Most of us know the Word and don’t even need this article I am writing to know that Jesus did indeed die for our sins and rose from the dead after - but what about those that don’t, or maybe are on the fence? Or those that sit and say, “There’s no scientific evidence! It was so long ago….” Today, I embark on an article to prove the resurrection of Jesus did indeed happen. With the Word as my main “weapon”, it cannot be denied. So, let’s get to it!
For Starters, We’d All Be a Bunch of Liars…
Starting with 1st Corinthians 15, as it discusses the hypocrisy of this, if there was no resurrection then it would signify a plethora of accusations. One who believes The Resurrection did not happen would also have to believe that Jesus was a liar, that Christians (all 2.38 Billion of us) and preachers alike are all liars, our faith in Jesus is false, all Christians are living in a completely sinful lie, and that when we die there is no afterlife since there is no resurrection from death (or maybe you just believe that physical resurrection is impossible, only spiritual).
1 Corinthians 15:4-7 (KJV): And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
Five Reasons to Believe
From studying the Word and compiling my thoughts for this article, I’ve come down to 5 concrete reasons as proof of The Resurrection.
1 – The actions taken by the Romans signify validity
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words”? A very true sentiment - someone can say all the correct things that you want to hear, but ultimately actions signify the true intent of the person and where they stand on a matter. This is the first very simple thing we can examine when looking for proof of The Resurrection in the Bible - the actions of the Romans.
Let’s start with taking a look at Matthew 27:62-66:
Matthew 27:62-66 (ESV): “The Guard at the Tomb”: The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
From this short passage, we see that the Romans took at least 3 precautions in order to ensure that the news of the resurrection would not spread. They thought of Jesus as an “impostor”, and did not want “His disciples” to steal His body and fake the resurrection. Moreover, they knew that Jesus had predicted to resurrect Himself within 3 days and they did not want that news to spread throughout the Roman empire if it happened. They didn’t care if He was the Son of God or not, they did NOT want that news to spread whether He resurrected or not.
These are the precautions they took to prevent this:
Rolled the stone in front the entrance – A stone was used to cover the tomb entrance that was so big that it required several men to move it. No one was getting in or out of that tomb without making a huge disturbance and requiring many men.
They put a seal on it – The Romans put a seal on the stone to ensure that His body was not tampered with or stolen. This Roman seal was extremely important - anyone who tampered with it could be executed according to Roman Law, and the only way to move the stone would be to break the seal as well.
They stationed a guard – The word “guard” is actually slightly misleading here when we read it on our own common terms - it wasn’t just one guard. A Roman guard usually consisted of about 10-30 men that would take turns at night watching whatever they were tasked to guard. In this case, the tomb, to ensure it was guarded at all times. And, as common in Roman Law, these men’s lives were at stake if anything happened on their watch.
Doesn’t that all sound like a very far reach to stop something if they didn’t think it was real? They wanted to prevent Jesus from getting out if He indeed did resurrect Himself, and also to prevent His disciples from stealing His body and perhaps faking a resurrection. Seems like quite a bit of work if nothing was going to happen, does it not? The Romans ensured they covered every possible avenue to prevent the resurrection of Jesus - or so they thought.
(Just in case you don’t know how this story ends, after the 3rd day He rose and appeared before many of His disciples. They broke the seal and moved the stone and indeed found the tomb empty and His body gone.)
2 – The faith of His disciples and Christians alike
Think about this logically and about your own life - imagine if you were a 1st Century Christian, would you risk your life and possibly being beheaded or hung to die, or even crucified, to spread a message about the resurrection of Jesus if you knew in your heart that it was all fake? What if you knew your friends had stolen His body to fake the resurrection? Would you still keep going and risk execution over a fabricated story?
The persecution that we go through today is similar to what happened long ago. Take a look at some of the experiences that the 1st Century apostles went through. Then, ask yourself if you think they would’ve risked their lives for such a lie:
(cast out of a city and stoned)Acts 7:57-58 (ESV): But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
(tortured and imprisoned)Hebrews 11:35-36 (ESV): Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
(beaten, whipped, stoned)2 Corinthians 11:22-29 (ESV): Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
Where did these people get this faith? Where did they get faith so strong that it cost many of them their lives? If you were one of them that had this type of faith in Jesus back then, what would have caused you to have such great faith? Some of these people were beheaded, beaten, whipped and lashed, stoned, etc. Why? Because they knew the Truth. They had seen Him for themselves. They had felt His power and presence. To risk death for something, in my opinion, truly means you know the value and validity of it.
3 – Jesus appears to others after The Resurrection
The Bible says that after Jesus rose, He appeared to multiple people such as Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (John 20:1-13, Matthew 28), Peter and John (John 21:1-20), even 2 men on a road (Mark 16:12-13), and the Apostles (Luke 24:36-49).
I have heard some unbelievers try to discredit the above recounts, saying things like “They wanted to see Him so bad that they imagined it.” Huh. Well, thankfully even for these people who may say that, the biggest reveal was still yet to come.
Jesus was then seen by over 500 people!
