As Christians, Jesus is the center of our faith. We believe that He lived, died, and rose again. Out of those three things, the most difficult to understand would be his resurrection. The resurrection is vital. In fact, it is so important that Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
So if we have so much weight balancing on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, shouldn’t there be some evidence to support such an extreme claim? I mean, I personally have never seen anyone rise from the dead by their own accord, have you?
What can we examine in the scriptures that can help us believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead then? There are actually quite a few things, but there is one that I want to focus on.
Someone might state that the story is made up because the disciples wanted to gain popularity. There are two reasons why this most likely is not true.
Imagine, ladies, if you had a close friend die, then you went to go visit their grave and they came and greeted you, showing that they are in fact no longer dead, would you go and tell someone about it? How would you feel if when you told other people about it, they didn’t believe you on the sole fact that you were a woman? This thankfully did not happen with the women who saw Jesus, but it would be extremely unlikely that if the disciples were trying to gain popularity, they would have said that the women were the first to the tomb.
Now ladies I want to make sure you know this is not my personal opinion. This is just a fact regarding the time of Jesus. The reason that it is significant that women were first to the tomb, was women’s testimony meant nothing in the first century. In fact, Josephus who is a first century Jewish historian tells us that women’s testimonies were so worthless during this time that they were not allowed to testify in court most of the time. And when they did, there had to be more than one woman testifying and giving the same account of what happened in order for it to be counted as a valid statement. So if the disciples were looking to get famous, they surely would have said THEY reached the tomb first, rather than the women.
The second reason the disciples most likely did not do this for fame was because they died gruesome and terrible deaths or had intense persecutions. Some were crucified upside down, some were thrown off the roofs of buildings and exiled, some were stoned and imprisoned and other terrible deaths and punishments. No one would willingly die such horrible deaths if they KNEW what they were dying for was false.
One might say, “Well, there are people who die for their faith all the time. Radical Muslims die because they believe in what the Qur’an says and what Allah tells them. And many people believe that they are wrong.”
There is a major difference here. They are dying for a BELIEF in HOPES they are right. The disciples either 100% KNEW that Jesus rose from the dead or they 100% KNEW He did NOT rise from the dead. There was no guess work or hopes here. All it would take is for them to say “Okay, don’t crucify me. It was all made up! I was hoping to get famous from telling this story. Here is Jesus’ body.” But they didn’t. They knew that what they were saying was true. In a way, they had no choice but to say that it was true because they would have no way of proving otherwise since Jesus really did rise from the dead.