Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – 1 Peter 1:3
Jesus Lives! Without Jesus’ resurrection from the dead there is no Christianity, no hope, and no future of eternal life. In fact, Scripture even says that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” So, let’s take a look at His resurrection a bit more.
As with His life, and His claim of deity (being God Himself), many liberals, atheists, agnostics, sects and cults simply deny that Jesus was raised from the dead. The most prominent claim made is that His resurrection was a “hoax” put on by the disciples themselves. But let me ask you a very commonsense question. Would you be willing to die a gruesome death like nearly all the disciples did just for a hoax that you had made up or heard others make up? All (except one) of the disciples of Jesus died for what they believed in – which was Jesus Christ raised from the dead.
Others claim that there was no resurrection on the basis of science; they claim science can’t “prove it”. Friend, science cannot explain many things, and some things of God are simply supernatural. He is God, we are created beings, of immeasurably inferior intellect.
There are many pages that could be written on this subject, but as stated in the intro to this book, this is not meant as an apologetics work or to “prove” to you that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead. I’m simply going to help guide you towards understanding what Scripture says about the matter. Scripture provides historical evidence to document the fact of the matter. His resurrection has been as much researched both by Christian advocates AND skeptics as nearly anything else in history.
There is as much evidence that Jesus resurrection was real (it wasn’t faked, or a lie, etc.) as there is that Jesus Himself was actually born and lived as a man. This evidence exceeds the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard any court of law would uphold, when viewed again with no preconceived bias against Christ. No skeptic has been able to connivingly disprove this, at all.
One need also understand the times of the day in which He was crucified. After death, His body was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea (As a side note, in Biblical times, people were only identified by their first name – last names were not common as they are today; this is why Jesus is properly identified as “Jesus of Nazareth”).
The tomb was then sealed, and the Roman seal was put on it. Roman guards were stationed outside. Now the important part: if a prisoner (or body in this case) escaped, the guards in charge were PUT TO DEATH! So, it was no light matter or a simple “mistake” that guards would make to allow His body to be stolen from the tomb.
The most common claims made by skeptics are:
- The disciples came and stole His body, so they could just claim (as a hoax) that He was resurrected so they could continue their popularity. Friends, all the disciples except one died gruesome deaths, this is hardly something one (or all) would do if they were simply perpetrating a known lie/hoax. Also, would Roman guards willingly take the death penalty to allow the disciples to perpetrate a hoax? Logic says an emphatic no. And no, the guards weren’t killed or attacked by the disciples.
- Jesus’ enemies (the Pharisees et al., …) stole His body to quash all the resurrection talk and claims. If they (the Romans or the Jews) did steal the body to quash the claims, why didn’t they then produce the body to do just that? No body was ever produced, except for the Living One [Jesus Himself raised from the dead] which hundreds of witnesses saw and interacted with.
Jesus was seen by hundreds of people after He had been very publicly crucified on the cross. They talked with Him, ate with Him, walked with Him. These were real actions done by real men, and not just by one lone witness, but by hundreds. The testimony of many witnesses is in agreement.
Lastly, Old Testament Scripture prophesied both of His death and resurrection, and Jesus Himself also foretold both, numerous times.
There is much more that could be said on this particular subject covering all the possible excuses, claims and reasons His resurrection was fake, or a hoax, but I don’t want to get side tracked from the main purpose of this book, which is to present the gospel message from start to finish. If you need to, please do seek out other resources which cover this subject in much greater detail than I can do here.
I would like to close this section with what Wayne Jackson writes:
Clearly, the witnesses to the resurrection of Christ were manifold. The only remaining questions are these:
- Were the witnesses reasonably intelligent people — and not fools or wild hysterics?
- Were they honest individuals of worthy character?
One of the foremost authorities on legal evidence ever to live in this country was the renowned Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853). He served as Royall Professor of Law at Harvard and later as Dane Professor of Law at Harvard.
In 1852, he published his famous work, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, which “is still considered the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature of legal procedure” (Smith, 423).
In 1847, professor Greenleaf issued a significant work of more than 500 pages under the title of An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice (Baker, 1965 reprint). In this remarkable work, Greenleaf concluded that it was:
… impossible that they [the apostles] could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact” (Smith, 424).
Numerous other highly-competent historical and legal authorities have testified in a similar fashion
So, the fact of His resurrection is (has been) established beyond a reasonable doubt. And know that Jesus’ resurrection was a literal one, not “symbolic” or “figurative”; and His return on Judgment Day will be just as literal and real.
Furthermore, looking ahead just a bit, Jesus is right now seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, ruling and reigning this very moment in His Kingdom.
False Teaching(s) You Will Encounter:
- Many will deny Christ’s resurrection, or claim it wasn’t a real “literal” resurrection, etc.
- The disciples stole the body, etc.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5
Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. – 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man [Jesus] whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” – Acts 17:30-32
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. – John 2:19-21
From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. – Matthew 16:21
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” – Matthew 17:9
And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” – Matthew 17:22-23
As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” – Matthew 20:17-19
“But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” – Matthew 26:32
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.” – Luke 9:22
“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I [Jesus] lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” – John 10:17-18
After these things [His crucifixion] Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. – John 19:38-42
Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, “Sir, we remember that when He [Jesus] was still alive that deceiver [referring derogatively to Jesus here] said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone. – Matthew 27:62-66
But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” – John 20:11-17
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. – Acts 2:22-24
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One [Jesus] and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life [Jesus], the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. – Acts 3:13-15
Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. – Mark 16:9-11
And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” – Matthew 28:9-10
And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. – Luke 24:13-15
And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. – Luke 24:28-35
While they were telling these things, He [Jesus] Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them. – Luke 24:36-43
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” – John 20:26-29
After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. – John 21:1-8
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 [Paul] also. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-7
To these [the apostles] He [Jesus] also presented Himself alive after His suffering [death on the cross], by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. – Acts 1:3-9
[Note: He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus lives and reigns today!]
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 1:1-4
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. – 1 Corinthians 15:20-26
These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He [God] raised Him [Jesus] from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. – Ephesians 1:19b-21