Is believing in the resurrection of Jesus reasonable?
Since we have just come out of Easter, I thought I would share why I believe in the resurrection of Jesus. These are not “proofs.” If you have already decided you do not believe in the resurrection, these reasons are not likely to change your mind. But this is why I believe.
1. There is a very early testimony in the church of the resurrection.
Even critics acknowledge that the first part of 1 Corinthians 15 is very early and is not a later addition.
2. There were numerous witnesses to the resurrection.
I once heard Gerd Ludemann give a detailed reason why Peter, wracked by guilt from his denial of Jesus, could psychologically believe that Jesus had reason. Fair enough. Except Peter was not the only witness of the risen Jesus, nor was he the first. Paul tells us that there were more than five hundred witnesses.
3. The witness of James and Paul.
Why would these skeptics change their mind if they had not seen the risen Jesus? Think of Paul. He was burning his bridges with the Jewish community with his conversion without any assurance that new bridges could be built with the Christian community. Something must have happened to make him turn to Christ.
4. The resurrection of Jesus was without religious expectation.
The Jews believed in a resurrection but it was a general resurrection where all of God’s people would be raised, not just one man. The Greeks and Romans had traditions of apotheosis that is somewhat similar to resurrection. However, in these cases the person’s body disappeared or was discarded and the person was immediately placed among the gods. Jesus, on the other hand, spent some time appearing to his disciples before making his way to the right hand of God.
5. The body of Jesus was never produced to demonstrate that Jesus did not rise from the dead.
Opponents could have easily nipped Christianity in the bud by producing the body. They did not because they could not.
These are some of the reasons that I believe in the resurrection. This is the cornerstone of Christianity. People may discount Noah or Jonah, but if the resurrection of Jesus indeed took place, there is a need for serious soul searching.