The resurrection is foundational to all the claims of Jesus. Accept the resurrection, and Jesus' other claims are easy to believe. Reject the resurrection, and His other claims will not matter.
So, how can we know whether the resurrection really occurred? Let us study it as we would any other historical event. In particular, let us examine the testimony of eyewitnesses. Interestingly, this is exactly the method the Bible uses to convince us of the resurrection. The gospel abounds in eyewitness accounts of people who personally saw, touched, and spoke with Jesus after His resurrection.
For example, in 1 Corinthian 15:4-8 Paul claimed that Jesus "rose again the third day according to the scriptures, and that he was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that, He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also..." Notice that Jesus appeared on one occasion to over 500 people, most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote.
Another important fact to consider is the empty tomb. If the resurrection is not true, what happened to Jesus' body? If Jesus' disciples had it, they would have known the resurrection was a lie. So why did they give their lives for testifying that He was raised? If the enemies of Jesus had the body, they would surely have produced it to disprove the claims of the apostles when they preached the resurrection.
Are you willing to honestly examine the evidence for the resurrection? If the resurrection is not true, how do you explain the eyewitness testimony and the empty tomb? If the resurrection is true, are you willing to accept the consequences regarding who Jesus is?
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 4/2008
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