Friday, March 23, 2018


There are many reasons. For one thing, the resurrection is consistently affirmed by the New Testament and by the martyrdom of its Apostles and Church Fathers who chose a horrible death instead of life. In fact, there is no indication that any of them ever recanted.

However, I will just focus on another set of reasons. The only way to explain the growth of the Christian Faith in the very place that the crucifixion took place - Jerusalem - is by the resurrection. If the resurrection hadn't taken place, no one would have believed:

The Apostles had all abandoned their faith and were on the run. Their faith was only renewed by Jesus' post-resurrection appearances (Acts 1:3).

Many who hadn't previously believed subsequently came to faith, like Jesus' family. They couldn't possibly have believed after viewing the cross had there not been a great miracle of the resurrection to have changed their minds. Paul had provided an historical recitation of this evidence:

  • ...he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (1 Corinthians 15:5-8 ESV)

For forty days, Jesus had appeared to His followers and even ate with them. According to Paul, on one occasion, He had appeared to 500. Just in case anyone needed verification, Paul added that most were still alive.

Paul had been so jealous for his traditional faith that he had led the crusade against the Church, putting Christians to death and forcing them to renounce their faith. Had there not been a resurrection, there would have been absolutely no reason for Paul to convert.

Many of the religious leadership of Jerusalem came to believe. Had there been evidence contrary to the resurrection, it would have been available to them there in Jerusalem, the very place Jesus had been crucified. They, therefore, would never have believed and risked both life and career unless He had been raised.

In fact, thousands came to faith almost immediately, there in Jerusalem. There must have been sufficient evidence for them to have done so.

Had there not been a resurrection, there could not have been a Christian Faith. Jesus had suffered the most dishonoring and humiliating death. No one would have wanted to be associated with such a death if not followed by the resurrection. Besides, there would have been nothing to celebrate and no basis to love their enemies without the promise of their own resurrection made possible by Jesus' resurrection. (How could they expect their own resurrection had not Jesus been resurrected!)

Instead, from the beginning, the Church attested to Jesus' death and resurrection through baptism and the Lord's Supper. They must have been convinced of the fact of the resurrection.

This evidence is so compelling that it has led several skeptics to conclude that Jesus' followers were convinced that they had met the resurrected Jesus. 

Why then do they not believe that Jesus rose? They tend to believe that the witnesses must have been hallucinating - but for 40 days, and all sharing the same hallucination?

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