Is there evidence for the resurrection?
Quick Answer: In today’s culture, many believe there is no evidence for Christ’s resurrection. However, there is actually ample evidence in both biblical and extrabiblical sources for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Diving Deeper: It may surprise you to learn that there’s a large amount of biblical and extrabiblical evidence for the resurrection. You may be thinking, “Wait, of course there’s biblical evidence for the resurrection. After all, the Bible tells Jesus’ story!” True, but this does not discount the legitimacy of these sources. We must remember that the Bible is not one book. Rather, it is multiple books and letters that have been compiled over time telling one cohesive story of God’s redemption of humanity.
One of the sources, Luke, was an academic and a historian who took it upon himself to investigate the claims surrounding Jesus. Luke evidently became convinced by what he saw, because his work was published in two lengthy volumes: The Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts. We also have Peter and the author of Hebrews who wrote about the resurrection as if it actually happened (1 Peter 1:3; Hebrews 1:3). These are two more sources, written by different people at different times, that testify to the miraculous event of the resurrection.
We also have the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Paul was a hater of the Christian faith and a persecutor of believers (1 Timothy 1:15). However, an encounter with Jesus changed him so drastically that the early believers weren’t sure they could trust the transformation they saw in him (Acts 9:26). What changed Paul if it wasn’t an encounter with the resurrected Christ? Paul, and most of the other apostles, would go on to die for the faith. They were willing to die, because they knew Jesus had actually risen from the dead. They knew He was alive and had the power and authority to save them (Acts 4:12).
In addition, there are extrabiblical testimonies of the resurrection. Jewish scholars – Josephus, Clement, and Polycarp – all spoke of the resurrection as if it occurred.
But perhaps the greatest piece of evidence is present-day evidence: You. When you believed in Jesus, you were given a new heart and a new spirit (2 Peter 1:3-4; Hebrews 8:8-12). You were born again to a new and living hope through the resurrection of Christ (1 Peter 1:3; Colossians 2:13). You’re no longer enslaved to sin and have become enslaved to righteousness (Romans 6:18). None of this would be possible without Jesus rising from the dead. You’ve been saved by the resurrection life of Christ (Romans 5:10), and you testify that Jesus is alive today!
Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. How do you react to the Biblical evidence of Christ’s resurrection?
2. What about the extrabiblical evidence?
3. Which body of evidence convinces you more? Why?
4. On a personal level, why is the issue of Christ’s resurrection so important to you?