Vol. 6, No. 8
~ Page 18 ~
[Brother Lewis is a 14-year-old who plans on devoting his life to the service of God as a Gospel preacher. The following article evidences the good beginning he has already made in his community and through the printed word. ~ Editor]
As generations come and generations go, the debate on the historical truth regarding the resurrection of Christ will grow more and more heated. We must know what to say when we are faced with questions about the greatest event in history. Below are four historical facts that prove that this great event actually did take place.
After his death, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathaea. Along with this the location of the tomb was known, meaning that the disciples could not proclaim his death in Jerusalem if the tomb had not been empty. In other words, people knew where the tomb was. So if the disciples went around proclaiming that Jesus had risen, they would have been deemed as crazy if the body of Jesus were still in its tomb. Being that people knew where Jesus had been buried, the claim of his resurrection could be accepted as truth.
On the Sunday following his crucifixion, Jesus' tomb was found empty by two of his women followers. This being the case, something happened to the body of Jesus. Whether it was stolen or resurrected will not be discussed in this point. The fact of the matter is that the body of Jesus was somewhere other than in his tomb where he had been buried.
Following his death, Jesus on a number of occasions appeared to people. He did not only appear to single people, but groups of people at a time. Among New Testament critics many do hold the belief that Jesus appeared to people following his death. For example Garret Ludemonn, a skeptical German New Testament scholar says: "It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the Disciples had experiences after Jesus' death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ."
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the disciples not only preach, but die for the fact that the resurrection did actually occur? After Jesus was put to death the disciples faced many hardships. First, their leader was dead, and Jews have no belief in a dying Messiah. Second, according to the Jewish law, Jesus was crucified as a criminal, which would make him a heretic. Jewish belief of the afterlife precluded any bodies rising from the dead before the general resurrection at the end of the world. And although all of these were against them, the original disciples were willing to believe in and go to the death for the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. N.T. Wright said: "If nothing happened after Jesus' death then any first century Jew would have said that He was another diluted fanatic. That is why as a historian I can not explain the rise of Christianity unless Jesus rose again leaving an empty tomb behind Him."
This historical evidence clearly shows all of us that the biblical claims of a resurrection are accurate!