1 Corinthians 15:6 (NKJV): 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.
Some who have tried to argue away The Resurrection have said that these people were hallucinating. Really? If it was just one or two people, you might have a chance to make a case. But all of the prior people, AND all 500 of the others?!
It is not logical to even begin to say that all of these people lied. Have you ever worked in project management? Or managed a group of people? Try getting just 10-15 people to do their job, on time, to specifications, and not speak about it until it is done. That alone is nearly impossible - so you’re going to claim that the recount of over 500 people all made up seeing the Risen King?
4 – Even secular (non-Christian) literature confirms The Resurrection
Now, there will be those who may have reached this point in the article and said, “Well you’re just quoting the Bible…”
Well, for starters, if you didn’t know, the Bible is actually the most historically recounted written literature. To date, we have over 5,800 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, with an astounding 2.6 million pages of biblical text. In the old synagogue in Cairo, we’ve discovered 260,000 Hebrew manuscripts, 10,000 of which are biblical manuscripts. There are more than 200 biblical manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls, some of them were written in the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. They were written before the year 70 CE.
I often find it ironic how much people will study and point to other works of literature that have much, much less recounts found yet swear by it. Did you know that Buddhism has only about 22 actual ancient scrolls found, of which most are dated to be written nearly 600 years after the supposed “Buddha” lived and died? That is a long time to wait to start writing about something - everyone who could give an actual recount is long dead for many generations already. How can we definitively say, and accurately, where did Buddhism even came from then? That’s quite a difference from Christianity where we have many fragments as recent as 20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus (my guess is that anything closer to “Year 1” is long lost - but something as old as just 20 years after is amazing!). Alas, this is just to drive home this point - going deeper into this and other religions and their origins is another article already written on my site, and maybe another yet to come!
So, for those who feel as though using the Bible is mere circular reasoning, consider that even secular (non-Christian) history books confirm The Resurrection. Josephus, a Jewish non-Christian writer, even wrote about this in his history book titled The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus. Wouldn’t a non-Christian historian such as Josephus surely try to hide the glory of Jesus?
This is a small segment from his book:
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him man; for he was a doer of wonderful works…He drew over to him many Jews, and also many of the Greeks. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross…those who had loved him from the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive on the third day, the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him. And even now, the race of Christians, so named from him, has not died out.”
Another author, Thomas Arnold, (13 June 1795 – 12 June 1842) was an English educator and historian. Arnold was an early supporter of the Broad Church Anglican movement. He was the headmaster of Rugby School from 1828 to 1841, where he introduced a number of reforms that were widely copied by other prestigious public schools. He also wrote The History of Rome.
Here is a small segment from his book:
“The evidence for our Lord’s life and death and resurrection may be, and often has been, shown to be satisfactory; it is good according to the common rules for distinguishing good evidence from bad. Thousands and tens of thousands of persons have gone through it piece by piece, as carefully as every judge summing up on a most important cause. I have myself done it many times over, not to persuade others but to satisfy myself…I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort…than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”
You may have heard of Frank Morrison recently as well, the author of the book Who Moved the Stone?. His goal was to write a book to disprove The Resurrection, but something changed.
Check out what he had to say:
“I had been brought up in a rationalistic environment, and had come to the opinion that the resurrection was nothing but a fairy tale happy ending which spoiled the matchless story of Jesus. Therefore, I planned to write an account of the last tragic days of Jesus…But when I came to study the facts with care, I had to change my mind, and I wrote my book on the other side. My first chapter is significantly called, ‘The Book that Refused to Be Written’.”
These are just mere examples of many secular books that confirm the deity of Jesus and The Resurrection, but I settled on these few to share with you.
5 – The missing Body was NEVER found
The final and greatest proof of The Resurrection is the fact that the tomb was found empty and His body was never found deceased or decomposed somewhere. The one thing that the Jews and Romans needed in order to destroy Christianity forever would have been to show the dead, decomposed body of Jesus to the world to confirm that He was a liar and not the Son of God. If they simply could’ve produced His dead body then that would’ve put a quick end to any and all preaching of The Resurrection and Christianity as we know it.
But they were unable to do this! His dead body has never been found!
Jesus really had risen, and in fact they found the stone in front of the door with the seal intact and the tomb empty. They could never explain this away. If this wasn’t true, it would have taken a very large group of people somehow tricking away the Roman guards and and no other witnesses and absolutely no one speaking of it afterwards to pull off such a fake heist that would have included breaking the seal, moving the stone, taking and hiding the body, moving the stone back, and re-sealing it with the Roman seal to absolute perfection as it was before with no noticeable difference - a nearly impossible task back then with ancient technology as well, and something of that magnitude would be even more difficult today. Someone would have said something if The Resurrection was fake or didn’t happen. Need I say more?
The fact of the resurrection is critical to Christians for two reasons:
First, it strengthens your own faith. It assures you that you are not believing in some myth or something that your parents or pastors tell you to believe. YOU believe it in your heart.
Second, it prepares you to defend your faith to others who may be skeptics and are genuinely and curiously looking for answers to difficult questions.
I encourage you to continue to ask these hard questions and seek to find credible answers - it will go a long way in spreading the good Word.
Be blessed my friends, and keep your hearts on Jesus.