Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?

Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?
The fact that Jesus died on the cross and three days later came alive again is
foundational to the Christian faith. However, many today find miracles difficult to believe
— especially the idea of someone dead suddenly being alive.
The miracle of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead has been discussed and debated
for centuries. If it is as important as Christians claim it is, then it is critical that everyone
understands what it is and what it means so that they can make a decision whether to
believe it’s true.


Why Is The Resurrection So Important?
There are people who believe in Jesus, but do not believe that He rose from the dead.
Many religions acknowledge Jesus in some way, but do not believe that He came back
to life after He died. Yet, if Jesus really did rise from the dead, then His life and words
carry authority. He is more than just an influential person; He’s God’s son. Before He
died, Jesus made bold claims that He would rise again. Jesus said, “The Son of Man
[referring to Himself] is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be
killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” (Mark 9:31) This is a put up or
shut up prediction. If this happened as Jesus said it would, then everything Jesus said
and did must be believed. He backed it up!


What Does The Resurrection Mean To Me?
To many, the idea of Jesus being alive does not feel like it has any significant impact on
their faith. Maybe you think Christianity has a lot of rules and that being a good person
earns your way to Heaven. Most religions operate on this premise, or a similar one.
But according to the Bible, when you become a Jesus follower, you begin a relationship
with Jesus. This relationship does not depend on what you do, but on what Jesus did.
People are all sinful by nature and unable to keep from doing wrong. Because of that,
all people deserve God’s wrath. But Jesus took that punishment for you. Even though
He was without sin, He died on the cross instead of you and me. (Romans 3)
But if He remained dead, that would be the end of it, and you would have no hope. Not
only did He need to die for you, but He needed to defeat death for you too. Everyone is
afraid of dying. We believe in the one person who has defeated death. Because He
lives, His followers will live even after they physically die. If you are a follower of Jesus,
death has been defeated and has no lasting power over you. (Romans 6)

What Is The Evidence For The Resurrection?
There are many compelling proofs for the resurrection. The transformation of the
disciples from scared, unschooled nobodies to seismic cultural and spiritual
world-changers. The center of the church’s growth was in Jerusalem, where a body
could easily be produced to destabilize the movement and contradict the disciple’s story.
Many people saw Jesus alive. Paul, an early follower of Jesus, alludes to this when
talking to Roman authorities. Paul tells a group of Roman statesmen that Jesus died
and rose again, and when questioned, he says, “King Agrippa knows about these
things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not
done in a corner!” (Acts 26:26). The Roman and Jewish authorities heard the reports
that Jesus, the man crucified, rose from the dead.
Historians, during the time of Jesus and even now, admit this event happened.
Renowned atheist-turned-deist philosopher, Antony Flew, affirms that “the evidence for
the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It’s
outstandingly different in quality and quantity.” Jewish scholar Pinchas Lapide even
states, “I accept the resurrection of Easter Sunday not as an invention of the community
of disciples, but as a historical event.”
However, the greatest evidence for the resurrection is the empty tomb. History has not
produced the body of Jesus even though many groups of people had a ventured, even
fanatical, interest in undermining Christianity. This caused the religious leaders during
the time of Christ to fabricate excuses for the missing body, which people continue
today.
Here is a list of the top few:

  1. The disciples were lying; they made it up.
    This is the easiest objection to answer, because virtually all scholars – Christian or
    otherwise – accept that the disciples truly believed that they saw the risen Jesus. Let us
    say, however, that these disciples (who were so scared after the crucifixion that they ran
    away, pretended not to know Jesus, and were skeptical themselves) did decide to make
    it all up, just to support their cause. Why would they choose women to be the first
    witnesses, since the testimony of a woman was not even valid in a court of law?
    Furthermore, would these women really be able to subdue the armed guards at the
    tomb, such that the guards had no recollection of the event? Would every one of these
    disciples, ultimately each victims of martyrdom for claiming their belief in a risen Christ,
    keep this conspiracy silent even in the face of torture and death? It seems incredibly
    unlikely that the disciples would have stolen the body and falsified a story.

  2. The disciples saw a ghost, an apparition, or some sort of spiritual being that seemed
    real.

    If this were true, why did the disciples claim (and believe) that they touched him, ate
    with him, walked with him? Additionally, if this were true, what happened to Jesus’
    body? There is still the problem of the empty tomb. Against this argument, I have found
    the most convincing response to be one from NT Wright, who has studied first century
    Judaism extensively. Wright claims that if you asked one of the disciples what they
    would call the idea that Jesus’ spirit lived on while his body remained lifeless, they
    would have answered “death” – not “resurrection.” Wright says, “to speak of the
    destruction of the body and the continuing existence, however blessed, of something
    else (call it a “soul” for the sake of argument) is not to speak of resurrection, but simply
    of death itself. Resurrection is not simply death from another viewpoint; it is the reversal
    of death, its cancellation, the destruction of its power.”
    https://ntwrightpage.com/2016/04/05/the-resurrection-of- resurrection/

  3. The disciples experienced very vivid, life-like hallucinations that first century people
    did not understand.

    This does not hold water, because hallucinations cannot be shared within a group.
    Jesus did not simply appear to one or two people, but hundreds. This idea also
    presupposes that those who lived in the first century did not understand hallucinations,
    or the idea that a grief-stricken group could be visited with something they believed was
    Jesus. Acts 12 destroys this argument – when Peter appears at his house when he is
    freed from prison, the other Christians assume that it isn’t him, but instead “his angel”
    (Acts 12.15). Early disciples used this term for a sort of vision or hallucination, which
    demonstrates they knew such things existed. While these first century people didn’t
    have the same grasp of neurology as we do, they knew enough to be skeptical. The fact
    that they didn’t assume Christ before them as a hallucination, suggests this was an
    experience completely new to them.

  4. Jesus was not actually dead, but merely in a coma or unconscious.
    Despite the fact that he was flogged, speared, and crucified, somehow Jesus is able
    (after a few days with no medical care) to get up, overcome armed guards, roll a heavy
    stone away, and walk around Jerusalem like nothing happened? Besides the physical
    impossibility of that quick recovery, the Romans were experts in crucifixion. They knew
    how to make sure someone was dead, and it is not likely that such an expert would be
    mistaken about death.

Conclusion:
When all other alternatives are exhausted, and there are no objections left, there is
simply this truth: Jesus has defeated sin. Jesus has conquered death. And for all who
would turn from sin and trust in Him, Jesus offers resurrection and life.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:55-57)