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“What is the biblical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus? Is the story more than just a legend?”—Mike
The resurrection of Jesus is the linchpin of Christianity.
The Bible teaches that God accomplished victory over death and the hold of sin in our lives through the death and resurrection of Christ—Jesus’ return from the dead is the source of eternal hope for all who believe (I Cor. 15:12-19).
If it did not happen, Christianity is based on a lie that renders it both pathetic and dangerous.
Here are three evidences for the resurrection:
Eyewitness testimony that the tomb was empty (Mt. 28:1-8; Mk. 16:1-8; Lk. 24:1-12). Those who were there describe an open, empty tomb.
His followers had seen Him die, had wrapped Him in a cloth and placed Him in the tomb.
They had watched the stone rolled in place and sealed and the soldiers stationed there to guard the grave.
They knew His body had not been stolen and that He had not simply recovered from a fainting spell.
The appearances of Jesus. Paul gives a short list of these appearances to various individuals and groups (I Cor. 15:1-8). In addition to Peter and the disciples (Mt. 28:16-17; Lk. 24:13-53; Jn. 20:19-21:24), Mary (Jn. 21:10-18) had a close, personal encounter.
They describe instances in which He appeared to them in a closed room and walked, talked and ate with them.
They recognized His face and voice and saw the crucifixion scars.
He was physically present—not a dream or hallucination.
The dramatic change in His followers. Before the crucifixion, His friends had been uncertain about His mission. At the end, they deserted Him (Mk. 14:50-52; Lk. 22:54-62).
After the resurrection, they became undaunted proclaimers of the Good News, willing to endure persecution and death for Him.
This transformation is testimony to their unfailing conviction that He was alive.
The resurrection was for them historical fact, neither a false story conjured to undergird their nascent movement, nor mere emotional/psychological wish fulfillment.