Pastor Bob O'Bannon
Sometimes Christians are accused of having a “blind faith” – that we believe the unbelievable even though the facts are contrary to the evidence. Certainly it requires faith to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, for instance, but this faith is not a blind faith – it is an informed faith. It is a faith based on plausible reasons. As we approach Easter, below are five good reasons for you to believe in the resurrection of Jesus:
1) The empty tomb.
I Cor. 15:3-4 tells us not just that Jesus died, but that he was buried. He was laid in a tomb after his death. But on resurrection morning, we are told, his body was not there any longer. The tomb was empty. Certainly the Roman authorities could have quelled the early Christian movement by simply producing Jesus’ body, but they never did. The tomb was empty, and the body was missing. It is interesting to note that while some people will venerate the tomb of Buddha, and others will venerate the tomb of Mohammed, Christians do not venerate the tomb of Jesus. The reason is because he is not there.
2) The eyewitness accounts.
After Jesus was resurrected, He made several appearances to people, including an appearance to 500 that is mentioned in I Cor. 15:6. Paul makes note that many of these 500 people are “still living.” Why would he say that? What difference does it make if the eyewitnesses are alive or dead? The answer should be obvious: if they are still alive, they can be consulted. It’s as if Paul is saying, “Go ahead. I dare you. Check out my story.” Paul must have had a high degree of confidence in the reliability and credibility of those who literally saw Jesus alive after his crucifixion.
3) The transformation of the disciples.
In I Cor. 15:5, Paul mentions that Jesus appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. Peter was the guy who denied Jesus three times, who crumbled before a harmless servant girl when asked if he knew Jesus, who later that night was shut behind locked doors in fear. But in the book of Acts, just weeks later, we see Peter preaching boldly to hundreds of people, saying things like, “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose, and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death, but God raised him from the dead.” (Acts 2:23). How do we account for that kind of radical change? He saw Jesus resurrected from the dead, and his life was never the same.
4) The testimony of women.
The first people to see the resurrected Jesus were women (Mat. 28:1-10). In the culture of Jesus’ day, this is hugely significant. Women had such a low social standing that their testimony was not even admissible in a court of law. If the Gospel writers were fabricating a story, they would have had every reason to strike this detail from the record in an effort to make their story as plausible as possible. But they didn’t. This is because they were committed to a reliable historical account of what actually happened on the first Easter morning.
5) The growth of the church.
The early church grew from a few frightened disciples on the night of Jesus’ death to a few billion believers in the world today. It has been transformed from the most persecuted institution to the most influential institution in the history of the world. How could the church grow so rapidly if the apostles were spreading a lie? Why would so many of them go to their deaths if they knew the resurrection was a sham? It’s true that people will die for beliefs they think are true, but they won’t die for beliefs they know are false.
If you are interested in further reading about evidence for the resurrection, here are some places to look: