Table of Contents
The Truthfulness of the Resurrection of Christ
There are solid historical reasons to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Some skeptics say that Jesus never really died and that He survived the crucifixion. This is unrealistic because the Romans are known to have been experts at killing their victims. There are early historical sources which testify to the crucifixion of Jesus including in all four New Testament gospels (50-100 A.D.), various epistles of Paul (48-62 A.D.), other non-Pauline epistles (48-90 A.D.) and even the Jewish Talmud (A.D. 70-200).
Jesus’ crucifixion is not just attested by the New Testament, but also by secular writers including the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus (A.D. 90-95), the Roman historian Tacitus (A.D. 115), Lucian of Samosota (2nd Century A.D.) and Mara Bar-Serapion (Late 1st to Early 3rd Centuries A.D.).
2-The Empty Tomb
There are numerous reasons to believe that the tomb was indeed empty on that Easter morning.
First, the disciples preached the gospel in Jerusalem in the midst of opposition. It would have been impossible for Christianity to survive and expand in Jerusalem if the body of Jesus was still in the tomb. All what the opponents of Jesus would have had to do was produce the body of Jesus and destroy this Christian movement before it even started.
Second, early enemies of Christianity never disputed that the tomb was empty. Instead, they argued that the disciples stole the body (Matthew 28:12-13; Justin Martyr, Trypho 108; Tertullian, De Spectaculis 30).
Third, the first witnesses to the empty tomb were women. Sadly, the testimony of women was not regarded highly in antiquity. If Christians were going to invent the empty tomb story, they most certainly would not have used women as the primary witnesses.
3-Jesus’ Appearance to Hundreds After His Death
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 testifies to the multiple resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ to individuals and groups of people. “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”
Paul received this creedal material from the early eyewitnesses of the resurrection appearances including Peter, James, and John when he went to Jerusalem (Galatians 1-2). This eyewitness testimony suggests that Jesus appeared to a large number of witnesses including Cephas, the twelve disciples, more than five hundred brethren and James.
4-The Transformation of the Disciples
The early disciples of Jesus Christ did not expect Him to ever face crucifixion and rise in the resurrection. Instead they expected him to defeat the Romans and deliver the kingdom of God to the nation of Israel (Acts 1:6). Christ’s death was an embarrassment to their faith.
But, something happened to radically change these weak defeated disciples into giant believers who were willing to die for their faith. It is something to preach the gospel and another to die for one’s faith. In fact, all of the twelve apostles died by martyrdom except John. They were able to do this because of the Resurrection of Christ.
Due to all of these reasons, we can proclaim with Paul, “Death is swallowed up in victory. ′O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
In His service,