Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Well, if he didn’t then the Christian faith is seriously the most elaborate hoax of all time.
I recently told my students, “If I thought there wasn’t enough historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, I wouldn’t be a Christian.”
Think about that for a minute. Let that simmer in your saucepan a bit.
The apostle Paul said that if Christ wasn’t raised from the dead then our faith is “useless” and all of the apostles are just a bunch of dirty liars—to be pitied more than anyone else in the world (1 Cor 15:12-20).
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, Paul quotes an early Christian creed:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” 1 Cor 15:3-8 NIV
Last year I wrote a meaty 3-part post, for Christians and skeptics alike, on Why I Believe in the Resurrection. I discussed three categories of reasons that have convinced me of the historical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I encourage you to read that post if you missed it last Easter.
In the following video, historian John Dickson shares a brief challenge for us to consider the historical evidence for the resurrection.
John Dickson (PhD) is the co-director of Centre for Public Christianity, an independent research and media organization promoting the public understanding of the Christian faith. With a degree in theology (Moore Theological College, Sydney) and a doctorate in ancient history (Macquarie University, Sydney), he is a senior research fellow of the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, where he teaches courses on Christian origins and the world religions. Check out his Life of Jesus DVD.
Have you given serious thought to the historical evidence surrounding the resurrection claims? It has become increasingly important in our post-Christian culture to offer up an intellectual defense for the hope that we have in the resurrection of Jesus. Are you prepared to answer the skeptics?
D.D. Flowers, 2013.