Evidence for the
resurrection of Jesus from the dead
See also Did
Christ really Rise From The Dead?
Believe and Share Jesus' Victory Over Death
One of Jesus' disciples, Thomas has been nicknamed doubting Thomas because of
the following verses.
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not
with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We
have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in
his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his
side, I will not believe it." (John 20:24-25 NIV)
Are you a doubting Thomas? Do you have trouble believing what the Bible says
about Jesus coming to life again after being dead for three days? Do you have
trouble answering others questions about the truth of the resurrection of Jesus?
Why is this question so important?
1 Corinthians 15:17
states that "And if Christ has not
been raised, your faith is futile; you are
still in your sins". (NIV)
Why is this so? Jesus many times said he would rise from the dead (Matthew
12:39-40; 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Luke 9:22,44;
If Jesus did not rise from the dead then it makes Him a liar or madman and
His claims to be God and to provide forgiveness for our sin is a lie as
How would you
answer someone who said that they did not believe
that Jesus was resurrected from the dead (came alive again after he was
buried)? People have given various reasons why they do not believe in
resurrection from the dead. In this study we will consider some of the
explanations and try to show how they are wrong and that what the Bible
says is the truth.
- If Jesus' resurrection is not a historical fact, how do we
for the fact that the Christian church historically began in AD 32 with
the preaching of the resurrection of Jesus? This occurred in the
city where he died and this only 50 days after his resurrection, (Acts
2:32). For background see Acts
- How do you account for the changed lives of Jesus' followers
after his death? What changed Peter the coward (John 18:25-27)
to Peter the brave
preacher less than 2 months later (Acts 2:14-40).
What changed Paul the persecutor of the Christians to a promoter of
Christianity who died as a result of preaching about the resurrection
of Jesus (Acts
- How do you account for the early church, which was primarily
Jewish, changing their centuries old day of worship from Saturday to
(1st day of the week)? cf. John
- How do we explain the many eyewitnesses, who stated they had seen Jesus
after his death, (1 Corinthians
15:3-8 )? Most of these witnesses were still alive when Paul wrote
these words and could easily have challenge him if his claim was not
- Some of the authors of the New Testament books state that they
were eyewitnesses of the resurrection (the disciples Matthew in Matthew 28:16-20
and John in John
21:14 and Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 15:8).
Were they liars or madmen?
- How do we explain the empty tomb were Jesus was buried (John 20:1-9)?
The Empty Tomb
- Some have said that the disciples stole the body. This
the first explanation presented (Matthew 28:11-15).
Can you think of at least three reasons why the disciples could
not have stolen the body of Jesus? Matt. 27:57-66;
14:48-51; 66-71; John 20:19
- If the guards were sleeping how did they know what happened.
- Disciples lacked the courage to attempt this.
- What would they gain by promoting a lie that would result in the death
of thousands including themselves. People are not willing to die
for a lie.
- If Jesus was dead, how do we explain the accounts of his
- Some have said that either the Jewish or Roman
How can you show that this idea could not be true (cf. Acts
for the Jewish authorities response to the problem of the resurrection).
- Why bother to put guards and seal the tomb if they were
going to remove the body.
- If they did remove the body, why didn't they produce the
body to stop the disciples teaching about Jesus' resurrection.
- Some say that the women went to the wrong tomb on
morning and had just imagined that Christ had risen from the
How would you show that this could not be true? cf. Matthew 27:57-61
- If this was true again why didn't the authorities produce
- The women had been at the tomb when they buried Jesus.
- It was a private personal tomb of Joseph of Arimathea he
could have lead
them to the right one.
- Why would Peter and John make the same mistake
and go to the wrong tomb?
- Some theorize that Jesus had not really died but had
in the tomb and came out and the disciples thought he was resurrected.
How would you show that this theory is impossible? cf. John
19:38-40; Mark 16:1-4; Luke 24:13-15 for some suggestions.
