EVIDENCE for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (VIDEO)

EVIDENCE for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (VIDEO)

Three days following his death, Jesus was raised to life. The Christian faith relies on the truth of the resurrection in order to survive. Without it, we are nothing. Let’s look at reasons for support of the resurrection!

1.WOMEN WERE THE FIRST TO WITNESS IT

All four Gospels reported that women were the first to witness the empty tomb. It was a very patriarchal society back in biblical times, and if a story was going to be made up, it’d be more believable if the authors wrote that men were the first to discover it. But, the truth is, women, including Mary Magdalene, discovered the empty tomb, and it was they that informed men, the disciples, because of it. The fact that all four Gospels reported that women were the first to witness an empty tomb, makes the story even more authentic, says Dr. Clay Jones, Associate Professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University.

“This is unanimously reported in all four Gospels and if the early disciples were going to make up a story about the empty tomb then they would not have said that the empty tomb was first discovered by women. Even the present day critics of Christianity acknowledge that the early Christians would not have invented a story of women being first to discover the empty tomb.”[1]

-Dr. Clay Jones, Associate Professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University

2. The Body of Jesus Wasn’t Stolen

With an empty tomb, there are some that claim that the body of Jesus was stolen. There were also soldiers guarding the tomb, and the religious leaders of that day told the soldiers to claim that “the disciples came by night and stole His body.”[3] In John 20:2, even the women believed that Christ’s body was stolen, before Jesus appeared to Mary in verse 11.[2]

WHY IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE FOR THE DISCIPLES TO HAVE STOLEN THE BODY

  • EVEN THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE HE’D RISEN

In Luke 24:11, once the women came to tell the disciples that the body was missing, the Bible says that they “did not believe” the women’s words, believing them to be “nonsense.”[5] In John 20, the story of the disciples racing to see the empty tomb is also shared, but is noted in verse 9 that the disciples didn’t fully “understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”[6] They did not expect him to actually rise from the dead, in full body form.

Jewish-turned- Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim said that because of the disciples’ misunderstanding, they really had no motive to steal Jesus’ body. “At most,” they’d expect a “ghostly appearance.”

“Given their background and beliefs, the disciples had no real motive to steal the body. They might have expected a spiritual resurrection—that is, a continuation of His work and ministry or His vindication after death. At most, they might have believed Him to have meant a ghostly appearance, since most Jews believed the soul continued after death. However, they had no real foundation for expecting the body to physically return to life and, thus, no need to do what the leaders in Israel feared.”[7]

Jesus’ resurrection was a surprise to even the disciples. Thomas was famous for his doubt and his need to see and touch Jesus’ wounds before he believed.

MORE REASONS WHY THEY DIDN’T STEAL JESUS’ BODY

  • IF THEY GENUINELY STOLE THE BODY, WHY WOULD THEY LATER CLAIM TO HAVE SEEN A RISEN JESUS? WOULDN’T IT MAKE MORE SENSE JUST KEEP IT TO THEMSELVES?
  • AND IF JESUS HAD NOT REALLY RISEN, BUT THEY CLAIMED THAT HE DID (ONLY FOR THE BODY TO BE LATER FOUND) THEY’D BE THOUGHT OF AS DELUSIONAL LIARS.

But with their genuine surprise at his resurrection, that truly shows how little they were expecting it themselves.

The Jewish religious leaders of that day circulated the false story that the disciples stole the body. That’s an admission that the tomb was indeed empty on the first day of the week , according to Dr. Jones.

What if there were no rumors ever started? Why would the disciples make up their own story that they stole Jesus’ body?

The theft story as circulated by the Jews is an admission that the tomb was empty on the first day of the week. Also, if there were no rumors being circulated that the disciples stole Jesus body, why would the disciples put the idea in everyone’s head?[8]

There was no body found, because it was not stolen, thus proving there was an empty tomb.[9] There was no body found, because the Lord had risen just as he said he would.

3. JESUS APPEARED PUBLICLY

         Following his resurrection, Jesus appeared publicly to Mary Magdalene and his disciples, as well as over “500 brethern at once,” which Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-7. [10] The fact that Jesus did this out in the open meant that he had nothing to hide.

            Yet despite Jesus’ numerous appearances following his resurrection, there are some, such as author and speaker, Dr. Richard Carrier, who believe otherwise. Dr. Carrier argues that those who saw Jesus, experienced a great deal of hallucinations.

“I believe the best explanation, consistent with both scientific findings and the surviving evidence (particular to Christianity and the general cultural milieu in which it rose), is that the first Christians experienced hallucinations of the risen Christ, of one form or another.”[11]

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to multiple people on several different occasions. That would mean that each time he appeared to a person or groups of people, they would all have had to been seeing the exact same hallucination. But, according to clinical psychologist Dr. Gary Collins, it is impossible for multiple people to witness the same hallucination, since they are subjective.

“Hallucinations are individual occurrences. By their very nature only one person can see a given hallucination at a time. They certainly are not something which can be seen by a group of people. Neither is it possible that one person could somehow induce an hallucination in somebody else. Since an hallucination exists only in this subjective, personal sense, it is obvious that others cannot witness it.”[12]

Since Jesus appeared to multiple people on multiple occasions, it’s important to take note of the different situations and state of mind that each person was in. Historian and Christian Apologist Gary Habermas pointed out some differences.

“Likewise, individuals and groups, friends as well as foes saw Jesus not once but many times over a period of forty days. We are told that these numbers included both men and women, hardheaded Peter and softhearted Mary Magdalene, indoors and outdoors, and so on. Not all these persons would be in the same state of mind.”[13]

Brent Landau, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, appears to believes that what the disciples could have saw was a spirit or a ghost-like version of Jesus.

“It is not unusual for people to see loved ones who have died: In a study of nearly 20,000 people, 13 percent reported seeing the dead. There are a range of explanations for this phenomenon, running the gamut from the physical and emotional exhaustion caused by the death of a loved one all the way to the belief that some aspects of human personality are capable of surviving bodily death.”[14]

But Jesus wasn’t a ghost or a piece of the disciples imagination. He walked, talked and ate real food with them on different occasions. He even allowed Thomas to touch his wounds, to show that He indeed, was alive. In allowing others to touch and feel him, it provided proof that he was a physical human being. Most importantly, it showed that he was who he, and the prophets, said he was; God.

Additionally, if the various people accused of experiencing hallucinations of a risen Jesus were hallucinating, then the body of Jesus should have easily been found, particularly, ‘in its grave just outside the city of Jerusalem.”[15] But again, it was not, because there was no dead body. Thus, it seems impossible that multiple people, with different mindsets, and in many times, set in different situations, could experience the same hallucination. This is yet another flawed theory for those who seek to find any evidence that concludes that Jesus did not actually resurrect from the dead.  

4. THE DISCIPLES SUFFERED AND DIED FOR THEIR FAITH

            Throughout their lives, the disciples preached the Gospel. All were willing to suffer and die for their faith, and many did. Traditionally, Peter died upside down by crucifixion, while James was killed by a sword, Andrew was first beaten and then stoned, while Philip was beaten before he was crucified. [16] The rest of the disciples died in various forms of traumatic deaths, except for John. These disciples were willing to die for what they knew was true. Early Christian author, Tertullian, wrote of these deaths during his life, from 160 AD to 22 AD.

“And yet, that the apostles endured such sufferings, we know: …. That Peter is struck, that Stephen is overwhelmed by stones, that James is slain as is a victim at the altar, that Paul is beheaded has been written in their own blood. And if a heretic wishes his confidence to rest upon a public record, the archives of the empire will speak, as would the stones of Jerusalem. We read the lives of the Caesars: At Rome Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising faith. Then is Peter girt by another, when he is made fast to the cross. Then does Paul obtain a birth suited to Roman citizenship, when in Rome he springs to life again ennobled by martyrdom. Wherever I read of these occurrences so soon as I do so, I learn to suffer; nor does it signify to me which I follow as teachers of martyrdom, whether the declarations or the deaths of the apostles, save that in their deaths I recall their declarations also.”[17]

But regardless of the apostles’ willingness to die, thus becoming a martyr for their faith, some have questioned if martyrdom proves the resurrection as true.

“People who have not claimed to be eyewitnesses of Jesus’ appearances have also been transformed into people who were willing to die for their Christian beliefs. In addition, Christian heretics have been willing to die for their beliefs. Let us not forget that Muslims, Mormons, followers of James Jones, kamikaze pilots, and many others have been willing to die for what they believed. Surely many of these people were transformed by previous experiences and became martyrs because of their experiences. The fact that people are willing to die for their beliefs can show many things: strength of character, extreme devotion, and even fanaticism. But it is hard do see that it indicates that what is believed is true or even that the evidential bases of the beliefs should be taken seriously.”[18]

What separates the disciples’ martyrdom from, for example, a Muslim martyr are two key factors. First, the disciples are not killing anyone for the sake of Jesus Christ. They willingly gave up their own individual life. Second, and most important, they did not die for what they thought was true, based on what they heard. They died for what they knew was true, based on what they saw. They were firsthand eyewitnesses. Also, it wouldn’t make sense for them to willingly die for what they knew was a lie, since they were all there to witness the truth.[19]  In fact, they spent the entirety of their lives preaching the Gospel, and as evident, died for it.

