Resurrection of Jesus Christ
There are some who question the validity of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ was not murdered and did not rise from the grave, then He is no different than any of the wise men or prophets of other religions. Jesus' resurrection is what gives Him the authority to say He is God and that there is no other means to experience eternal salvation except to acknowledge Him as your Lord and Savior.
Some will argue that Jesus was never resurrected because He did not die on the cross. We have proved that Jesus not only suffered extreme pain, but died on the cross. See Crucifixion page.
The following information will confirm his resurrection. We will be using mainly logical and Biblical evidence. Of course, the Bible more than verifies the truth of Jesus' claims, but an atheist, agnostic, or new spiritual seeker may not believe the Bible is true. In regards to the authenticity of Jesus being a real person who lived on this earth, His crucifixion and resurrection will verify there was a historical Jesus, not just a mythical person. There are several books that cover this subject matter. They have much documented evidence to prove the reliability of the Bible.
If the Bible is true, then Jesus birth, Crucifixion, and
Resurrection are true. Some will argue that you can't trust the Bible because it
was written by those who believed in Jesus. If you use this argument regarding
biographies and history books (this is what the Four Gospels are like), you see
how foolish it is. Many biographies are written by people who loved the person
they are writing about, but we do not question their validity. There are those
who write about history who have their prejudices but we do not deny the facts
that are in their books.
Read on the Validity of the Bible.
Go to http://www.javaforjesus.addr.com/walk.html for a great shockwave audiovisual presentation of the crucifixion.
Lack of Historical Evidence of Resurrection
The Pharisees certainly would not be promoting writings on the resurrection
of Jesus. The Pharisees went to great lengths to prevent any possibility of fraud in the matter
of Jesus resurrection.
They had a better knowledge of the promise of resurrection than the disciples themselves
did, and they did not want any possibility of fraudulent attempts on the part of the
disciples to gain credibility by stealing the body, then claiming it had been raised from
They went to great pains after the resurrection of Jesus to try to hush it up, because
they knew that if the facts of the matter were broadcast, there would be no controlling
the people as they turned towards Jesus, and away from them. As the disciples went to the
city to proclaim the joyful news of the resurrected Christ, the men appointed to watch the
grave to prevent this very thing went to report to their masters.
Again, after the resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Jewish rulers still tried to restrain the doctrine that Jesus had arisen from the dead. (Acts 4:1-3 KJV)
If the above is true, it makes logical sense that there would be a lack of
Lack of Evidence against the
Resurrection and the Bible Accounts
If the disciples died horrific deaths for believing in the resurrection of Jesus when they actually hid his body, they were insane. If they were insane enough to die for a lie, there should be much documentation on how crazy the disciples were after Jesus death. There certainly is plenty of 'dirt' on other historical figures.
Read the Logical Reasoning for more analysis on the lack of evidence against the resurrection.
Invalidity of arguments used
against a True Resurrection
Why are there no early writings denying this 'myth'? The Jewish leaders for sure would have written against this myth.
The presence of eyewitnesses mitigates against such an interpretation. The disciples themselves did not even believe in the resurrection of Jesus until they actually saw Him.
Subjective Vision Theory
The disciples' condition was one of defeat and discouragement and it is therefore difficult to think that they would have, or could have, become such great preachers of the faith on the basis of dreams. Besides there is no evidence that they had any dreams along these lines. And, it is difficult to believe that they would have dreamed of Jesus' personal resurrection when all they really had to go on was the general resurrection at the time of judgment spoken of in Daniel 12:2 (cf. John 5:28, 29). Based upon the criterion of Palestinian environment and their religious knowledge and heritage, it seems unlikely that they would have dreamed such things.
Objective Vision Thesis
The Christian faith is based upon a literal resurrection. This is the proof
that Jesus conquered death. If Jesus did not conquer death, then His words have
The Hallucination Theory
1. Studies show that grief-stricken hallucinations usually are quite short. However, the records reveal that a number of Yeshua's appearances after his death were fairly lengthy, not just 'hallucinations' for a few minutes.
2. The encounters involved several senses.
Scientific definition of a vision:
Definition of hallucination:
An unfounded or mistaken impression or notion.
