The bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the lynchpin that all of Christianity is built upon. If Jesus didn’t rise from the grave, then our hope and faith are in vain, and we are still living in our sins and bound for eternal damnation in Hell. The apostle Paul explained this himself in 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17. 

This is probably one of the reasons it is so attacked and vilified by the world; they realise its importance to the Christian faith.

Table Of Contents

If you examine the Bible with an open mind, it always stands up to historical scrutiny. In fact, archaeology is finding more and more corroborating evidence for the historicity of the Biblical account; it's as if modern archaeology is finally catching up with scripture!

Not many people will argue that Jesus lived; even most atheists will accept this fact. His life, so heavily documented in the Scriptures, is full of miraculous events that defy explanation. And these events were witnessed by thousands of people.

And His trial, scourging, and crucifixion were very public events, corroborated by extra-biblical sources. So, the fact that Jesus was executed in this way is mostly accepted; it is what happens after that isn't...

Do We Have Any Evidence That Jesus Rose From The Grave?

As mentioned above, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in history for Christians. It proves that Jesus was who He said He was; namely the Son of God, who had power over the grave and defeated death.

This gives us hope of an eternity with Christ in Heaven, where there is no pain, suffering, or death. What a wonderful Saviour we have!

And, if He did indeed rise from the grave, this automatically disproves all other religious systems, and that He will one day return to judge the world in righteousness.

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence for the Resurrection is found in the Bible, a collection of historical documents that are divinely inspired by God Himself. These infallible texts leave no doubt that Jesus rose from the dead, and as a result, we can place our complete trust in this pivotal event. The Bible's unequivocal account of the Resurrection provides us with an unparalleled level of confidence in this miraculous occurrence.

Now, there are many who will try to reject the authority of the Bible, but even if they do that, they still need to deal with the fact that there are numerous other historical documents which make the same claim.

Even some of the most sceptical secular historians and theologians have been forced to accept the overwhelming evidence supporting the reality of Christ's Resurrection. Nevertheless, many of these scholars reach a different conclusion regarding its significance, often based on their own personal beliefs and biases.

Testimony is a very powerful piece of evidence, we use it all the time in criminal trials etc. So, consider this:

Is there evidence of early testimony regarding the resurrection of Jesus? Absolutely. The earliest testimony can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, which was written within three years of Jesus' death. This passage contains the earliest creed of Easter.
 Are there eyewitness accounts of the resurrection? Yes, 1 Corinthians 15 contains eyewitness testimony, and two of the gospel writers were themselves eyewitnesses to the risen Christ.
Do multiple, independent witnesses attest to the resurrection? Yes, Matthew, John, and Paul are three independent witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus.
Did the eyewitnesses have anything to gain from lying about what they witnessed? No, quite the opposite. Preaching the gospel brought them only ostracism, suffering, and even death.
Could the eyewitnesses have been mistaken? It is highly unlikely. These individuals were personally acquainted with Jesus and saw that the tomb was empty. They were even initially sceptical of reports of the risen Jesus, but He appeared to them in physical form, allowing them to touch Him and even eat with Him.
Is there anything about the nature of the testimony that could be considered embarrassing or unreliable? Yes, there are a few aspects to consider. Firstly, the initial witnesses of the resurrection were women, whom the disciples themselves did not believe at first.
This may have been seen as a potential weakness in the testimony, as women were not typically regarded as reliable witnesses in that time period. Also, even after witnessing Jesus' resurrection, the disciples were initially confused and unsure about what had actually occurred, despite Jesus having predicted it multiple times.

While these aspects of the testimony may be seen as potentially problematic, they also serve as powerful evidence of the transformative and convincing nature of the resurrection experience.

A Healthy Dose Of Scepticism

Were there any witnesses who were initially hostile or sceptical towards Jesus?
Yes, there was! Jesus' own brother James and the apostle Paul did not believe in him before his death. However, after experiencing appearances of the risen Jesus, both of them became stalwart missionaries of the early church, ultimately sacrificing their lives for their Christian witness. 

James, the half-brother of Jesus, was a sceptic during his brother's time on earth. In fact, he once claimed that Jesus was "out of His mind." Even when Jesus was on the cross, He entrusted the care of His mother to His disciple John instead of James, indicating that James had not yet come to believe. 

However, something remarkable happened after Jesus ascended to heaven. James had a dramatic change of heart and became a leader in the Jerusalem church.

What could have caused this transformation in James? It is likely that he was convicted of his unbelief and came to believe in Jesus after seeing Him alive following His execution. James went from being a sceptic to a believer, and his story is a testament to the power of faith and the transformative nature of Christ's resurrection.

Paul is an exceptional witness to the Resurrection, having been one of the early church's most feared persecutors. Unlike blind followers, he was initially sceptical of the faith. 

However, after encountering the risen Lord, he underwent a remarkable transformation, becoming one of the most influential Christians in history. 

Throughout his life, Paul endured immense persecution for his faith, including imprisonment, floggings, beatings, and even stoning. His unwavering conviction and dedication to the gospel is a testament to the power of the Resurrection. 

It is clear that Paul's life was profoundly impacted by his encounter with the risen Saviour on the road to Damascus. Without this life-changing event, there is no plausible explanation for the profound transformation that Paul underwent. His story also serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of faith and the Resurrection.

The Empty Tomb Itself!

The evidence supporting the resurrection of Christ is abundant and undeniable. The fact that His body was no longer in the tomb is consistent with biblical accounts of His rising. 

Even the guards assigned to watch the tomb and the chief priests were forced to admit that the tomb was empty. This led the Jews to concoct the lie that the body had been stolen. A marble tablet, now housed in France’s National Library, confirms that news of the supposed theft had even reached the Roman emperor (probably Claudius) within a decade of the Resurrection.

Given that the only event in Israel that could reasonably explain such a decree is the lie concocted by the Jewish leaders, this tablet provides further corroboration of Matthew’s account of these events. 

It is clear that the resurrection of Christ was not merely a spiritual or metaphorical event, but a physical one with tangible evidence to support it.