The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead

Posted on September 25, 2008. Filed under: Apologetics |

The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is one of best attested facts in ancient history and is the best proof that Jesus is the Christ and that salvation lies in Him alone. Here are the notes from a lesson I taught my church in 2002 about using the evidence for the Resurrection as a means of proving Jesus is who he claims to be.

Essential Truths- Apologetics

The Evidence for the Resurrection

Wednesday 11-13-02 PM




I. The Core Facts about the Resurrection

II. The Other Explanations for the Facts

III. The Resurrected Lord


Introduction: In studying essential truths of the Christian Faith we have been examining Apologetics, which we can also call “witnessing better”. Here we are learning that there are some answers to the tough questions we are likely to encounter as we witness. Much of what we have discussed in this study has been quite difficult, but almost all of it is based on my real life experiences in witnessing. Tonight we will look at something that most of you are very familiar with, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

            What we shall attempt to do is find the basic core facts about the resurrection from the Scriptures and examine these core facts as evidence. Then we shall look at what other possible explanations there may be for the facts other than the resurrection. Finally we shall look at the implications if Jesus of Nazareth was in fact raised from the dead.

            It is my belief that Christianity stands or falls on the fact of the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth which proves that he is Lord of lords and King of kings and we should therefore follow, serve, love and worship him with our heart, soul, mind and strength.


I. The Core Facts about the Death and Resurrection of Jesus

            1. Jesus was tried by the Jewish Sanhedrin. Matt.26:57-68; Mk.14:53-65; Lk.22:66-71; Jn.18:12-24. Jesus was condemned by the Jews.

            2. Jesus was tried by the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate.Matt.27:11-31 who had him flogged and crucified. Mk.15:1-20. Lk.23:1-25. Jn.18:28-19:16.

            3. Jesus was executed on a cross and died. Matt.27:32-50. Mk.15:21-41.

Lk. 23:26-49. Jn.19:16-37.

            4. After Jesus’ death, his body was pierced by a spear to ensure he was dead. Jn.19:33-37. (Zech 12:10).

            5. Many people witnessed his death. Matt.27:55-56. Mk.15:40-41. Lk.23:48-49. John19:25-27.

            6. The Roman Officer in Charge, the Centurion, was called before Pilate to testify to the death of Jesus Mk.15:42-45.

            7. A wealthy member of the Jewish Council, Joseph of Arimathea, took Jesus’ body and buried him in his own carved out tomb.Matt.27:57-60. Mk.15:42-46. Lk.23:50. Jn.19:38-42** (with Nicodemus! We think that the apostle John knew some of the council members because he states that he knew the high priest in John18:15).

            8. The women followers of Jesus saw where Jesus was buried. Matt27:61. Mk.15:47. Lk.23:55-56.*

            9. A Roman guard force was tasked with guarding the tomb in case of the disciples trying to steal his body. Matt.27:62-66.

            10. Jesus was in the grave for parts of three days (from Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning).

            11. Though Jesus had prophesied to his disciples that he was to rise again on the third day, they were not exhibiting any hope for this. They were dispirited and in hiding. Matt.28:1, 17. Mk.16:1-3, 9-11*, 13*14*. Lk.24:1-11**, 12, 13-17-27, 31, 36-37. John 20:1-2**, 10-16*, 19*, 24-25.

            12. The Roman guards witnessed part of the resurrection and were terrified, then bribed to lie about what happened. Matt.28:2-4, 11-15.

            13. The women were the first witnesses of the resurrected Jesus. Matt.28:9-10. John 20:14-18.

            14. The resurrection was accompanied by an angelic appearance, the supernatural. Matt.28:1-7. Mk.16:5-7. Lk.24:4-7. Jn.20:11-13.

            15. The grave clothes were still in the tomb.Lk.24:12. john20:5-7.

            16. The Apostles and disciples witnessed the resurrected Jesus, including up to 500 at one time. 1Cor.15:3-8.

            17. Jesus ate real food and was touched physically by the witnesses. Matt.28:9. Lk24:38-43. john20:20, 27, ; 21:13f. Acts1:1-4;

            18. The first Christians proclaimed publicly in Jerusalem that Jesus had raised from the dead.Acts2:22-41. If it were not true thousands of people would not have converted, the Sanhedrin would have been able to prove it false right away. The early believers did not set up a shrine at his grave.Acts3:11-20,

            19. The first Christians, who personally knew all the facts of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection were willing to give up everything, including their lives, on this issue of the resurrection/salvation. Acts4:1-4-12-20; 5:17-*40*; 6:8-7:60 Stoning of Stephen. Acts 12:1-3.

            20. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9.

            21. The change in worship patterns from the Sabbath to the First Day of the week. 1Cor 16:2.


II. The Other Explanations for the Facts

            1. The resurrection stories are legend and myth. The most common excuse today. However, the NT documents are the most authenticated, prolific and most numerous of all ancient mss. The proven early dates of the gospels and Pauline epistles does not allow for the lengthy time it takes for myth to develop. The radical change in the lives of the disciples and early church despite severe persecution points to fact not myth.

            2. The swoon theory- Jesus did not really die, he merely fainted and the cool grave revived him. He was able to push away the heavy stone and sneak past the Roman guards and convince his disciples that he was risen and glorified. Then he would have to fake the ascension.

            3. The stolen body theory. See Matt.27:11-15. The scared disciples would have to sneak past the Roman guards and then propagate a lie that they knew was a lie and give their lives for a lie.

            4. The wrong tomb theory. The women knew where the tomb was, the guards knew where the tomb was, the Rulers failed to produce the body.

            5. The spiritual resurrection only. You have to do violence to the whole NT to interpret it this way. It is only a feel good, anti-supernatural stance that carries on the forms of Christianity without the substance. Classic liberalism.


III. The Resurrected Lord

            Liar, lunatic, legend or Lord of lords! If the resurrection holds water then all the rest of scripture is true. Believe in only one miracle, the resurrection, and all else falls into place.



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