for the Resurrection
Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?
to Jesus’ Resurrection
question, the amount of testimony and corroboration of Jesus’
post-Resurrection appearances is staggering. To put it in perspective, if
you were to call each one of the witnesses to a court of law to be cross
examined for just 15 minutes each, and you went around the clock without a
break, it would take you from breakfast Monday until dinner on Friday to
hear them all. After listening to 129 straight hours of eyewitness
testimony, who could possibly walk away unconvinced?”
(Lee Strobel, p.320)
group of eyewitnesses at one time is reported by the Apostle Paul:
–1 Corinthians 15:6 -
[Jesus] appeared to
of the brothers at the same time,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
Paul, in effect, invites them to verify this event by citing the fact that
most of the witnesses are still available!
Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9, John 20:14)
women returning from the tomb (Matthew 28:9-10)
- To Peter later in the day (Luke 24:34,
the Emmaus disciples (Luke
the apostles without Thomas (Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-24)
the apostles with Thomas present (John 20:26-29)
the seven by the Lake of Tiberias (John 21:1-23)
a multitude of 500-plus believers (1Corinthians 15:8)
James (1Corinthians 15:7)
the eleven (Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20, Luke 24:33-52, Acts 1:3-12)
the ascension (Acts 1:3-12)
Paul (Acts 9:3-6, 1Corinthians 15:8)
Stephen (Acts 7:55)
Paul in the temple (Acts 22:17-21, 23:11)
John on Patmos (Revelation 1:10-19)
Disciples Died for Their Beliefs
Jesus was Crucified, his followers were discouraged and depressed. They no
longer had confidence that Jesus had been sent by God, because they
believed anyone crucified was accursed by God. They also had been taught
that God would not let his Messiah suffer death. So they dispersed. The
Jesus movement was all but stopped in its tracks”
(Dr. J.P. Mooreland quoted in The Case for Christ, p.332)
Then Jesus told them
night he was to be crucified],
"This very night
you will all fall away on account of me,
for it is written: "'I will strike the shepherd, and
the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”
after a short period of time,
we see them abandoning their occupations, regathering, and committing them
selves to a very specific message – that
Jesus Christ was the
Messiah of God who died on a cross, returned to life, and
was seen alive by them.
•And they were
willing to spend the rest of their lives
proclaiming this, without any payoff
from a human point of view. It’s not as though there was a mansion awaiting
them on the Mediterranean. They faced a
life of hardship. They :
went without food
exposed to the elements
ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned
of them were executed in tortuous ways
•For what? Good
intentions? No, because
they were convinced
beyond a shadow of a doubt that
they had seen Jesus Christ alive from the dead.
•What you can’t
explain is how this particular group of men came up with this particular
belief without having had an experience of the resurrected Christ.
There’s no other adequate explanation."
(Dr. J.P. Mooreland quoted in The Case for Christ, p.333)
Yes, they were willing to die for
their beliefs. But so have many Muslims and
Mormons and followers of Jim Jones and David Koresh. This may show
that they were fanatical, but let’s face it:
it doesn’t prove that what they believed is true.
Think carefully about the difference.
might be willing to die for their belief that Allah revealed himself
to Muhammad, but this revelation was not done in a publicly observable
way. So they could be wrong about it. They may sincerely think it’s
true, but they can’t know for a fact, because
they didn’t witness it themselves.
the apostles were willing
to die for something they had seen with their own eyes
and touched with their own hands. They were in a unique position not
to just believe Jesus rose from the dead but to know for sure. And
when you’ve got eleven credible people with no ulterior
motives, with nothing to gain and a
lot to lose, who all agree they observed something with their own eyes
– now you’ve got some difficulty explaining that away.”
•Most people will die for their religious beliefs if they
sincerely believe they’re true, but people won’t die for their
religious beliefs if they know their beliefs are false.
•While most people
can only have faith that their beliefs are true, the
disciples were in a position to know without a
doubt whether or not Jesus had risen from the dead. They claimed
that they saw him, talked with him, and ate with him. If they weren’t
absolutely certain, they wouldn’t have allowed themselves to be
tortured to death for proclaiming the resurrection had happened. (The
Case for Christ, p.333-334)
Conversion of Skeptics
were hardened skeptics who didn’t believe in Jesus before his crucifixion –
and were to some degree dead-set against Christianity – who turned around
and adopted the Christian faith after Jesus’ death. There’s no good reason
for this apart from them having experienced the resurrected Christ.
James, the Brother of Jesus
–Did not believe
in Jesus and on at least one occasion publicly challenged Jesus (John
–Paul called him a “pillar”
of the church (Galatians 2:9)
–Was a leader in the
Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:13)
–Wrote the New Testament
letter that bears his name
–Josephus records that James
was martyred around A.D. 62 (The Antiquities 20.200)
Did James Life Change?
–Paul tells us: the
resurrected Jesus appeared to him (1Corinthians 15:7). There’s no
other reasonable explanation.
The Apostle Paul
- Paul After Christ’s Resurrection:
- Became the chief proponent of the
Did Paul’s Life Change?
Paul tells us in the Galatian letter was
caused him to make this 180-degree turn. By his own pen he says he saw
the risen Christ and heard Christ appoint him to be one of his
followers. (Galatians 1:12-16)
If you count Paul’s conversion as being evidence for the truth of the
Resurrection, you should count Muhammad’s conversion to Islam as being
evidence for the truth that Jesus was not resurrected, since
Muslims deny the Resurrection!
It is not the simple fact that Paul changed his views. You have to explain
how he had this particular change of belief:
•Paul saw the risen Christ in a public
event that was witnessed by others (Acts 9:1-9).
•Paul’s conversion went completely against
•Paul performed miracles to back up his
claims of being an apostle. In a public letter (2Corinthians 12:12) Paul
reminded the people in Corinth that he had performed miracles when he
was with them earlier.
•Claims he went into a cave and had a
religious experience in which Allah revealed the Koran to him. There’s
no other eyewitness to verify this.
•Muhammad offered no publicly miraculous
signs to certify anything.
Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?
"I have been
used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine
and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of
no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller
evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the
great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the