The Irrefutable Evidence of Jesus' Resurrection

First and Best Evidence:  The Empty Tomb

Luke 24:1-3, NIV "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus."

First and Best Evidence:  Independent Corroboration of the Testimony

Luke 24:9-12 "When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.  But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.  Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb.  Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened."

Note here in Luke's account that Peter wondered what had happened.  His reaction was the same as that of the women who came to finish embalming Jesus' body, but found an empty tomb instead:

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"  John 20:1, 2.  They all wondered, "What happened to the body?"  We note also that this flattens the allegations of some that the disciples stole his body in the dark of night.  For if that were the case, there would be no wondering on Jesus' apostles' part as to what happened to their Lord's body.  Furthermore, they would not have have been able to keep it a secret from the other disciples if they had stolen Jesus' body.  If there was a plot to secretly take Jesus' body, there would have been at least one disciple who would have gone to the Jewish and Roman authorities and exposed the plot.

Many of the disciples of Jesus were in disbelief and shock.  They did not believe the subsequent testimony of Mary Magdalene that the Lord had appeared to her and that he was risen.  See John 20:10-20.  It was not until after Jesus had appeared to them as a group, when they were gathered together behind closed doors for fear of the Jewish authorities, that they believed that Jesus had risen.

First and Best Evidence:  The Credibility of the Witnesses

Who were the credible witnesses of this incredible story?  The disciples of Jesus had no reason to fabricate an elaborate story about the Lord being raised from the dead.  These disciples were fearful of the Jewish authorities, for they had seen what they did with their Leader.  Fearing the same fate, they did not so much as venture out of their hiding places.  But what makes their testimony of Christ's resurrection so compelling and so powerful is that, upon pain of death, they stood by their story.  Many of those same disciples that Jesus appeared to after his resurrection gave their lives because they knew what they knew.  They did not recant their story.  They were emboldened by the fact of his glorious resurrection and ascension to be fearless witnesses to the truth.  Beatings, threats and slaughter could not stop them from witnessing to the truth.

By stark contrast, the Jewish authorities and Roman soldiers who put the Christ to death had every conceivable reason to lie about the events of that glorious weekend.  The rulers had their reputations and influence to protect.  The soldiers who guarded Jesus' tomb had their own necks to protect.  Note that they went to the Jewish rulers first because they were utterly perplexed and in mortal fear because this Christ had risen from the dead.  It is highly plausible that the Jewish leaders bribed the soldiers to buy their silence and compel them to falsify their story.  These players were acting in character, and therefore are disqualified as credible witnesses testifying that Jesus' disciples stole his body.

There are just too many holes in the opposition's story.  For instance, how does one credibly explain that some disciples of Jesus made it past a whole Roman guard, that had all fallen asleep in the middle of the night, rolled away a huge stone, and stole their Master's body?  Highly improbable if not impossible.  So we are compelled by a preponderance of evidence to dismiss the testimony of known liars and murderers.

First and Best Evidence:  The Witness of Prophecy Fulfilled

Time and space will not allow for the abundance of evidence afford by the prophecies so clearly fulfilled in the life of Jesus the Christ.  This will shall reserve for a post in the near future.     

All the Evidence You Will Ever Need: A Scientist Believes in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

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