The Bible provides several pieces of evidence to support the argumentthat Jesus indeed resurrected. The proofs of Jesus resurrectionaccording to the Bible are the open tomb and His appearances to MaryMagdalene and the disciples. The open tomb was first witnessed by thewomen who went to visit the dead Jesus only to be informed about Hisresurrection by the Angel. The testimony of the women prompted thedisciples to visit the tomb after which they confirmed that the Jesuswas nowhere near His place of burial. Despite these Biblicalnarrations that support Jesus resurrection, some people remainunconvinced that Christ rose from the dead. Scholars have unearthedseveral proofs that reinforce the Biblical account of the death andresurrection of Jesus challenging the theories advanced by thenonbelievers. These proofs, as well as the knowledge they provide toChristians to help them safeguard their faith, will be explored inthis paper.
The first evidence of Jesus resurrection is the empty tomb. Severalpieces of evidence corroborate the Biblical story that when womenwent to visit the place of Jesus burial, the tomb was indeed empty. First, the message about Jesus resurrection was first spread in thesame city where He was buried. If the story was fictitious, thedisciples could have chosen for a discreet place to spread thegospel. Besides, if the tomb was not empty, the inhabitants ofJerusalem could have risen against the disciples if they attempted totalk about Jesus having resurrected. 1The lack of proof ofthe presence of a rebellion against the disciples’ message of Jesusresurrection shows that the locals had confirmed the empty tomb aswell. In Mathew 28:11-15, some Jews argued that the open tomb was aresult of the disciples stealing Jesus` corpse. First, this argumentsupports the presence of the empty tomb. Besides, the tomb was highlyguarded by the Roman soldiers for the disciples even to try to stealthe body. It was not even possible that the Roman soldiers could havecolluded with the disciples to author the story of Jesusresurrection. At the time, the Roman soldiers were heavily punishedfor any wrongdoing. For example, it was a norm for a soldier to beburnt alive in case a convicted criminal escaped at his watch. Assuch, no soldiers could have attempted to sleep or even collude withthe disciples as this could have amounted to him facing death. Also,it is unlikely that the disciples could have authored the story aboutJesus resurrection, even if the Roman soldiers agreed to help themsteal the corpse. This is because the disciples were ordinary peoplewithout the intellectual ability that would have aided them to authora story that has remained unchallenged for thousands of years.Besides, some individuals who do not believe in Jesus resurrectionadvance the theory that the women and the disciples must have gone tothe wrong tomb. However, this is highly unlikely because there wereRoman soldiers who was guarding the tomb. As such, it was hard forthe women and the disciples not to notice it. Additionally, the samewomen who found the empty tomb had earlier witnessed Jesus being laidto rest inside the tomb in question. This proof is pivotal to theChristians` faith because, throughout Jesus’ mission, the Jewsopposed everything that He said. Additionally, He faced muchopposition from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, especially after Heprophesied its destruction. As such, the locals could have used everymethod possible to investigate His resurrection narrative if theywere not convinced. Christians can depend on this proof as it camefrom those who opposed Jesus hence they were unlikely to lie aboutHis resurrection as this would have jeopardized their position.
The story about Jesus burial also supports His resurrection. The NewTestament talks about a man named Joseph of Arimathea as the personwho buried Jesus. However, Joseph was no ordinary person as he was amember of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was a respected council ofelders that could not have tolerated a story about one of them beingassociated with a fictitious story. However, there is no evidencethat the Sanhedrin opposed the narration of Joseph Arimatheainvolvement in Jesus burial. Also, at the time of Jesus death, therewas an old Jewish custom that required for the establishment of ashrine at the place where the bones of a holy man’s body werefound. During Jesus time, there were approximately 50 sites thatmarked the burial place of holy people. 2Thus, the absenceof such a shrine that could have marked the place where the bones ofthe decomposed body of Jesus were found is an evidence of the emptytomb. This proof is important to Christians as it provides them witha reassurance that the resurrection of Jesus is supported by theaction of individuals who could have had information about His deathplace many years after His burial. This proof tells Christians thatnobody refuted the narration of Jesus resurrection for many yearsafter His burial.
Besides, the discovery of the empty tomb by women is evidence thatthe story was not fictitious. During the time of Jesus, women werenever perceived as worthy as seen in the way they were not allowed totestify in court proceedings. The unworthiness of women’stestimonies is demonstrated by the behavior of the disciples. Afterthe disciples had heard from the women the news of Jesusresurrection, they did not believe them and had to go to the tomb toconfirm their story. To make the story believable, the individualsresponsible for spreading the news of Jesus resurrection could haveused male eye witnesses if the empty tomb’s narration wasfictitious. 3This proof is crucial for Christians becauseit came from the most unlikely witnesses. As such, Christians canhave trust in Jesus resurrection as the news about the incidence wasconveyed by people who had no reason for lying as they knew that theycould not be trusted.
