By TYLER SMITH
AUTHOR- SEARCHING FOR SEVEN
Was the Resurrection of Jesus just a made-up story? Maybe the first Christians just wanted to feel better about themselves, so they “invented” the story in order to do so. Or maybe it never happened, and Christians decades or centuries later decided to add that detail to fit their narrative.
Or maybe… There’s overwhelming evidence that it did actually happen.
This one event in history changed everything. And even if you have doubts, uncertainties, or questions about the Bible itself, or Christianity in general… this is the singular most important question for you to research and discover: Did Jesus REALLY rise from the dead? Because if He did, everything else changes. Every single thing about Christianity hinges on whether or not this man named Jesus actually got up out of that grave.
Here are several reasons I believe it actually happened, and why it’s so important. If you’re a Christian, I pray these words strengthen your faith even more. If you’re not a Christian, I know I can’t fully convince you of something in a blog post. But I hope you will at least be open and consider these possibilities:
- We wouldn’t even have the New Testament if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.
Think about it. If Jesus had stayed dead in the tomb, the Gospel writers wouldn’t have had any inspiration to write down the events of His life. It was after He rose from the dead that the eyewitnesses decided to write everything down, because the importance of His life and message changed dramatically by that one event. It’s not just one part of the story… It IS the story. Skeptics may say “you can’t prove the Bible with the Bible,” and I understand that to an extent. But in this case… we don’t even have the Bible unless this one event actually took place.
2. Women were the first to discover the empty tomb.
Why is this detail important? Because if the story was fabricated, there’s no way the writers would have given women credit for this discovery. Women weren’t highly regarded in that time of history, and the men would have wanted to get all the recognition.
3. Christianity exploded AFTER the death of their leader.
Throughout history, this simply doesn’t happen. Why would Christianity explode in number and impact AFTER Jesus died? Any cult, group, or movement can pick up steam for a while. But when the leader dies, the movement typically dies off as well. But in the case of Christianity, things completely changed after the leader died. The only logical reason- they saw Him alive again.
4. Thousands of people were crucified in those days… why do we only talk about one?
Crucifixion was the most brutal form of death throughout history, and it has been verified over time. So why don’t we talk about any of the other thousands upon thousands of criminals who were crucified? Maybe because they all remained dead? The cross has become a universal symbol. You’ll even see hundreds of crosses all across Rome if you visit there today. Research Rome and religion to see just how significant that is.
5. Followers of Jesus changed from fearful cowards to fearless warriors overnight.
Some denied knowing Jesus. Some ran away. Some questioned Him repeatedly. And many of them were simply afraid. But just a few days later, they transformed into warriors of the faith that were willing to die themselves because of what they saw. And nobody would do that for a lie. Why would they risk their lives for a fake story? The Jews were already God’s chosen people. They didn’t want or need a “new” covenant. If you followed someone for years, and they were brutally killed, would you go and risk your life claiming that person was actually alive if they weren’t?
6. Everyone knew where Jesus was buried… and nobody knew where the body ended up 3 days later.
If nobody knew where Jesus was buried, it would have been very easy to “claim” He had risen from the dead. But He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Not only that, but the tomb was heavily guarded by Romans. If someone wanted to steal the body, they would have to get by Roman soldiers and would have to remove the large stone. Even if that was successful, they would have to hide the body in a place where nobody would ever find it. And again.. that seems like a lot of trouble for anyone to go through for a lie. If the body wasn’t stolen, the enemies of Jesus would be able to squash all the resurrection talk by simply showing everyone where the body was. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t. Not one skeptic or enemy of Jesus was able to ever verify where the body ended up. The plot thickens.
7. Sunday Worship
The Sabbath was recognized on Saturday throughout history for the Jews. It changed to Sunday, to commemorate the Resurrection. Even the day of worship was changed by a group of people that wouldn’t typically change a thing about their traditions and beliefs.
The most famous example of that time period- Saul of Tarsus. He was a powerful man who tried to squash Christianity completely and had Christians killed. He met the risen Lord and then wrote over half of the New Testament. And he wasn’t alone. Even James, the half-brother of Jesus, wasn’t a believer in who his brother claimed to be… until he saw Him alive again. There are countless conversion stories from the eyewitnesses, and then people of today who are completely changed by a Savior who didn’t stay dead.
9. Evidence outside the Bible
There were a lot of historians and people talking about/writing down notes about Jesus and His followers in the 1st century and beyond. While there may not be a source saying “He rose from the dead,” there was plenty of talk about Christianity growing “because they believed He rose,” and things of that nature.
“When Pilate condemned Jesus to the cross, those who had loved Him from the first did not forsake Him, for He appeared to them alive on the third day.”
You probably think that quote is from the Bible. It’s not. That quote is from Josephus, a Jewish historian that lived in the late 1st century.
Here’s an interesting article for more on that:
The most famous example was Saul of Tarsus- a man who was doing everything he can to squash Christianity, including having Christians killed. He met the risen Lord, had a conversion, and they became perhaps the most important figure in history other than Jesus Himself. But he wasn’t alone. Even James, the half-brother of Jesus, wasn’t a believer in who His brother claimed to be… until he saw Him risen from the dead.
Here are some interesting quotes and resources to also consider:
Sean McDowell- “Christianity was a movement begun by Jews in Jerusalem not because they were all tired of Judaism and wanted to invent something new. It was birthed because they experienced such a life-changing experience interacting with Christ. No evidence exists that the earliest Christians considered the resurrection secondary; rather, the centrality of the resurrection in the earliest creeds, which pre-date the New Testament books (for example, Romans 1:3-4, 4:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7) shows just the opposite — that the resurrection, its historical reality, itself grounded faith in Jesus as Messiah.”
Wilbur Smith, historian- “Let is simply be said. We know more about the details of the hours immediately before and the death of Jesus than we know about any other one man in all of the ancient world.“
In conclusion: I didn’t share anything “new” in this blog. There are a ton of other articles with similar information. But I find the evidence of this historical event to be so compelling and life changing, I want to share it as often as I can. If you aren’t a follower of Jesus, I’m sure you would at least admit that IF this was true, and IF Jesus is who He claimed to be… It has Eternal implications and is worth studying. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life.” No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been in life… the second you turn to Christ is the second you’ll be forgiven. Please reach out to me if you want to talk more about this topic or any other. Jesus is Alive, and He loves you. Amen.