The Evidence That Proves Jesus Rose From The Dead
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- Pages: 6
- Version: ESV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the ESV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
FACT 1: Jesus’ death by crucifixion is historically certain
Jesus’ death by crucifixion is confirmed by multiple sources including non-Christian sources such as the Jewish historian Josephus, the Roman historian Tacitus, the Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata as well as the Jewish Talmud. Non-Christian critical scholar John Dominic Crossan states,
“That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.”
Professor of Religion and Culture Marcus Borg states,
“Some judgments are so probable as to be certain; for example, Jesus really existed, and he really was crucified, just as Julius Caesar really existed and was assassinated.”
Medical experts examining Jesus’ crucifixion in the Journal of the American Medical Association 255, no.11 confirm the historical fact that He died when He was crucified when they state,
“Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.”
FACT 2: Jesus’ followers saw Him alive after His death
Skeptical New Testament Scholar Gerd Lüdemann assigns the church creed on this paper’s cover an early date stating,
“The elements in the tradition are to be dated to the first two years after the crucifixion of Jesus … not later than three years … the formation of the appearance traditions mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:3-8 falls into the time between 30 and 33 C.E.”
Jesus was crucified between 30 and 33 C.E. and His followers reported resurrection experiences no later than three years after His death, making it too early for legendary development. No matter how much persecution they faced (stonings, beatings or threats of death), they never renounced their belief. They were truly convinced that He rose from the dead and their transformed lives prove this fact. Atheist New Testament Scholar Bart Ehrman states,
“That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.”
FACT 3: The tomb Jesus was buried in was empty
Shortly after Jesus was crucified the Jewish authorities did everything they could to stop His followers from proclaiming to the world that He is alive: beating them, persecuting them and threatening them with death. Why, however, did they not just produce His body? Any sane person would have a hard time believing Jesus’ followers claims that He is alive if His body were right in front them—don’t you agree?
The fact that they claimed His followers stole His body from the tomb (Matthew 28:11-15), proves that they didn’t have access to it. Otherwise they would have displayed it to end the Christian movement they were trying to destroy. Instead, authorities were forced to give an alternate explanation for its disappearance, which proves Jesus’ body was missing and that the tomb He was buried in was empty. Historian and skeptical scholar Michael Grant agrees stating,
“The historian … cannot justifiably deny the empty tomb … the evidence is firm and plausible enough to necessitate the conclusion that the tomb was indeed found empty.”
FACT 4: The origin of the Christian faith
No scholar denies the fact the Christian religion exploded out of first century Israel and within one generation after Jesus’ death, spreading to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Some extraordinary event must have transpired to transform cowardly followers into bold men proclaiming to the world His resurrection from the dead. Christian New Testament scholars Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace state,
“In order to work, the Jesus tomb hypothesis has to claim that the disciples died for something they knew was a lie—in fact, something they themselves had fabricated. Further, it has to acknowledge that none of the disciples defected, even when faced with suffering and horrible deaths, including stoning and crucifixion. Is that likely?”
The best explanation for these four facts is that Jesus truly rose from the dead. Hallucinations do not explain the group resurrection experiences of Jesus nor does His followers stealing His body explain their transformed lives. God truly rose Jesus from the dead, but what does that mean for us?
The Good News
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6). Jesus is the Son of God (which was proven when God raised Him from the dead) and He came to earth to save us from our sins. God is holy and cannot be around sin, nor leave it unpunished. When we lie, steal, cheat, hate our neighbor or use God’s name as a swear word, we break God’s laws. The punishment for our sins is separation from God in hell for eternity. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
God sent His Son into this world to live a perfect life on our behalf and to take the punishment for our sins by dying on the cross in our place. When we trust in the Lord Jesus to save us, believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead and that His death paid for our sins, we will be saved. This gift is free and cannot be earned. Simply cry out to Jesus, confess your sins to Him and trust in Him to save you and He will. “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:13). Then simply follow Jesus and grow in your relationship with Him. With love, friend. God bless you.