Historical Evidence for the Resurrection and the Validation of the Deity of Jesus

by Sean Holloway

This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”‘ Let all of the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.  ~ The Apostle Peter, Acts 2:32-36

The Deity and Resurrection of Jesus

Romans 1:4 says, “…and [Jesus] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” Are these words of Paul true? How did the Resurrection of Jesus confirm His deity? How can one be certain the Resurrection of Jesus actually happened? This essay will explain that Paul’s words are indeed true, that the Resurrection of Jesus was, with reasonable historical certainty, an actual event in history that confirmed His deity.

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There are numerous examples of people being raised back to life after death throughout Scripture, such as Jesus raising Lazarus from death in John 11 and Jairus’ daughter in Matthew 9. However, there is no deduction from the other resurrection narratives found in the Bible that a resurrection automatically implied some sense of divinity onto the subject.[1] How, then, does the Resurrection of Jesus confirm His deity?

One significant difference between the Resurrection of Jesus and the subjects of the other narratives is the reason for Jesus’ death. Every ancient tradition and authority, both Christian and Jewish, confirms more or less that Jesus was condemned to death by the Sanhedrin for being a false prophet or a blasphemer.[2] The Sanhedrin had Jesus executed because he claimed divinity.

In John 8:58, Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus was clearly claiming equality with the “I Am” name God applied to Himself in Exodus 3:14.[3] The Jews around Jesus confirmed this with their failed attempt to stone Him for blasphemy.[4]

Jesus not only claimed the title of deity, He assumed for Himself the powers only God could possess.[5] When He forgave sin in Mark 2:5, the scribes rightly responded in verse 7, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”[6] Jesus, therefore, backed up this bold claim of forgiveness with another act performed only by the power of God; He healed the man.[7]

Considering passages such as Isaiah 9:6, where the Messiah is called “Mighty God, Eternal Father,” the Old Testament clearly taught that the coming Messiah would be God Himself…

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Historical Evidence for the Resurrection and the Validation of the Deity of Jesus | Sean Holloway