Yeshua talked with the disciples. He ate with them. He even let them touch him in order to dispel their own doubts. This occurred in a variety of situations with others present. This was more than a vision or hallucination.
3. On at least five occasions the Messiah appeared to seven or more of his followers. Groups of people rarely have the same hallucinations at the same time. All of this individuals had visual, auditory, and tactual encounters with Jesus.
There is also the more than 500 hundred that were together at one time.
4. Generally, only particular kinds of people have hallucinations. They are normally "high-strung", highly imaginative and very nervous.
Jesus appearances were not restricted to person of any particular psychological make-up:
a. Mary Magdalene was weeping
Some would argue that emotional women are more susceptible to hallucinations. If this is true, what about Peter who was a strong and hardy fisherman who certainly would not be considered subject to foolish emotions.
5. Hallucinations are linked in an individual's subconscious to his particular past experiences. They are very individualistic, extremely subjective, and in a place with nostalgic atmosphere.
It is then very unlikely, then, that two persons would have the same hallucinations at the same time. Plus none of the individuals are documented to have had any other 'hallucinations' or any past experiences that would have triggered hallucinations. The appearances of Jesus were at a variety of locations so it was not like the appearance came at a nostalgic location for each person.
6. Those who normally have hallucinations are normally characterized as having a belief in the idea that it expresses, and excited expectation that the idea will somehow be realized.
None of the disciples were expecting Jesus to be resurrected. The women went to the grave and were shocked that he was not there. Mary was actually going to anoint Jesus body with spices. The disciples were in a house hiding from the people because of fear. The two walking on the road were upset that Jesus had died.
As a matter of fact, there were three separate occasions that Jesus was not immediately recognized. (Luke 24:13-31, John 20:15, John 21:4)
6. Most people who have hallucinations normally become involved in strange behavior, strange thoughts, and are seen as foolish.
There is no documentation that the disciples started strange practices, immoral behavior, justified sinful behavior, or encouraged any anti-social behavior. As a matter of fact, after the appearances of Jesus they were many times accused of being 'too moral'.
7. The Jewish authorities were very much opposed to the vigorous preaching of the resurrection by the early Messianic Jews. To quiet them forever all they needed to do was produce the decaying body of Yeshua and all Jerusalem would have known that these eleven were deceivers or insane. 'Their credibility would have disappeared instantly. The Jewish authorities only needed to document all the 'insane behaviors' of these 'crazy' disciples of Jesus.
8. If the disciples did have hallucinations and they were willing to die for their belief in the resurrection, then they were insane. What is more sad than this is that many Christians have died as martyrs for their faith and have never seen Jesus. So they must be really insane?
The Wrong Tomb Theory
1. According to the records, the women had witnessed Yeshua's burial less than 72 hours prior to their return visit and they were returning in the early morning light. It does not seem likely that all of them would have forgotten so quickly where their teacher lay.
2. Yeshua was buried in a private garden not in a cemetery. Therefore, there is no reason to suppose that other tombs might be confused with his.
3. At least two other talmidim (disciples) went to the tomb to verify the women's report, since they didn't believe the women at first either. It is inconceivable that they, too, lost their way.
4. Perhaps most significant of all is the simple fact that the authorities certainly would have gone to the right place if they could produce the body and dispel the claims of the growing numbers of Yeshua's followers once and for all. The authorities, however, never took this simple step. Why? Because it was clear to all the people of Jerusalem that the garden grave was empty. No one could produce the body because it was gone! The ultimate result was that thousands and thousands of Jews in the area recognized Yeshua as the long-promised Messiah.
The Stolen Body Theory
1. Jewish authorities requested a unit of tough Roman soldiers to guard the tomb and prevent this very thing, since Yeshua had predicted his resurrection. The guards knew that if he escaped, such an offense was punishable by their death. This is documented in the Bible. If you do not believe the Bible, do you believe that the Jews would have allowed Jesus body to be stolen?
2. The talmidim ("disciples") were proponents of the highest ethical standards. Therefore, for them to have removed the body, lied about its whereabouts and then continued to practice and preach God's holy moral code and die as martyrs seems improbable. If the disciples died horrific deaths for believing in the resurrection of Jesus when they actually hid his body, they were insane. If they were insane enough to die for a lie, there should be much documentation on how crazy the disciples were after Jesus death.
