Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?
by Mike Licona
(This article was taken directly from the Apologetics Study Bible for Students)
Science has taken us to the moon, allowed us to see DNA, and show us that people who are assuredly dead do not return to life by natural causes. Since the apostle Paul wrote that Christianity is a false religion if Jesus was not resurrected (1 Co 15:17), has science disproved Christianity? Is there any good evidence that Jesus’ resurrection actually occurred? Despite the hesitation of skeptics concerning the four Gospels, nearly all Bible scholars are confident that there are at least three sure facts concerning what happened to Jesus.
1. Jesus was crucified on the orders of the Roman governor and died as a result.
2. Jesus’ disciples honestly believed that He rose from the dead and appeared to them beginning on Sunday morning.
3. A sworn enemy of the Christians named Saul (later called Paul) had an experience that he believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus, prompting him to become a Christian. This would be similar to Jesus appearing to a Muslim who then leaves Islam and becomes the next Billy Graham! Saul become the opposite of what he’d been because of the risen Jesus (see Ac 9).
Unbelieving scholars form theories that attempt to explain away the above facts. Some used to claim that Jesus’ disciples lied about the resurrection appearances or that the reports of Jesus’ resurrection were legends that developed over time. But once the second fact above was admitted, that Jesus’ original disciples sincerely believed He had risen and appeared to them shortly after His death, the legend and fraud theories fell apart…
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