12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 7

Easter Story Text

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.

Having now briefly examined nine evidences supporting Jesus’s resurrection (see part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6), let’s explore three more and finish up this Easter-related series.

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?

Resources

Endnotes

  1. 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).

  One thought on “12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 7

  1. April 25, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

    • April 25, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for the reblog, Vincent.

      Ken Samples

  2. April 25, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Ken, thank you for this series. It’s very hard to order these reasons in their persuasive power. As a collection, they are certainly overwhelming evidence to those of us whose eyes have been opened by the grace of God to His perfect truths despite our rebellious and poisonous nature. And these evidences pile on to those seen in the entire history of the Hebrew people and nation which God chose to use to demonstrate and achieve His plan for the redemption of human beings to the ends of the earth. That is, if the Son of God to perform His purpose had simply been dropped anywhere into our world instead of arising out of a certain tradition-filled culture that had already been shown certain graces and perseverance through the preceding generations, far less attention would have been paid to Him during His life and afterwards, and the good news would not be so accessible, clear, and persistent throughout the world from then to this day. And this partnership God made with the Hebrew nation is symbolic of the partnership He seeks with us through Christ, working with us and through us individually to partake of and advance His glory. Indeed, for me, the strongest evidence of all is in the peace and joy that come with faith in Christ, which abound through all of the struggles and triumphs of life here, growing stronger and sweeter, and more assured and reinforcing, as each year goes by.

    • April 25, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you MFD, for your thoughtful comments.

      I’m glad the series was helpful to you.

      Best regards.

      Ken Samples

  3. Russell W. Aubrey
    April 25, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Dr. Samples, did it ever occur to you that if one was to rattle off these 12 pieces of virtual proof that they might begin to sound a bit forensic? I’m playing devil’s advocate because I think getting quickly to the person of Jesus is even more compelling. His personhood requires both an emotional and intellectual response and not just an intelluctiual response. As an example, I’ll use Dr. Rana, who, from what I”ve read, was more influenced by the Sermon on the Mount. It is in the Sermon that we get to meet the person of Jesus. Of course, none of my comments are meant to demean your fine work. On the contrary, I aim to learn all 12 of them.

    • April 26, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Russell:

      Thanks for reading my series on the resurrection of Jesus and for leaving your comments.

      Here’s my response:

      First, I don’t hold a doctoral degree so you can call me Mr. Samples.

      Second, I’ve written extensively about the role of grace, faith, reason, and nonrational forms of persuasion in a person coming to Christ. So, yes, it has occurred to me. Here’s an article where I do just that: http://www.reasons.org/blogs/reflections/faith-reason-and-personal-persuasion

      Third, I don’t view these 12 arguments or evidences as “proofs.” I’m not sure there is proof in an deductive sense for the truth of God’s existence or of the truth of Christianity. I do, however, think many arguments for God’s existence are cogent and that the 12 evidences for Jesus’s resurrection that I have written about in the Reflections series above are logically strong and probative. My basic apologetic approach reflects an abductive type of reasoning that is often referred to as a cumulative case.

      Fourth, I don’t think the tone and approach of my Easter series reflects a “rattle off” approach that is purely cerebral and forensic. If you’ve heard me speak publicly or listened to one of my many podcasts I don’t think I come off in such a manner. At least the feedback I’ve received over 30 years of doing apologetics seldom reflects a cool, detached intellectualism.

      Fifth, the Devil doesn’t need an advocate. He does petty well on his own. 🙂

      Sixth, it is interesting that you mention introducing Jesus because I have a new book that does just that. It is entitled God among Sages: Why Jesus Isn’t Just Another Religious Leader. Here’s an add for my book: http://www.reasons.org/god-among-sages

      By the way, the 12 evidences are about Jesus so in effect they are introducing him.

      Seventh, I think a fair reading of the New Testament indicates that the central evidence for the truth of Jesus’s ministry and claims as well as the truth of Christianity as a whole rests on the resurrection (see 1 Cor. 15). So while there are many arguments and evidences for the truth of God and Christianity, the argument for the resurrection is unique and probably should take priority.

      Eighth, the series is written during the Easter season to specifically support the truth of Easter.

      Thanks again for your comments. I hope my extended response helps you to appreciate where I’m coming from.

      He’s risen!

      Best regards in Christ.

      Ken Samples

      • Russell W. Aubrey
        April 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

        Thank you, Mr. Samples. First, I’ll apologize for compelling you to write a lengthy reply. I will also review the links about your work that you provided.

        Yes, in fact, I’m very familiar with your podcasts, but so far, I’ve only had time to read two books in total, by Dr. Ross and Dr. Rana: “Who is Adam” and “Improbable Planet.” I also recall listening to a seven-part podcast that you delivered on the elements of reason and how to argue with correct reason. I don’t think that is what you named it, but what I remember. I’ve also been a financial contributor to your organization the past few years, although not in the past few months.

        Yes, I’m in total agreement that without the reality of the resurrection all else is wind. I always start with, when given a chance: “Where is the body?” People relate to the power of authority and will naturally wonder why a body was never recovered. One found body, no founded religion.

        Here is a little four part syllogism I came up with. I thought it might interest a great philosopher such as yourself.

        1. Love as an absolute idea cannot die.
        2. Love is not a material thing as it exists in one’s spirit.
        3. Since love cannot die and lives in a person’s spirit, when people die their spirit
        cannot die.
        4. Therefore, God, who is known as the source of such eternal life, must exist.

        Thanks for all that you and the team do.

      • April 26, 2017 at 11:48 am

        Thanks, Russell.

        I appreciate your syllogism and your support of RTB.

        All the best.

        Ken Samples

  4. Rita
    April 27, 2017 at 11:58 am

    A quick reply – I personally think the eyewitness account is the most compelling and a good starting point for conversation, with all else to follow if there seems to be curiosity. Thank you, Ken, for all these evidences in one location.

    • April 27, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you, Rita, for your thoughtfulness.

      Ken Samples

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