Apart from the empty tomb, the other Biblical evidence for theresurrection of Jesus is His appearances after His burial. In 1Corinthians 15:3-8 Paul mentioned about a scripture that recordedJesus burial and resurrection before any disciple or apostle hadwritten anything about the incidence. The scripture narrated abouthow Jesus appeared first to Cephas, then to the twelve disciples andlastly to over 500 believers. 4 By the time the record ofJesus resurrection was being written in the scripture, the majorityof the eyewitnesses were still alive although some had died. Theexistence of the scripture before Paul’s could write anything aboutthe incident serves as an eyewitness testimony of Jesus resurrection.Either it is true that Jesus had resurrected or maybe the witnesseswere lying. It is also possible that the eyewitnesses could havebeen hallucinating. If indeed the witnesses were lying, the discipleswere privy to these lies. As such, the disciples could not haveaccepted to die in the name of Jesus whom they knew as a fraud as Hehad promised to rise from the dead on the third day after His burial.Historical books and the Bible confirm that ten out of the 12apostles died as Martyrs. Besides, the work of Paul is a proof of theresurrection of Jesus since he was not one of the 12 disciples. Inthe beginning, he was a persecutor of the early Christians. It isonly through Jesus appearance to him on his way to Damascus that hechanged his position about Christianity. Paul went ahead to enduremuch sufferings and humiliation as he refused to deny theresurrection of Jesus and eventually he was killed. If Paul was notconvinced by his encounter with Jesus, he could not have accepted thedeath penalty. The uncontested nature of the evidence cited by theApostle Paul in addition to his appeal on the 500 eyewitnesses to theresurrection of Jesus, the majority of whom were alive during histime, is a dynamic proof that Christ rose from the dead. The otherpossible theory to explain Jesus appearance to His disciples is thatprobably the latter were hallucinating. However, it is not feasiblethat all the disciples were hallucinating at the same time. Christiancan use this knowledge to defend their faith as it shows how peoplewho believed in the resurrection of Jesus because they were witnessesto the incident were willing to die to ensure the coming generationsknow the truth.
The other proof of Jesus resurrection is the spread of Christianity.The birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus played a pivotal role inthe growth of the early Christian church. 5 According tothe Bible, it is only after the resurrection of Jesus that thedisciples were able to spread the gospel past Jerusalem. As such, inits self, the resurrection of Jesus was the cornerstone ofChristianity. This means that if the resurrection was a lie, it wouldhave been impossible for the religion to spread the way it did. Christian can rely on this knowledge to support their faith byarguing that for many years, the growth of Christianity has been as aresult of people’s trust in the account of Jesus resurrection. Forapproximately two thousand years, nobody has even provided evidencethat Jesus resurrection was a made-up story. Hence, modern Christianshave to believe in the judgment of all people who have lived beforethem and who have had no ground to discredit the story about Jesusresurrection.
For many years, there have existed several theories explaining thestory about the resurrection of Jesus. On one hand, some scholarsargue that Jesus resurrected as demonstrated by the open tomb, thewomen`s message, as well as the testimonies of the disciples. On theother hand, some scholars hold that the narration about Jesusresurrection was a fictitious story created by His disciples as anattempt to cover their frustrations. People who hold this view arguethat the disciples stole Jesus body from the tomb. There is also theargument that the women, as well as the disciples, must have gone tothe wrong tomb. However, these arguments challenging the disciplesand the women’s testimonies have been discredited as more unlikelyby the evidence provided in support of the resurrection. Forinstance, it is unlikely that the women could have mistaken the tomb,yet they witnessed Jesus being laid to rest. Besides, the punishmentthat faced Roman soldiers in case they allowed a convicted criminalto escape could not have allowed them to either sleep while on dutynor collude with the disciples to steal Jesus body. Besides, thepresence of the empty tomb was confirmed by people who opposed Jesus.For example, the Sanhedrin could not have tolerated the involvementof one of their own in the story about Jesus resurrection, if indeedthe narration was fictitious. Besides, if the story was authored, theindividuals responsible could have done a better job by excludingwomen as eyewitnesses.
1Peterman, Matt. “Historical Evidence for theResurrection.” 2012. Retrieved on September 25, 2016.http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection
2 Josh, McDowell. “Evidence for the Resurrection.”2011. Retrieved on September 25, 2016.http://www.josh.org/wp-content/uploads/Evidence-For-The-Resurrection.pdf
3 Henry, Morris. “The Ultimate Proof of Christianity.”2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2016.http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/btg/btg-195.pdf
4John, Ankerberg and John, Weldon. Do ResurrectionAccounts Conflict? And what Proof is There That There Jesus Rose fromthe Dead. ATRI Publishing, 2011.
5Tovia,Singer. “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? What is the Evidence for theResurrection.” 2016. Retrieved on September 25, 2016.https://outreachjudaism.org/resurrection-evidence/
Morris, Henry. “The Ultimate Proof of Christianity.” 2014.Retrieved on September 25, 2016.http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/btg/btg-195.pdf
Matt, Peterman. “Historical Evidence for the Resurrection.” 2012.Retrieved on September 25, 2016.http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection
Ankerberg, John and Weldon John. Do Resurrection AccountsConflict? And what Proof is There That There Jesus Rose from theDead. ATRI Publishing, 2011.
McDowell, Josh. “Evidence for the Resurrection.” 2011. Retrievedon September 25, 2016.http://www.josh.org/wp-content/uploads/Evidence-For-The-Resurrection.pdf
Singer,Tovia. “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? What is the Evidence for theResurrection.” 2016. Retrieved on September 25, 2016.https://outreachjudaism.org/resurrection-evidence/