Can I Trust In the Resurrection?

Most people believe that life has a spiritual dimension. Maybe you belong to a church or mosque. Maybe you meditate. Maybe you consider the awe you feel in the mountains or the peace of a forest trail as a spiritual experience. Maybe art gets you in touch with something more meaningful than your daily grind. You may not be able to define it, but you likely think some reality beyond the physical exists.

The Importance of the Resurrection in Christianity

The Christian faith focuses on human bodies. Christians hope that their bodies will be raised from the dead. Everything rests on the belief that Jesus Christ rose physically from his grave. Without the resurrection, our sins aren't forgiven. We're not at peace with God. If the resurrection didn't happen, Christian faith is a fraud. So, is there any reason to believe in the resurrection of Christ? People make extraordinary claims all the time. You've heard about people who say they saw UFOs or ghosts or Bigfoot. The resurrection supposedly happened 2,000 years ago in an obscure part of the Roman Empire. Why should this extraordinary claim be taken seriously?

Does the Bible Want Us to Take a Leap of Faith?

The Bible expects people to want evidence. The New Testament writers never ask people to take a blind leap of faith. Luke begins his Gospel by saying he's spoken to eyewitnesses of the events he describes. He's writing so that his readers "may have certainty" about Jesus. Likewise, the apostle Paul appeals to evidence. He offers a convincing narrative, so his readers will be sure it's true. The gospel message hinges on historical events, so the Bible tells readers why they should believe these things really happened.

But Why Should We Believe the Bible?

First, few current scholars dispute the fact that Jesus Christ lived in Palestine somewhere between 10 BC and 40 AD and died on a Roman cross. The New Testament describes a historical figure. Second, the disputed issues—who Jesus was and what he taught—aren't simply about facts. When we approach the New Testament, our beliefs affect how we read it. We should take eyewitness evidence seriously when evaluating the New Testament.

What's the Evidence for the Resurrection?

1. Jesus' Empty Tomb

Jesus' disciples found the tomb empty and didn't know what to think. The enemies of Jesus also knew the tomb was empty and had to come up with a story to explain it. All the evidence suggests that everyone at the time knew the tomb was empty. The only question was how to account for it.

2. Jesus' Appearances After the Resurrection

Paul claims that over 500 people saw Jesus after he died. These appearances weren't just visual, but physical interactions. Jesus ate with the disciples and invited them to touch him. The eyewitness evidence in the New Testament deserves a fair, careful evaluation.

3. The Creation of the Church

The most plausible explanation for the existence of the church and the commitment of Jesus' followers is that something extraordinary happened. The evidence in the New Testament accounts for what happened and best explains the existence of the church.

What Does This Mean for Us?

To trust that the resurrection occurred means you believe it happened. Christian faith depends on this intellectual assent. But we're not mere observers. We're not just curious about an odd phenomenon. The resurrection proves to us that Jesus is the Son of God, that he's forgiven our sins, and that we'll also rise again—to live with him in glory and joy forever. Jesus wants us to trust in the resurrection so that we'll trust in him.
In conclusion, the evidence supported by eyewitness accounts and historical events in the Bible provides compelling reasons to trust in the resurrection of Christ. By examining the evidence carefully and considering the impact of the resurrection on Jesus' followers, we can come to believe in the truth of this foundational event in Christianity.