Excerpts from The Resurrection of Yeshua: Did it really Happen? By Richard C. Nichol a Messianic Jew and "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell.
Empty Tomb Theory
Second, the earliest Jewish arguments against Christianity admit the empty tomb. The
Toledoth Jesu, a compilation of early Jewish writings, acknowledges this. Further, we have
a record of a second century debate between a Christian and a Jew, in which a reference is
made to the fact that the Jews claim the body was stolen. So it is pretty well established
that the early Jews admitted the empty tomb.
Third, the empty tomb account in the gospel of Mark is based upon a source that originated within seven years of the event it narrates. This places the evidence for the empty tomb too early to be legendary, and makes it much more likely that it is accurate.
Fourth, the empty tomb is supported by the historical reliability of the burial story. NT scholars agree that the burial story is one of the best established facts about Jesus. One reason for this is because of the inclusion of Joseph of Arimethea as the one who buried Christ. You see, Joseph was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrein, a sort of Jewish supreme court. People on this ruling class were simply too well known for fictitious stories about them to be pulled off in this way. This would have exposed the Christians as fraud's. So they couldn't have circulated a story about him burying Jesus unless it was true
Fifth, Jesus' tomb was never venerated as a shrine.
Sixth, Mark's account of the empty tomb is simple and shows no signs of legendary development.
Seventh, the tomb was discovered empty by women. Why is this important? Because the testimony of women in 1st century Jewish culture was considered worthless. If the empty tomb story were a legend, then it is most likely that the male disciples would have been made the first to discover the empty tomb.
I'm sure you've heard of the various theories used to explain away the empty tomb, such as that the body was stolen. For example, the Jews or Romans had no motive to steal the body--they wanted to suppress Christianity, not encourage it by providing it with an empty tomb. The disciples would have had no motive, either. Because of their preaching on the resurrection, they were beaten, killed, and persecuted. Why would they go through all of this for a deliberate lie?
Now, just because the disciples think they saw Jesus doesn't mean that they really did. There are three possible alternatives:
Which of these is most likely? Were they lying? On this view, the disciples knew that Jesus had not really risen, but they made up this story about the resurrection. But then why did 10 of the disciples willingly die as martyrs for their belief in the resurrection?
The hallucination theory is untenable because it cannot explain the physical nature of the appearances. The disciples record eating and drinking with Jesus, as well as touching him. This cannot be done with hallucinations. Further, the hallucination theory cannot explain the conversion of Paul, three years later. Was Paul, the persecutor of Christians, so hoping to see the resurrected Jesus that his mind invented an appearance as well? And perhaps most significantly, the hallucination theory cannot even deal with the evidence for the empty tomb.
Since the disciples could not have been lying or hallucinating, we have only one possible explanation left: the disciples believed that they had seen the risen Jesus because they really had seen the risen Jesus.
Origin of the Christian Faith
Could it have been Christian influences? Craig writes, "Since the belief in the resurrection was itself the foundation for Christianity, it cannot be explained as the later product of Christianity." Further, as we saw, if the disciples made it up, then they were frauds and liars--alternatives we have shown to be false.
But what about pagan influences? Isn't it often pointed out that there were many myths of dying and rising savior gods at the time of Christianity? Couldn't the disciples have been deluded by those myths and copied them into their own teaching on the resurrection of Christ? First, it has been shown that these mystery religious had no major influence in Palestine in the 1st century. Second, most of the sources which contain parallels originated after Christianity was established.
Jewish influences cannot explain the belief in the resurrection, either. 1st century Judaism had no conception of a single individual rising from the dead in the middle of history. Their concept was always that everybody would be raised together at the end of time. So the idea of one individual rising in the middle of history was foreign to them.
So we see that if the resurrection did not happen, there is no plausible way to account for the origin of the Christian faith. We would be left with a third inexplicable mystery.
Other Resources on the Resurrection of Jesus
It should be noted that Christianity is a
religion based upon relationship, not knowledge. It is a religion of faith not logic. The
information provided is to help answer questions, but ultimately you must believe in the
gospel accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ because you believe in
the claims of Jesus that we are sinners and we need a savior.
In His Steps
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In His Steps Ministries All rights reserved.