12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 4


Some people have had dramatic religious conversions. In fact, my three favorite Christian thinkers outside of the biblical authors—St. Augustine, Blaise Pascal, and C. S. Lewis—all experienced amazing life-changing conversions to Christianity. But there is one person whose conversion to the Christian faith changed the world forever. That individual said that his spiritual transformation was due to encountering the resurrected Jesus Christ.

So far in this series on evidences for the resurrection we have examined four confirmatory aspects to buttress the truth of Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection (see part 1, part 2, and part 3). In this article we’ll briefly explore how Christianity’s greatest convert adds one more powerful reason to affirm the resurrection.

5. The Greatest Religious Conversion Ever
Saul of Tarsus was a respected, first-century Hebrew scholar of the Torah (the Law), a member of the Jewish party of the Pharisees, and a Roman citizen (Acts 21:37–22:3). Fervent in his devotion to God and in his intent to protect ancient Judaism from what he perceived as false and heretical teaching, he became the central adversary of the primitive Christian church. Saul expressed his impassioned hostility toward Christians by having them arrested and inciting physical persecution and execution of believers, including Stephen (Acts 7:54–8:3; Galatians 1:13–14). Traveling on the road to Damascus to further persecute the church (ca. AD 31–33), Saul underwent an extraordinary life-changing experience. According to his claim, Saul saw and spoke with the resurrected Jesus (Acts 9:1–30; 22:5–13). Following his dramatic conversion to the movement he once hated, he took on the Gentile name “Paul” and became the greatest advocate of the newfound Christian faith. After Jesus Christ himself, many scholars view the apostle Paul as the second most important figure in the history of Christianity. Paul went on to become the faith’s greatest missionary, theologian, and apologist as well as the inspired author of 13 New Testament books.

What caused Paul’s conversion—arguably the greatest religious conversion ever? To understand the true impact of this conversion, let’s consider what may be the modern equivalent of Paul’s first-century conversion to Christianity. Imagine the British prime minister and statesman Winston Churchill becoming a member of the Nazi party. Or American president Ronald Reagan embracing Soviet communism. Or German Führer Adolf Hitler converting to the religion of Judaism. Whatever equivalent one rightly accepts, Paul’s conversion to Christianity was an absolutely astounding event.

But how is this extraordinary change of allegiance to be explained? According to Paul himself, the incredible transformation of one of Western civilization’s most influential religious leaders and thinkers was due to the appearance of the resurrected Christ. The conversion of the apostle Paul, not to mention his life and accomplishments, seems truly inexplicable apart from the fact of the resurrection.

It seems the only thing that could have possibly changed Saul’s incredibly negative opinion about primitive Christianity was for him to encounter its leader, Jesus of Nazareth, raised from the dead.

Reflections: Your Turn

Have you ever known someone who has had a genuinely dramatic conversion to Christianity? What struck you about it? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.


  One thought on “12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 4

  1. April 4, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

    • April 4, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Thanks for the reblog, Vincent.

      Ken Samples

  2. Rita Gorski
    April 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I do know someone, heard her testimony and have spoken with her. She was a militant recruiter and teacher for terrorist Islamic Jihad in Europe. She had a dream of a “man dressed in white” who spoke to her and asked her why she was persecuting him. She pursued that dream with many questions and eventually gave her life to Jesus and now preaches of Him. Can’t give her name – she gets many death threats. I’ve read other testimonies of former Muslims who have had the same dream and found Jesus. Jesus will pursue anyone no matter their background, according to his purpose and will. As He did with all of us. Thank you, Lord!

    • April 4, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Wow! Thanks for sharing her story, Rita.

      Best regards.

      Ken Samples

  3. Russell W. Aubrey
    April 6, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    I appreciate that you are doing this, Dr. Samples.

    • April 7, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Thank you, Russell.

  4. Gary
    April 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Christians should compare the Resurrection story to this story:

    This morning you woke up and your car keys are missing. You tear the house apart and still cannot find them. You go out in front of your house to check the front door, the drive way, and your car but still do not find your keys. Your neighbor, who is a professional psychic, asks what is going on. You tell her about your missing keys. She consults her psychic tea leaves and they tell her that a group of space aliens took your keys last night. She says that a space ship hovered over your house at approximately 3 AM, two of the aliens descended onto your roof, entered your house, walked out with your keys, levitated back into the space ship, and then flew off into the night sky.

    Your neighbor publishes this story on her weekly psychic blog.

    Within days, several of your neighbors report having seen “something” above your house the night of your missing keys. Some even claim to have seen the aliens on your roof.

    There is no other evidence to suggest why your keys are missing.

    Question: Should you believe this very extraordinary explanation for your missing keys just because there are eyewitnesses and it is the only story that exists?

    • April 8, 2017 at 3:21 pm



      As a logic instructor I think you’ve created an alternative explanatory story that has very little if anything in comparison with the historic Christian claim concerning Jesus’s resurrection.


      Ken Samples

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