Resurrection Of Jesus ChristResurrection of Jesus Christ
OK, so here's the biggie... The core of the whole matter... Did the resurrection of Jesus Christ really happen?
Did Jesus really rise from the dead, and why is this event so important...?
In a very simple nutshell, the New Testament is founded on Jesus Christ and the power of his "resurrection". Since the foundation of biblical Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then the historical veracity of his life, death and resurrection are tantamount. For as Paul declared in his letter to the Corinthians:
- And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. 1
Based on standard rules of evidence, consistent testimony from multiple credible witnesses would be considered the strongest form of evidence available to a litigant. Therefore, if I found such testimony present in credible accounts of the historical record, I would have satisfied a major evidentiary challenge under traditional rules.
In fact, I did find multiple eye-witness testimonies regarding the resurrection of Jesus. In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul established the following:
- For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 2
The resurrection of Jesus Christ was also declared in numerous other accounts, including the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene,3 to other women,4 to Cleopas and his companion,5 to eleven disciples and others,6 to ten apostles and others (excluding Thomas),7 to the apostles (including Thomas),8 to seven apostles,9 to the disciples,10 and to the apostles on the Mount of Olives.11
For me, the ultimate test of credibility for these eye-witnesses was that many of them faced horrible deaths for their eye-witness testimony. As I've said before, this is really dramatic! These witnesses knew the truth! What could they possibly gain by dying for a known lie? The evidence speaks for itself, these weren't just religious faithful dying for a religious belief, these were followers of Jesus dying for an historic event -- the resurrection of Jesus Christ that established him as the Son of God.
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