Who are you going to put your hope in for eternal life? Jesus Christ said in John 11:25, “I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”
Consider that every religious leader of history—Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed—are all in the grave. But Jesus Christ isn’t. His tomb is empty. Jesus Christ alone possessed the power to overcome the grave.
The Resurrection is not a myth. How do we know this fact? The accounts of Jesus Christ began before mythology could contaminate the truth. For instance, the church has recited a creed as early as 24 to 36 months after the death of Jesus: Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried. And he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
The fact that these accounts of Jesus’ Resurrection go back so early completely contradicts the assertion that the Resurrection was a product of mythology that developed during the decades following Jesus’ life.
In 1990 archaeologists in Jerusalem uncovered the burial grounds of Caiaphas, Jesus’ chief accuser. Nobody has ever found the body of Jesus Christ. History tells us Jesus’ body was laid to rest in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, and the tomb was sealed.
An extremely heavy boulder was rolled in front of it, and it was guarded by elite Roman guards. Yet, it was discovered empty on Easter morning, quite significantly, by some women. The Bible says women found the tomb empty lends even more credibility to these accounts because women had low status in Jewish society at that time. If the disciples were making up this story, they would have claimed it was men who discovered the tomb empty because their testimony would have been more credible in that culture.
Jesus’ opponents admitted the tomb was empty. They bribed the tomb guards to say it was the disciples who stole the body while they were asleep. That’s ridiculous because the disciples didn’t have the opportunity. Besides, if the guards were sleeping, how did they know the disciples who stole the body? When the disciples declared the tomb was empty, Jesus’ opponents didn’t respond by saying, you’re wrong; He’s in the tomb. Nor did they respond by saying you just have the wrong tomb. The body is over here. The recorded fact is that they admitted the tomb was empty on Easter.
How did the tomb become empty? The fact is that the Roman and Jewish authorities wouldn’t have taken the body. They all wanted Jesus dead. The Jews or Romans would have loved to produce the dead body of Jesus Christ thereby putting an end to the question of Jesus being alive. But they didn’t because they couldn’t.
Would the disciples remove the body? They surely would not have chosen such opposition, being tortured to death for a deception. If this had been a conspiracy one of the disciples would have broken ranks under the pain of torture and told the truth. But it never happened.
Perhaps the women on Easter morning went to the wrong tomb. Not only did Mary Magdalene and the other women find the tomb empty, but Peter and John came out and checked it out for themselves. Don’t you think they would have made absolutely sure this was the right tomb before they risked their lives proclaiming that Jesus’ body was gone?
History’s unanimous testimony is on Easter morning the tomb was empty. There was no motive for the Jewish authorities, the Romans, or the disciples to have stolen the body. The only explanation that fits the facts is that Jesus did return from the dead.
During the next 40 days, Jesus appeared a dozen times to more than 515 different individuals. He talked with people. He ate with people. He even invited Thomas to put his fingers in his hands where the nail holes were and to put his hand in his side where the spear had been thrust into him. Consider the fact that there were 515 eyewitnesses. If we had a trial on the question of whether Jesus returned from the dead, and if we were to call each one of the 515 witnesses to give a first-hand account of their encounter with Jesus for just 15 minutes, this would be 128 hours of eyewitness accounts (5 days) about Jesus appearing. This number and quality of eyewitnesses are unprecedented.
Were they all hallucinating? As an experienced mental health clinician, I can tell you that this is just not possible. Hallucinations are like dreams. They’re individual events that can’t be shared between people. If you think about it, having 515 people all having the same hallucination at the same time, would this not be a huge miracle in itself?
The appearances of Jesus were actual historical events that transformed people’s lives. Think about what happened to the disciples. History tells us that before Easter, they were discouraged because they thought Jesus was dead. The disciples after the crucifixion were hiding, afraid they might be put to death. Yet, after Easter, these same men were out boldly proclaiming that Jesus Christ was alive. It is a fact that all but one of those disciples suffered violent deaths. Yet none of them ever denied, renounced, recanted their testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who literally and bodily appeared to them.
The evidence is clear and overwhelming: early accounts + empty tomb + eyewitness testimony = the certainty that Jesus Christ was indeed resurrected from the dead. This validates the fact that Jesus Christ is the unique, one and only Son of God.
It is a FACT! He is RISEN!