Evidence for the Resurrection

Evidence for the Resurrection

While it's true that Easter falls on April Fools Day this year... believing in the resurrection is far from foolishness!

Lee Strobel, author and former investigative journalist, summarises the evidence for the resurrection. In this short video Lee explains five strands of evidence which build a compelling case supporting Jesus’ resurrection.

  1. There’s no dispute that Jesus was dead after being crucified.
  2. The existence of early reports of Jesus’ resurrection (Within months of Jesus’ death).
  3. The empty tomb.
  4. Ancient sources that record the conviction of the disciples that they had encountered the risen Jesus.
  5. And finally the fact that the disciples were willing to suffer and even die for what they proclaimed about Jesus being raised from the dead.

Find out more about Lee Strobel and his ministry here: www.leestrobel.com

Possible discussion questions

What do you make of the five evidences that Lee Strobel mentions?

If you're sceptical of these evidences, how would you instead explain the empty tomb and the transformation of the disciples from fearful followers to those who were willing to die for their belief that Jesus was raised from the dead?

Transcript

When I was an atheist and legal editor at the Chicago Tribune I would have smirked at the fact that Easter this year falls on April Fool's Day. Back then I thought that anyone would have to be a fool to think that Jesus literally rose from the dead.

One day my wife gave me the news that she'd become a Christian. And so I decided to take my journalism training and legal training and debunk the resurrection of Jesus. So I spent two years of my life analyzing the historical data and what I found really shocked me. I recounted in my book, The Case For Miracles.

First of all I found that there's no dispute among scholars that Jesus was dead after being crucified. The famous atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdemann says it's historically indisputable that he was dead. The Journal of the American Medical Association says that based on the historical and medical evidence that Jesus was clearly dead even before the wound to a side was inflicted.

Second we have early reports of the resurrection of Jesus. Reports that come so quickly you can't just write them off as being a legend. In fact we have one report of the resurrection including named eyewitnesses that has been dated backed by scholars to within months of the death of Jesus. Friends that is historical gold.

Third we have the empty tomb. And I found that even the opponents of Jesus implicitly conceded that the tomb of Jesus was empty.

And then fourth, we have nine ancient sources inside and outside the New Testament confirming and corroborating the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus. Friends that is an avalanche of historical data.

And then we have seven ancient sources inside and mostly outside the New Testament that confirm that the disciples lived lives of deprivation and suffering as a result of their proclamation that Jesus had risen. Why were they willing to do that? Because they heard a rumour that he'd risen? No, because they were there they touched him, they ate with him, they talked with him, they knew the truth and knowing the truth they were willing to proclaim it even despite the suffering they endured.

Friends, I spent two years investigating this evidence. And it came down to one day when I reviewed it all and I thought you know what based on the historical data my verdict is that Jesus not only claimed to be the Son of God, he backed up that claim by returning from the dead and that's the moment that I decided to confess my sin to turn from that, to receive this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus purchased for me on the cross and at that moment I became a child of God.

Some people have a rush of emotion at that moment I didn't you know what I had, I had the rush of reason. Because the resurrection of Jesus is not some April Fool's Day joke. It is a historical reality based not on mythology or make-believe or wishful thinking but a solid foundation of historical truth.

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Lee Strobel

Video created by: Lee Strobel

Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel used to be the legal editor of The Chicago Tribune. He’s a best-selling author. His classic, The Case for Christ, details his conversion to Christianity. He is also a professor at Houston Baptist University & teaching pastor at Woodlands Church.

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