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Did Jesus Really Resurrect? Historical Considerations in a Nutshell

  1. Christianity is the only religion I know that’s origin can be traced back to a real time & place & founded on PUBLIC supernatural events, specially the resurrection of Jesus.

  2. Because of this publicness, Christianity is the only religion I know of founded on the eyewitness testimony of multiple people.

  3. These eyewitness testimonies are preserved in the New Testament (NT), which can be traced back to the time (1st Century) & place (Judea) of Christianity’s origin.

  4. For example, based on the details & familiarity of the region & culture, the internal evidence of the Gospels shows that these accounts were written by first century Jews from Judea.

  5. Despite common claims that the NT was changed over time like the Telephone Game, the archaeological evidence shows the exact opposite. We have literally thousands more ancient copies of the NT than any other ancient text, some dating back close to Christianity’s origins, showing no significant changes to the manuscripts.

  6. Historians agree that 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 is an ancient church creed Paul records in his letter and that it’s the earliest information we have about Jesus. It states Jesus rose from the dead and over 500 witnessed the risen Jesus, naming some by name, and stating that many of these people are still alive. This is dated to just shortly after Jesus’ death on the cross.

  7. We have a non-Christian ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, during the time the last of the NT was being written (around 90 AD) confirm Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate and his followers believe he rose again.

  8. We have two pagan Romans just after the NT era (111-115 AD) confirm Jesus was crucified under Pilate during the reign of Emperor Tiberius, squashing the Jesus movement for a moment only to have it explode due to a “superstition” about Jesus & spread from Judea all the way to Rome in a short period of time & they worshiped Jesus as if he were a god.

Along with the information above, there are many other things even atheist historians confirm about the origins of Christianity which they have a hard time making sense of:

  1. If the tomb wasn’t empty, why didn’t the Jewish and Roman leadership squash the Christian movement by dragging Jesus’ body out onto the street?

  2. Why would Jesus' disciples accept a lifetime of persecution and hardship and even die for something they would undoubtedly know is a lie?

  3. Why would Paul, a persecutor of the first Christians, suddenly join the Christians, claiming he saw the risen Jesus?

  4. Why would James, Jesus’ own brother, who rejected his ministry, suddenly join the Christians after Jesus was crucified and eventually die because of it? (In that creed in 1 Corinthians 15, we’re told the risen Jesus appeared to him.)

  5. Why would all four Gospels report it was women who found the tomb empty and first encountered the risen Jesus when no one in the ancient world took women’s testimony seriously? It wasn’t even allowed in court. (Jesus’ male disciples didn’t even take them seriously at first!)

  6. Why do the Gospels make the disciples, especially Peter, look like such buffoons if they were trying to start a religion?

  7. Why would Jews or Romans invent a religion that worships a crucified person? If you understand the stigma of crucifixion, the idea of Jews or Romans starting an ancient religion based on a crucified person is absurd.

  8. Why were there other “messiahs” who grew a following and were eventually executed by the Romans, only to have their followers disperse and disappear, but with Jesus we have the exact opposite?

Whether one believes in the resurrection of Jesus or not, there are two things that can’t be denied:

  1. The resurrection of Jesus was not a legend or myth that developed later in history.

  2. Something extremely unusual happened to give birth to Christianity!

Glory to Christ!

*These topics are fleshed out in my book Reintroducing Jesus: Uncovering Jesus in the Misinformation Age.


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