Evidence for the Resurrection
1 Cor. 15:12-20
Know Why You (Can) Believe
1 Corinthians 15:12–20 (ESV) 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
A Sampling of the Evidence
1. For the empty tomb
- The disciples would not have believed the resurrection if Jesus body was still in the grave.
- No one else would have believed them if someone could have produced Jesus’ body
- The discovery of the empty tomb has numerous independent sources
- The resurrection stories in the gospels are simply stated. They don’t contain the characteristics of legend.
- The tomb was discovered empty by women
- Early efforts to discount the resurrection acknowledge that the tomb was empty
For the physical appearances after the resurrection
- Paul’s list of appearances in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 guarantees that they happened
- 1 Corinthians 15:3–8 (ESV) 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
- The stories of the appearance in the gospels have numerous independent sources
- The appearances were physical
- They were no more likely to expect this then than we are now
3. For the beginning of the Christian faith and church
- A crucified Messiah was a contradiction in terms
- Belief in the resurrection turned this reality on its head
- This belief transformed the disciples and ultimately all of history
Mark 14:48–50 (NIV) 48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.
John 20:19–20 (NIV) 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Most people think that, when it comes to Jesus’s resurrection, the burden of proof is on believers to give evidence that it happened. That is not completely the case. The resurrection also puts a burden of proof on its nonbelievers. It is not enough to simply believe Jesus did not rise from the dead. You must then come up with a historically feasible alternate explanation for the birth of the church. You have to provide some other plausible account for how things began. Keller, Timothy (2008-02-14). The Reason for God (p. 200). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.