Friday, September 20, 2019
   
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Why should I believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead?

There is little question that the story we have about Jesus is historical—the cities, politicians, and religious leaders He interacted with have all been confirmed historically. We have little reason to believe that the words of Jesus in Scripture are inaccurate, since they were passed on to us by the people who hung out with Him.

 

The resurrection is another story, though. We lack hard proof of it, but we do have evidence.

One piece of evidence is the reaction of Jesus' followers to His death. Their initial response to Jesus' execution was the same as mine would have been: disappointment. Jesus had been persuasive, but in the end, He couldn't deliver. Instead of demonstrating He had the power to overthrow evil kingdoms, He had been humiliated and killed. At that point, I would have cut my losses and split, which is exactly what Jesus' followers did. Some denied knowing Jesus in order to save themselves. Some denied their own identity. Others hit the road.

Yet something happened three days later. They turned around and came back together. They began to proclaim that Jesus had risen from the dead, even though that belief cost most of them their lives. Why? They could have been deluded, but they don't write like crazy people. Their writing has been the source of inspiration for billions of people over two millennia. That is an unusual response to deluded ramblings. Perhaps they made up the resurrection in order to bring social change. If so, they didn't understand their society very well. The Jewish people had rejected prophets before, only to realize their mistake later and embrace their teachings. But by declaring Jesus to be a risen Lord and Savior, the disciples made it more difficult for people to respond. There was an easier path to social change.

The disciples were ordinary people. It usually takes something extraordinary to inspire extraordinary acts from ordinary people. Something happened three days after Jesus was executed, that marked the lives of over 500 people. Although these changed lives are not certain proof of the resurrection, they should make us think twice about it. See also Resurrection: Vicious Hoax, or Fantastic Fact?