I like to visit cemeteries because they remind me that I’m mortal and life is very short. Seeing the graves of people also focuses my attention upon eternal issues like what will await me after death. I like to think that reflecting upon my death will help me live a more authentic and focused life.
10. No Tomb Was Ever Venerated as the Burial Place of Jesus
The burial places of famous people were often venerated in the ancient world. However, Jesus Christ is arguably the most famous person in all of history and yet no grave or tomb was ever said to have permanently contained his body. According to his apostles, Jesus’s tomb is empty for his body has been raised. The unique Christian truth-claim is that the one-of-a-kind Jesus, the very Son of God, conquered death.
11. A Crucified Messiah Would Have Been Viewed by All Jewish Christians as Cursed by God
If Jesus had been merely crucified with no resurrection to follow then he would have been viewed by all Jews as a false prophet who was obviously cursed by the Lord God Yahweh. Yet the viability of Christianity as a true faith was buttressed by Jesus’s resurrection. In other words, Jesus’s glorious resurrection from the dead made sense of his ignominious death. The resurrection that followed turned Jesus’s crucifixion into a divine atonement.
12. All the Alternative Naturalistic Explanations for the Resurrection of Jesus Prove False
If the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus didn’t involve the supernatural then there should be a viable natural explanation to account for the data. Yet none of the many naturalistic alternative theories hold water.1 On careful inspection, all of them prove false or inadequate. So the fact that all of the natural explanations fail serves as one more evidence of the truth of Jesus’s resurrection.
I invite you to read through and study these 12 brief evidences for Jesus’s resurrection multiple times. Consult the scholarly resources listed below for more information and context. Grow in your knowledge of the resurrection. Consider sharing this list with other Christians who have doubts, and be ready to talk about this evidence with nonbelievers and skeptics.
If Jesus Christ actually rose from the dead, and there is plenty of good evidence that he did, then all of his followers who know him as Lord and Savior will also rise to eternal life on the last day.
Reflections: Your Turn
What do you consider to be the strongest evidence of Jesus’s resurrection? How would you order the evidence in making a cumulative case?
- I address the resurrection of Jesus in two of my books, Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions (see chapter 10) and 7 Truths That Changed the World: Discovering Christianity’s Most Dangerous Ideas (see chapters 1 and 2).
- I also recommend The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona and Knowing the Truth about the Resurrection: Our Response to the Empty Tomb by William Lane Craig.
- A further recommended source is N. T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God.
- For a list and critique of the common naturalistic explanations for Jesus’s resurrection, see Kenneth Samples, “Objections Examined,” chap. 2 in 7 Truths That Changed the World: Discovering Christianity’s Most Dangerous Ideas (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012).