- If Jesus really was only unconscious, how could he survive
all the physical abuse of the whipping, the thorns, the nails, the
Then after 3 days in a damp tomb, how could he then have the strength to
with all the 75 lbs. of spices (John 19:38-40), roll back the big
stone (Mark 16:3), overpower the Roman soldiers, walk to Emmaus and
to Jerusalem a total of 14 miles (Luke 24:13-15) and appear to the
and convince them he had defeated death? Impossible! This argument
be laughed out of any court of law.
- If this was true, then Jesus himself was involved I
a lie which is totally out of character.
- A Muslim explanation is that God replaced Jesus with
on the cross that looked like him for they say God would never let his
prophet be dishonoured by the crucifixion.
If this was true what does this say about God and his messenger
in view of the many statements Jesus made about dying and rising again
on the third day (Matthew
12:39-40; 16:4,21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:2; Mark
8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; Luke 9:22,44;
10:11, 17-18; 12:32-33)?
Note also "Islam" means "obedience, submission". Does this
suggest another response to the above argument. Consider Christ's
submission and exaltation (Philippians 2:8-9).
Additional related question: Some Muslims argue that the
Bible was corrupted or altered after the writing of the Koran to
account for the disagreements between the Bible and the teaching of
Mohammed in the Koran.
Answer: Some of these texts that we have copies of today
are very old and predate the writing of the Koran . One of these papyri
known as P52, contains fragments of St John's Gospel. It has been dated
as 130 AD, which means that this copy of the Gospel was written hardly
forty years after the original. Another famous example is the Codex Sinaiticus, which was written in about 350 AD in Egypt. 347 of its
leaves have been preserved which cover practically the whole New
Testament. Both of these documents are copies that existed before the Koran was
written. Both are in agreement with newer
documents dating much later in time and much later than the time of
Mohammed. This evidence shows that copies of the Bible that was
available before and at the time of the writing of the Koran are in
agreement with those we have today. The Bible has not been altered from
its original form as first written. See additional
resources on this issue.
best explanation is that Jesus body was not in the tomb
God had raised him from the dead as the Bible states.
How do We Explain the Resurrection
Some claim they
were hallucinations, wishful thinking.
If this were true
then the situation must fit with what
tells us about Hallucinations.
- They occur generally in people who have vivid imaginations and
of a nervous makeup. Is there any evidence that the people involved
Answer: The appearances where to over 500 people of
- They are extremely individualistic. We would not see a
number of different people have identical hallucinations. Was this the
Answer: Christ appeared to individuals but also to groups
of people. Note also that at the time of Paul's writing, most of the
witness where still alive. He was in effect saying "why don't you go
and ask them if you don't believe me".
- They usually occur at particular times and places. Again, was
this the case?
Answer: No, they appeared indoors, outdoors, morning,
afternoon, and evening, in Jerusalem, on the road to Emmaus and in
Galilee beside a lake.
- In order to have an experience like this, one must so intensely want to
believe that he projects something that really isn't there. Where the
followers of Jesus expecting him to rise from the dead ( Mark 16:1-4; Luke 24:36-43;
20:13-18; John 20:24-29 )?
Answer: The above verses indicate that they had to be
convinced that Jesus really was risen, although he had said he would
rise from the dead, they still didn't understand and were not
Lives were changed because of the resurrection of Jesus. Peter
from denying Jesus then 50 days later risking his life by
preaching that he had seen Jesus risen from the dead. He preached this
in Jerusalem where Jesus had been crucified and where his claim could
easily been shown false.
Jesus Christ is
alive today and changes the lives of those who
Him into their lives. We have the ongoing testimony of millions through
the centuries whose lives have been changed by Jesus Christ. Are you a
doubting Thomas? Why not respond the way he did to the evidence.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your
here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop
and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my
God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you
seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet
have believed.” Jesus did many other miraculous signs
in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his
name. (The New International Version)
Additional Resource: For comparison prepossess you may
want to study the chart of the different passages about the events of Jesus last days on
Additional study: You may also want to look at the
chart of the appearances of Christ after His resurrection listed
Chronologically with the Bible references.
For help with questions contact