At the heart of Christianity lies the belief that the Son of God took human form, died for our sins, then rose from the dead to give us eternal life. If Jesus Christ came back to life, then this disproves His statement that He is the eternal Son of God, our Savior and Messiah. So, all of Christianity rests on the resurrection. And, there are many clues that prove it.
To believe in the events of the first Easter, you need to believe that Jesus really lived and that the New Testament can be trusted.
That’s what it says the author of the book “Questions of the Bible” Bible student Jonathan morrow: “Sources about Jesus of Nazareth much more than sources on many historical figures of the first century. Such sources at least eighteen. Twelve of them non-Christian”.
As for the New Testament…
“These books are the most authentic monuments of ancient literature that we have,” says Darrell Bock is the author of “Truth is important”.
Darrell Bock from Texas theological Seminary says the Bible has a lot more preserved since ancient times pages than any other ancient book: “the exceptional Case: it has more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts and more than 8,000 Latin, whereas most of the books of the ancient world with whom we work, have at best a dozen manuscripts.”
For some people the biggest obstacle to faith is the belief that Jesus Christ really rose from the dead. But morrow says that’s all under construction.
“Paul expressed this argument in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, the 15th Chapter, “you Can check yourself, but if the resurrection was not, then Christianity is false. Whether you believe in him sincerely or not, but if the resurrection was not, then Christianity is false. Choose some other religion,” he says.
According to Christian experts to disprove the resurrection have to come up with a theory, which primarily would have to convincingly explain three historical facts:
— three days after the tomb was laid the body of Jesus, found it empty;
Christ appeared to hundreds of people in many places for nearly seven weeks after the crucifixion;
— and something very dramatic happened that turned timid and cowardly disciples into bold believers, proclaiming the risen Messiah, for Whom they were willing to go to torture and to die.
Some opponents believe that the apostles all lied, and it was a huge conspiracy theory to turn the negativity of Jesus ‘ death into a positive of the risen Lord.
But advocates such as Darrell Bock here in Dallas indicate that if you carefully study things, it is actually easier to believe in the resurrection, than its alternatives.
Some believe that women who first found the empty tomb could simply be wrong tomb. But, of course, the Jewish leaders, who pointed to the burial of Jesus, the Roman guards, as well as Joseph of Arimathea, the owner of the tomb where Jesus had been lain, would have quickly corrected that error.
“If you preach Jesus, physically risen from the dead, while the people would know where He was buried and where to find His bones, you would be far away from such a sermon,” says Darrell Bock.
Leading biblical apologist Josh McDowell says that the disciples knew the following: “If the resurrection was false, then where in the world it would be difficult to convince anyone of its truth? In Jerusalem, where 15 minutes every might you to hold to the empty tomb. And they’d say, “You were there yourself and saw everything,” says the author of “irrefutable evidence”
In the 28th Chapter of Matthew indicates that the Jewish leaders bribed the guards of the tomb to say they fell asleep and the disciples stole the body of Jesus. But if they were asleep how would they know it was the disciples? And if the disciples invented the resurrection of Jesus, they would live and die for His own invention?
“And if they knew, I would have to say that it was the people who not only died for the lie, but knew it was a lie. Try to find in history has such examples. There are none,” continues Josh McDowell.
“You would not have to die for own imagination. You might give up. But that didn’t happen,” says Darrell Bock.
According to these and other experts, it took something completely radical, such as the resurrection of Jesus to completely transform a cowardly Peter, who was so scared before the crucifixion, even swore that he did not know Jesus.
“And then you see a radically transformed Peter from a coward who became courageous speaker and said, “Look, here I am standing here saying what is true,” continues Jonathan morrow.
Morrow indicates that instantly changed and Jesus ‘ brother, James: “James, the brother of Jesus, followed Jesus during His earthly Ministry. He thought he was crazy.”
“Jacob despised his brother, he thought He dishonors the family. But then, in the words of James, Jesus appeared to him, and he became the leader of the Jerusalem Church” — picks up Josh McDowell.
“And once James became a leader of the early Church, it began to pursue and eventually killed for their faith,” says morrow.
And how convinced the apologists, only the resurrected Jesus who appeared two or three years later could turn the most active persecutor of the Church in her missionary.
“Saul of Tarsus was anything but not a disciple who believed in Jesus. He went from one city to another, demanding that Christians were imprisoned and executed. But, in his own words, he was the Christ,” says Josh McDowell.
“How can you explain the existence of a man like Saul who then became Paul?” says Darrell Bock.
“He guarded the clothes of those who killed the first Christians. He was strongly against this movement, and then became a Christian. How to explain this?” says Jonathan morrow.
“Participant of mass killings has become one of the greatest missionaries. Was an enemy of Christians, and then himself became a Christian. In the life of Paul was something that I could never find any other reasonable explanation except, “Jesus appeared to Paul after the resurrection,” says Josh McDowell.
In the first century the Jews regarded women as second-class citizens. Therefore, if the students decided to lie about the resurrection, they made their fiction is even less palatable by putting women to the fore.
“Matthew, mark, Luke, John — all they talk about is the first female followers of Jesus who found His empty tomb. In the first century, when the word “woman” was above the word “slave”, it wasn’t a good move,” says morrow.
“This story was impossible to purposely come up with. In studies of the historical Jesus used the term “criterion of embarrassment”. It means that the story made no invent. This story just the way it is, because it describes real events,” says Darrell Bock.
The claim that the disciples lied about the resurrection of Jesus, does not explain the fact that His phenomenon was seen of 500 people. The Apostle Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 15th Chapter, invites doubters to talk with them.
“Here is the living story. So people who lived there and was able to recheck all the details that were reported. That is not to say that all of it could be invented, so nobody would have to question that. Paul emphasizes that there are witnesses; go and ask them. Everything points to the fact that it is true and not some conspiracy theory, which the authors simply decided to invent their own religion,” continued morrow.
“Many say, “Jesus is hallucinations.” Well, five hundred people simultaneously,” says McDowell.
McDowell studied the nature of hallucinations and found that they cannot be called external factors, so even two people is not the same hallucinations.
“Everything is internal, subjective. If five hundred people had the same hallucination — that would mean five separate miracles, equal to the resurrection,” he says.
But morrow says to accept the resurrection, you need to believe in God: “If it is possible at least the existence of God, if possible, and miracles. When you look at the evidence of the resurrection, understand how they are convincing. Therefore, it is the basis of Christianity. But it’s not blind faith, like belief in the Easter Bunny or the rabbit’s foot amulet. Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead, not because the Bible says so. They believe in His resurrection because at this point the most ancient and reliable historical documents. This is the best explanation.”