? Jesus’ friends died for their faith because they believed that he had been raised from the dead.
#5 The empty tomb
If the Romans or any of Jesus’ opponents wanted to put a stop to the spread of Christianity, there was one simple solution: produce Jesus’ body. This would have shown everyone that the resurrection was untrue. But, of course, no one could produce Jesus’ body. It was gone. It couldn’t have been stolen because the Romans guarded the tomb and it was closed with a large stone. The only plausible explanation is that the tomb is empty because Jesus rose from the dead.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Why is it important for the resurrection to be a fact of history?
- Which of the evidences listed in the article do you find the most compelling? Why?
- Why is the resurrection central to Christianity?
- If the resurrection happened, then what does this teach us about the nature of God?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.