Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Did Jesus rise from the grave?

It is easy to say Jesus could not have risen from the grave. But the evidence in favour of the resurrection is impressive by any standards. Consider the following facts:

His tomb was guarded by an elite company of Roman soldiers. To have allowed the imperial seal on the tomb to be broken would have resulted in their court martial and death.

The grave was empty and there have been no satisfactory reasons to explain that fact away.

No one has ever produced the body of Jesus, dead or alive.

The grave clothes were strips of cloth wound tightly round the corpse like a mummy’s bandages and then embalmed with spices. When Peter the disciple arrived at the tomb he saw them lying undisturbed as though Christ had emerged from them as a butterfly from a chrysalis. He became convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Numerous eye-witnesses claimed to have seen him: Mary Magdalene, the twelve apostles and over 500 people at one time. Not one of them ever denied the resurrection, even in the face of torture and death for the sake of the gospel.

The changed lives of the disciples. From being cowards who ran for their lives when Jesus was arrested and who denied him at his trial, the twelve apostles literally turned the ancient world upside down in spite of hostility from the Jewish authorities and the might of imperial Rome.

The existence of the Church. Apart from the resurrection it is impossible to account for the fact that the young carpenter who spent only three years teaching in a remote Roman province and died a shameful and agonising death is still worshipped by countless millions throughout the world.

Non-Christian writings of the time refer to his resurrection. The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus records: "When Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal ones among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day."

This article has appeared in various publications published by Shalom Ministries

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