Nearly six years ago, one of our contributors posted this blog on the resurrection of Jesus. In the post, John offers three pieces of evidence that support the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
- The eyewitness testimony of the disciples.
- The transformed lives of the disciples.
- The empty tomb.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus lies at the heart of Christian theology. If the body of Christ did not rise from the dead, the Christian faith means nothing. Since belief in the resurrection relies on the evidence, it’s worth our time as either believers or skeptics to evaluate the quality of the evidence.
The mistake that many people make (including those who believe in Jesus) is to remove the New Testament from its historical connections. In his book Reasonable Faith, William Lane Craig states, “Christianity is not a code for living or a philosophy of religion; rather it is rooted in real events of history.” Dr. Craig argues that the New Testament is different from other pieces of religious literature. While it communicates a code for living and promises spiritual insight and transformation for those who follow it, it does so in the midst of real events that happened to real people in real places some 2,000 years ago.
Whether or not the New Testament accurately portrays of the people, places, and events of the first century affects the credibility of the spiritual truths it teaches. Why should I believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life,” if the man who recorded that statement claimed the distance between Bethany and Jerusalem was 8 stadia rather than 15 (John 14:6 and 11:18)? In other words, if John could not accurately record well-known, verifiable facts, why should I trust what only he and a handful of other men heard a few chapters later?
The twelve disciples claimed that they witnessed Jesus alive from the dead. They ate with him, touched him, talked to him, and received critically important teachings from him during this time. Do we know if these were reliable men? What evidence do they offer for a bodily resurrection? And, if Jesus is in fact alive from the dead never to die again, how should that truth affect my life?
I plan to dedicate the next few weeks to answering these, and other, questions. However, I’m interested in what you think. If you’re a believer, what parts of the gospel convinced you that the disciples were trustworthy? If you’re a skeptic, what stands in your way from believing that Jesus rose from the dead?