The Resurrection of Jesus

When writing about the resurrection it is the cornerstone of the Christian faith whereby this movement stands or falls. 1 Corinthians 15:17 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

To begin with Jesus is seen as a historical character, unlike some mythological beings, who underwent the brutal death of crucifixion of which even the New Testament critics will acknowledge.

Unfortunately when reporting on this event we didn’t have the benefit of the BBC or CNN news. Nor did we have the convenience of electronic media or the printing press. Nevertheless even if we had these great means and modes of communication a person must still wade through the quagmire of bias from a mostly liberal media.

Anyway in addition to the bible I will try to give some external resources to help build a case concerning the plausibility of this event but regrettably these secondary accounts are mostly inferences.

To begin with the New Testament will be the primary source document in which I will be referencing. In exploring the NT it is often set apart in ancient literature as containing exceptional textual evidence regarding its historical and archaeological accuracy yet in spite of this the critic would be quick to point out that there are supposedly mythical components to this text as well. Yet to begin an analysis with this kind of presupposition regarding everything that is related to super nature is already a prejudicial view towards a monumental work which I believe is unwarranted. Anyway I have written some posts about Atheism and Agnosticism which deals with the possibilities of God and therefore if Jesus is deity according to the biblical testimony then anything is possible.

Atheist /Agnostic/ Non-Theist

Now regarding the circumstances that surround the details of the crucifixion/resurrection as published in the NT there is what is referred to as the embarrassment  factor which helps to authenticate the credibility of the gospels.

Such criteria for this premise would be the cowardice of the disciples such as the denial of Christ and fleeing the scene to hide. We even see one disciple initially rejecting the testimony of the postmortem resurrection appearances of the Lord. Additionally, it was the women at the tomb who were the first witnesses to the resurrection instead of the inner circle of men who were considered his closest companions and associates such as John, James, and Peter. In ancient times a women’s testimony was invalid and yet they are the key observers of this initial appearance.

Also much of the Bible is given in very realistic language  and is often not overly sophisticated or glamorous in its descriptive rhetoric which often gives a less than favorable light especially towards those who are considered its caregivers.  Many ancient texts if given enough time through their oral traditions or resultant large gaps  between the original and subsequent copies have a tendency to mythologize the text and we can see this clearly with the invention of the apocryphal books such as the Egyptian Hag Namadi documents which give a more mystical and fanciful decor to the outlook of the NT by concocting a legendary scene of the biblical worldview. So the New Testament is considered relatively demythologized already as based on the comparisons of these texts which I have written about in another blog as well

So is it more likely to believe in a hyper form of script or is it more plausible to affirm a simplified version which is portrayed as being unpolished in an ordinary version concerning the person and work of Christ?

Also when considering the sincerity of the disciples of Jesus it is inconceivable how they would be willing to lay down their lives for a dead lie, such as the resurrection, especially if the scuttlebutt was that they supposedly stole the body  as what many critics both past and present have suggested.

Additionally, the NT records that the disciples were hiding themselves which seems like a more common reaction then having a boldness to move the body by violating the edict of Caesar who enacted a large fine for anybody who would violate another persons burial site and who later issued a death sentence for grave robbery or disturbing the burial plot. So to put oneself in harms way unnecessarily is contrary to how the New Testament portrays this often fearful group and is contrary to self preservation especially since many of these disciples suffered rather than temporarily benefiting from this growing faith.

It is understandable how someone may sacrifice their lives as a martyr when they revere a person of whom they have been far removed from in time or space or say a charismatic person who has swayed and hypnotically convinced them of his or her greatness. People can be disillusioned and spell bound by being caught up in a cultish affinity of devotion in a follow the leader type of mentality. You know there is nothing unique about this phenomena as this is a common occurrence among rock stars to cult leaders. Yet to continue to follow someone who has instilled in His followers hearts a death and resurrection scenario only to fulfill one half of the equation is just plain crazy even from a cult phenomena. If he had only risen in their hearts in a spiritual or a allegorical/metaphorical dimension then the NT would support this stance by changing the headlines of their story and yet the bible does not communicate it this way but rather it displays the text in a very literally graphic way which gives no leeway for misinterpretation. Also how plausible would it be for all the disciples to have hallucinatory visions which some have suggested?

In addition to this the belief in the resurrection was not an evolutionary apologetic invention as it encapsulates the oldest recognizable creed of the early church as found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8  stating that Jesus died for our sins and was buried and raised from the dead on the third day and appeared to them not in visions or dreams but who manifested Himself tangibly and visibly. After all they could of just made up another story which would be more in agreement with the Jewish expectations of their time which only saw the resurrection as an end time event and not as an isolated incident as we have here with Jesus. They could of still held out His glory and enshrined His tomb and just said that He will return and restore all things in the coming age. Ironically, if their purpose was to somehow benefit personally from this message then it wouldn’t make sense to fabricate  a story about a resurrection when the people you were reaching out to were not in agreement to this gospel message which at times even befuddled the apostles as well.

To say that these Apostles anticipated all of these objections by putting together a script that had such levels of sincerity and ignorance as a way to seduce others into a messianic frenzy is highly unlikely. In order to fabricate a text like this that has the appearance of originality and truthfulness is a complicated sophistication that normally evolves with age and yet based on the relativity short duration between the autograph and the copy leaves a short period of time whereby to embellish the texts.

I think another criteria for authenticity is Luke’s gospel which has a commitment to displaying the facts through the careful interviews of contemporary eyewitness accounts such as described by his historical approach in which he plainly explains his intent and motivation from the onset of his letter, Luke 1.

Another aspect to the testimony of the New Testament is its emphasis on the nature of truth which is at the very heart of Christian ethics and so for the apostles or the copyist to perjure themselves this way would put them in danger of eternal judgment.

