The Resurrection of Jesus is the single most significant event in history. Everything Jesus did and said, even the whole of Scripture, hinges on the validity of Jesus’ Resurrection. Think about it: the crucifixion, ministry of Jesus, and the whole Bible would be meaningless without the Resurrection. Some would say a Risen Jesus is just a matter of great faith with barely any evidence. I beg to differ. The Bible contains historical and credible events not just legends or fables. The Resurrection of Jesus is not only a matter of faith but a proven historical fact with solid evidence. Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Let’s look at some evidence for proof of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus predicted His death and Resurrection. “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31; see also Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22). Matthew 16:21 says, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things … and be killed, and be raised up on the third day”. Jesus very own testimony and preaching was full of these pivotal events. The followers of Jesus couldn’t have missed these sayings even if they fully didn’t understand them at the time they were spoken. In Revelation 1:18 Jesus said, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hell.”
One of the greatest evidences of the Resurrection is Jesus made repeated appearances to many people. He appeared to Mary Magdalene first (John 20:14-16). Next He appeared to the mother of James, Salome, and Joanna (Matthew 28:9). Peter saw him (Luke 24:34) and so did two disciples on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-16). Ten of the disciples saw Him (John 20:19-24) and eight days later all eleven including Thomas saw Him (John 20:26-28). He appeared to seven of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee (John 20:1-2) and to all the disciples again in Galilee before giving them the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-17). Jesus appeared to His brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7) and Saul of Tarsus after His Ascension (Acts 9:3-5). Acts 1:3 says He showed Himself with many convincing proofs over a period of forty days after the Resurrection.
“Yes, pastor, but did a lot of people see Him at once? I know His disciples did but anyone outside of His immediate circle?” Glad you asked. Paul records in 1 Corinthians 15:6, “After that he was seen by over five hundred people at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.” You may be able to “hoodwink” some people by saying your disciples saw you but either all 500+ people had the same hallucination at once or Jesus really did appear to them. These evidences convinced His disciples then and should be convincing for us as well today.
The disciples, who all were very afraid during the Crucifixion, became emboldened and courageous after they witnessed the Risen Savior! They all risked and most gave their lives as martyrs for the sake of Jesus now. When Peter preached his first sermon three thousand people were saved. His topic? The Resurrection of Jesus! The Good News of the Gospel that Jesus died and rose again had spread and people were embracing this glorious truth. The Resurrection is the proof Jesus was who He said He was and do all He had claimed. He was God, able to forgive sin, capable of defeating death, and victorious over the Devil. As the Angel said to the women at the tomb that first Easter morning, “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5).