Missives

The Case For The Resurrection

Excellent excerpt from Lee Stroebel.

"As an atheist, I understood one thing about Christianity: it rises or falls on the resurrection of Jesus. Anyone can claim to be divine, as Jesus did; yet if Jesus predicted he would die and rise again three days later – and then did it – that would be pretty good evidence he was telling the truth about his identity.  As a law-trained journalist at the Chicago Tribune, I also knew something else: dead bodies stay dead, and none of them ever regained life. So I figured it would be easy to disprove the resurrection."

 

"Maybe Jesus never really died on the cross. But the evidence for Jesus' execution is so extensive that even the atheist New Testament (NT) scholar Gerd L├╝demann calls it 'indisputable.' We not only have multiple, early accounts of Jesus' death in the NT, but we've also got five ancient sources outside the Bible that confirm his execution."

 

"My next line of defense was to say the resurrection is a legend. But I learned that it took more than two generations in the ancient world for legends to develop and wipe out a solid core of historical truth. Yet we have a report of the resurrection, preserved in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7, that comes far too quickly after Jesus' death to be considered a legend. We can be entirely confident that this report was formulated within months of Jesus' death. And that's not all - the Gospels contain others dating back to within a generation of Jesus."

 

"My third approach was to try to undermine the empty tomb – until I discovered that even the opponents of Jesus implicitly conceded the tomb was empty on that first Easter morning."

 

"Finally, I focused on eyewitnesses. We have one or two sources from ancient history and nine ancient sources –inside and outside the NT– confirming the testimony of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus.  The Christian persecutor Saul of Tarsus wasn't psychologically primed to have a vision of the risen Christ. Neither was James, the half-brother of Jesus, who was a doubter during Jesus' lifetime. They both died, however, as church leaders– why? Because the resurrected Jesus had appeared to them."

 

"The evidence for Jesus' resurrection was clear and convincing."

 

Condensed from Lee Stroebel's A Case For Christ. Citations from here.