Finally in conclusion to the testimony of the reliability of the New Testament I have written a post which may be of interest to you

In moving on to dealing with secondary references there were not many resources  available that were reporting at this time in history about this particular geographical location and even if there were it wouldn’t necessarily guarantee that the reporting would be right on target. Of those records that have survived they are diverse enough to give us some idea of what had taken place which includes both Jewish and Roman sources which are both unsympathetic towards this movement and these records can be found in the Talmud, Tacitus, Josephus and Pliny the younger which confirm the life and death of Jesus along with his alleged resurrection.

We also see a historical figure of James or Jacob the brother of the Lord who was the head of the Jerusalem church and who at one time was not supportive towards his brother in that he mocked Him and thought Him to be crazy. So for James to be convinced enough to be a leader of the movement and then die as a martyr is a paradox at worst. James more than most knew the real Jesus in a very ordinary way as they both lived together under the same roof and for him to be committed to worship a member of his own household is a strange devotion for someone who would have been considered a charlatan.

Another secondary source is the jewish Tanakh or the hebrew bible and even though Christians use this Old Testament as their sacred scriptures its origination predates  Christianity as proven by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and therefore it is a good resource when contemplating such matters.

The Old Testament speaks of a chief Messianic figure who would die an unduly or untimely death. Yet God would not allow this holy one to see decay by giving Him the light of life as seen in the motif of Psalms 16 and Isaiah 53. These scriptures may seem to be vague and a bit obscure for a definitive case but in turn we don’t see any concrete evidence which would adequately refute this position either.

Another aspect of controversy is that Jesus is identified with the dying and rising gods of other ancient religions which were associated with the seasonal cycles of life and death and yet these gods were presented in a mythological fashion of which the literature postdates Christianity. So to associate the origin of this belief on foreign sources is erroneous.

Also there have been a lot of theories on how Christ may have been resuscitated instead of resurrected such as the swoon theory where Jesus regains consciousness and is able to  just walk away after he had been severely scourged, crucified, and speared and then somehow naturally recovers from this death blow. However, in spite of this theory there is no alleged record of His recovery whether it be secular or religious. Had Jesus recovered like this then perhaps this may of helped their case by which He miraculously overcomes death. Also how could they preach a resurrection if He was still alive knowing full well that they were just propagating a falsehood?

To come up with theories may be intriguing to some as based on our insatiable desire for the unknown regarding conspiracy theories but just because we can be entertained with these notions seems more like the efforts of an escape artist versus and kind of academic entreaty.

Also to preach the resurrection among their contemporaries would be quite difficult due to the popularity of Jesus gravesite. After all if Jesus was still in the tomb then it could be easily proven whether or not His grave was occupied.

Some other things to consider is my own personal life transformation which cannot be argued against from an experiential point of view because I am a life that was radically changed literally overnight. It’s one thing to change your mind about something or even to have an emotional spiritual experience but what I am referring to is a sense of  immediacy which was so abrupt that from a human standpoint I know that it would be impossible for me to change myself apart from divine intervention and so for me to deny the identity of the resurrected Christ who gave me life would be a lie and an act of hatred towards others by withholding this gospel truth. Many people try religion from a do and don’t approach of works or some form of self help program but what I am talking about here is what is referred to in the bible as being born again when the Lord changes you from the inner part of your being much like taking a bath on the inside. I speak more about this in my personal testimony at

Actually this is not only my story but is characteristic of many hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life such as doctors, politicians, historians and scientists and to say that my experience is coincidental is just close mindedness.

Also for those of you who are interested in Near Death Experiences I am also including a link regarding the testimonies of others who have seen the risen Christ.

One other thing that boggles the mind is the universal acceptance of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah when much of the non-jewish world has been antisemitic and hostile towards the Jews at different times in history.

Lastly as children we played the game of “where’s Waldo” and as adults we were wondering if somehow Elvis faked his death as people claimed to have seen him. Yet today we have people who would like to associate this matter as a game or a conspiracy theory because normally dead men don’t rise.

This reminds me of when people first see the showcase of Ripley’s freakish anomalies where our minds have a tendency to automatically associate this stuff with some kind of trickery and that’s because its largely outside of our sphere of experience. This even happens among the scientific elite of our society who specialize in the knowledge of phenomena and even in their field of expertise they are at times shocked by their discoveries or they find that there are limitations regarding their knowledge of certain things and so like this show these matters may have unknown natural explanations but this does not necessarily rule out metaphysical possibilities of which we as finite creatures are yet to break through the barrier of omniscience.

Finally, can you honestly ask yourself if you had been there and witnessed what the apostles and others had testified to that you would have readily embraced this faith by surrendering your life to Jesus? If there is a hesitancy to submit yourself to this concept  then perhaps your real motivation of skepticism is beyond the need for evidence but rather it is a matter of willful volition.

In closing all I would challenge you to do  is to be open to the possibilities that I have expressed in regards to “where is Jesus” and to just ask God with an honest heart to make Jesus tangibly real so that you can trust Him as the Lord and Savior of your life.

Lastly as you trust in God’s intervention of revelation regarding Jesus this matter will still need to be resolved by you, believe it or not.



How to know God

Atheist and Agnostic Resources

English Articles on Atheism and Agnosticism





“Jesus Under Fire” Copyright 1995 by Michael J. Wilkins, J.P. Moreland, Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, William Lane Craig, Craig A. Evans, Douglas Geivett, Gary Habermas, Scot McKnight, and Edwin Yamauchi

Used by Permission from Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

“Reprinted by permission. “(A Ready Defense), Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, copyright 1990, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.”

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