The Resurrection of Jesus: Fraud, Fiction, or Fact
Our sin nature is eradicated, our sins are evaporated, and our guilt is eliminated. That is, if Jesus arose. We believe He did. Skeptics say He did not. If Jesus Christ did not rise, He is the greatest fraud to have ever lived, the Gospel is pure fiction, and the future of humankind is hopeless. We are still in our sins. But if He did arise, we are blessed, blessed, and blessed again!
Since there is monumental evidence for the resurrection, the burden is on those who deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ to prove it did not occur. What evidence do they have that it did not happen? The truth is they reject the resurrection, not because they have objectively examined the evidence as a judge would do in a court of law, but because they have concluded, without proof, that miracles do not happen. This is not science; this is a philosophical bias.
Miracles do happen. Though they will not admit it, even evolutionary science is based on a miracle. It is an axiom of science that anything that has a beginning must have a cause outside of itself. Since the universe had a beginning, it could not have caused or created itself. That would be a scientific absurdity. The universe, therefore, could not have come into existence without the outside intervention of a force strong enough to begin it and which of necessity had to be in existence already. Thus, evolutionary science is based on a miracle.
Once we accept the possibility of miracles, the evidence for the resurrection is significant, far more than would be required in a court of law to reach a verdict beyond any reasonable doubt. Consider the following:
1. The credibility of Christ
Jesus claimed publicly He would be killed and on the third day arise. Who in his right mind would make such an “impossible” claim and expect people to take him seriously, unless He was very confident He could fulfill that promise? No wonder no other religious leader dared to make such a promise. Had He failed to deliver, Jesus would have lost all credibility and not only He, but Christianity itself would have died with Him. But Christianity did not die, and that’s because Jesus arose.
2. The courage of the disciples
Shortly after His arrest, they were filled with fear. They denied Him and fled for their lives. They lacked both the courage and the conviction required to remain loyal when their very lives were on the line. But just a short while later, they stood boldly in the temple and on the streets proclaiming Jesus as Lord, prepared to pay for this message with their own blood. What can account for this profound psychological transformation and behavioral change in all eleven of these men in only a few days? Only one thing, the resurrection! They testify that they became convinced when He appeared to them personally on several occasions after He arose.
3. The confirmation of eyewitnesses
The strength of the eyewitness testimonies alone should be enough to prove Jesus arose. If a lawyer in our judicial system can produce just two or three credible eyewitnesses to testify they saw and heard the same thing, that would be considered more than enough evidence to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. In the case of the resurrection, we have at least 514 persons testifying that they saw Him, some of them heard Him, touched Him, and even had breakfast and dinner with Him. What motive did they have to fabricate a story like this one? In their Jewish cultural setting, these men and women had nothing to gain by lying, and much to lose by telling the truth. Not one or two, but 514 persons willing to testify and die for a lie they made up? That is just not logical!
4. The condition of the tomb
The tomb of Jesus is empty. Who moved the body? His enemies would not. His friends could not. His disciples did not. We are left with only one other possibility.
Saints, Jesus arose. Sinners, Jesus arose. Saints and sinners, He arose for you. He arose because He is the Son of God. He arose that you might arise also.
Believe on Him now and you shall arise also!