Conclusion

Christianity’s greatest strength is in the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. The resurrection is indeed miraculous, yet there is evidence to prove that it happened. It starts with proving that Jesus died, using a combination of common sense, medical, historical and biblical evidence. Then, we must prove that the tomb was empty, and that Jesus resurrected and physically appeared to many of that day. Using the same method, we can come to the conclusion that Jesus did rise from the dead, thus proving the truth of Christianity.

Our eternity relies on the truth, and, it certainly takes more faith to believe that Christ’s resurrection did not happen, than it does to believe that it did. It isn’t ironic that Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples who witnessed his resurrection, would later challenge us[20] to be ready with an answer when we believers are questioned about our faith. If it was just a lie, he’d be the last person to encourage anyone.

To see the evidence in support the death of Jesus, click here.


[1] Jones, Dr. Clay. Prepared Defense: Fast Answers to Tough Questions. Computer software. Version 2.2. 2014. Accessed April 18, 2018.

[2] “BibleGateway.” John 20 NIV – – Bible Gateway. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John 20&version=NIV.

[3] Matthew 28:13 Telling Them, “You Are to Say, ‘His Disciples Came during the Night and Stole Him Away While We Were Asleep.’ Accessed April 19, 2018. http://biblehub.com/matthew/28-13.htm.

[4] Martyr, Justin. The Ante-nicene Fathers / the Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, Sir, Arthur Coxe, and Allan Menzies. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993.

[5] “BibleGateway.” Luke 24 NIV – – Bible Gateway. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke 24&version=NIV.

[6] John 20:9 (They Still Did Not Understand from Scripture That Jesus Had to Rise from the Dead.). Accessed April 19, 2018. http://biblehub.com/john/20-9.htm.

[7] Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and times of Jesus the Messiah. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub., 1976. as quoted in “Did the Disciples Steal Jesus’s Body? – Resurrection.” Jesus.Org. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://www.jesus.org/death-and-resurrection/resurrection/did-the-disciples-steal-jesuss-body.html.

[8] Jones, Dr. Clay. Prepared Defense: Fast Answers to Tough Questions. Computer software. Version 2.2. 2014. Accessed April 18, 2018.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “BibleGateway.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 NIV – – Bible Gateway. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 Corinthians 15:3-7&version=NIV.

[11] Carrier, Richard. The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave. Edited by Robert M. Price and Jeffrey J. Lowder. Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books, 2005.

[12] Habermas, Gary R., Antony Flew, and Terry L. Miethe. Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2003. As quoted in Jones, Dr. Clay. Prepared Defense: Fast Answers to Tough Questions. Computer software. Version 2.2. 2014. Accessed April 18, 2018.

[13]Ibid. As quoted in “The Case for the Resurrection: Did the Disciples Claim to See the Risen Jesus?” Coffeehouse Questions. June 13, 2016. Accessed April 20, 2018. https://coffeehousequestions.com/2016/06/27/the-case-for-the-resurrection-did-the-disciples-claim-to-see-the-risen-jesus/#_ftn7.

[14] Landau, Brent. “The Case for Christ: What’s the Evidence for the Resurrection?” The Conversation. April 19, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2018. https://theconversation.com/the-case-for-christ-whats-the-evidence-for-the-resurrection-75530.

[15] Habermas, Gary R. “Hallucination Theories to Explain Jesus’ Resurrection?” Christian Research Journal 23 (November 4, 2001). Accessed April 20, 2018. http://www.garyhabermas.com/. As quoted in Habermas, Gary R. “Hallucination Theories to Explain Jesus’ Resurrection?” Bethinking.org. June 28, 2007. Accessed April 20, 2018. https://www.bethinking.org/did-jesus-rise-from-the-dead/hallucination-theories-to-explain-jesus-resurrection.

[16] Kiger, Patrick J. “How Did the Apostles Die?” National Geographic Channel. February 19, 2015. Accessed April 21, 2018. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/killing-jesus/articles/how-did-the-apostles-die/.

[17] Tertullianus, Quintus Septimius Florens, A. Cleveland Coxe, James Donaldson, and Alexander Roberts. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian: I. Apologetic, II. Anti- Marcion, III. Ethical. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999.

[18] Martin, Michael. The Case against Christianity. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1999. . As quoted in Jones, Dr. Clay. Prepared Defense: Fast Answers to Tough Questions. Computer software. Version 2.2. 2014. Accessed April 18, 2018.

[19] Jones, Dr. Clay. Prepared Defense: Fast Answers to Tough Questions. Computer software. Version 2.2. 2014. Accessed April 18, 2018.

[20] “BibleGateway.” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV – – Bible Gateway. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 Peter 3:15&version=NIV.

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Brittany Valadez
Brittany Valadez

Texas native who loves the Lord like no other, my family, eating cake, entertainment news, watching Youtube, traveling (especially to Europe), the mountains, Big Bear Lake, learning apologetics, listening to Christian music, Christmas and fashion. I live in LA, but I’m not of it!

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