Did Jesus really resurrect from the dead?

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most well documented events in history. 

The Bible writers told us plainly that Jesus died.

(John 19:30 NIV) When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

His death was verified by a Roman soldier.

(John 19:32-33) The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. {33} But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

Historical records show us that Jesus did not die and remain dead; He was resurrected.

The first person Jesus appeared to after He resurrected was to Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18). In a male-dominated first century Jewish culture, a person inventing a story would never have suggested that Jesus first appeared to a woman. A woman’s testimony was not even accepted in the courts at that time.

Jesus appeared to many people from that day onwards. He appeared to Cephas, James, the disciples, the two men on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-15), even to more than 500 people at one time (1 Cor 15:3-7).

The accounts of Jesus’ resurrection in the Bible were based eyewitness testimonies.

(Luke 1:1-2)  Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, {2} just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

Dr Simon Greenleaf, a Harvard Professional of Law, concluded that the resurrection of Christ was one of the best-supported events in history, according to the laws of legal evidence administered in courts of justice.

Not only was the resurrection accounts of Jesus recorded in the Bible, it was also substantiated outside the Bible.

 A first century Jewish historian Josephus wrote, “He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day…”

The life of Jesus’ disciples is further testimony that they have witnessed their risen Master.

After Jesus’ death His disciples were scared, scattered, and skeptical. Only one, John, was at the crucifixion (John 19:26-27). The rest fled (Matt 27:58). The disciples doubted the reports of the women (Luke 24:11). A few weeks later these very same men and women who had huddled in secret (John 20:19) were fearlessly and openly proclaiming the resurrection of Christ before the religious council, Sanhedrin, that was responsible for Christ’s death (Acts 4 – 5).

Not only were the lives of Jesus’ disciples totally transformed after they saw their resurrected Master, these disciples were even willing to die for their belief in the resurrection. History tells us that out of twelve disciples, eleven died as martyrs testifying to the resurrection of Jesus. The question we have to ask ourselves is this: “Who is willing to die for a lie?” It is true many people died for something that is not true, but they died thinking it was true. It would be hard to find eleven people in history that died for a lie, knowing it was a lie.

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