“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24b (NIV)
The fact that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead stands for all eternity. However, many today find miracles difficult to believe — especially the idea of someone dead suddenly being alive. The miracle of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead has been discussed and debated for centuries. If it is as important as Christians claim it is, then it is critical that believers and non-believers understand what it is and what it means so that they can make a decision whether to believe it’s true.
Luckily, if you are willing to look for it, there is a lot of information at your fingertips that can help you understand more fully. Studies by theologians and atheists alike show that the weight of evidence proving Christ’s resurrection is too great to be denied. Scholars such as Gary Habermas, and others have done an especially good job of detailing that evidence. When we look at the evidence, the truth of the resurrection emerges very clearly as the best explanation. There is no other theory that even comes close to accounting for the evidence. Therefore, there is solid historical ground for the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
First, the tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion. Secondly, Jesus’ disciples had real experiences with one whom they believed was the risen Christ. And thirdly, as a result of the preaching of these disciples, which had the resurrection at its center, the Christian church was established and grew. Virtually all scholars who deal with the resurrection, whatever their school of thought, acknowledge these three truths. We will see that the resurrection of Christ is the best explanation for each of them individually. But then we will see, even more significantly, that when these facts are taken together we have an even more powerful case for the resurrection. People who are skeptical will not have to explain away just one historical fact, but three. These three truths create a strongly woven, three-chord rope that cannot be broken.
These are three independently established facts. If we deny the resurrection, we are left with at least three inexplicable mysteries. But there is a much, much better explanation than the stolen body, that Jesus swooned, or that the disciples were hallucinating among other theories. As Gary Habermas has said, “Combining these improbable theories will not produce a probable explanation. It will actually increase the degree of improbability. It’s like putting leaking buckets inside each other, hoping each one will help stop up the leaks in the others. All you will get is a watery mess.”
The best explanation is that Christ in fact rose from the dead. Even if we take each fact by itself, we have good enough evidence.
- The evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a solid footing in times of doubt. Agree or disagree and why?
- The changed lives of the witnesses substantiate Jesus’ resurrection. How so?