In a Nutshell
Q. What proofs are there that Jesus was resurrected? I'd appreciate a short answer - it seems that most books and essays are just too long for me to read at this time in my life. Thank you!
Answer: We have included a very short summary of resurrection evidences for you with a list of books to acquire in the future. Happy Easter!
After Jesus was crucified and placed dead in the grave, his tomb was found empty 3 days later. His corpse was never found. Yet, the tomb was heavily guarded by Roman soldiers who would have been put to death for not doing their job.
Women were second class citizens in first-century Jewish culture and were not considered the best witnesses to testify in a court of law. Yet, the disciples declared that women were the first to find the empty tomb. No males would have made up that story!
Timid to Bold:
After the gruesome crucifixion the apostles hid behind closed doors, terrified. But, then something happened to change them into bold eye witnesses. What happened? Clearly, they were convinced that Jesus appeared to them behind locked doors, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and on the Mount of Olives as they said. Their lives changed and they died for their conviction that Christ had risen from the dead.
Zombies in Reverse
Not only did something drastic happen to change the minds of the apostles, but several people who had died showed up in Jerusalem after the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:52-54). That would certainly get your attention! Imagine the impact of resurrected people showing up in your town! In the same way, Jerusalem was "abuzz" with awe and amazement.
Paul Turned from Persecutor to Preacher:
Paul viciously persecuted and killed Christians. But, then he gave up wealth, position and status to preach the gospel of Christ, writing much of the New Testament. Something dramatic had to have happened to Paul.
Crowd of Eyewitnesses:
More than 500 people saw the risen Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:6). Any of them could have denied the resurrection had it simply been a false rumor. But, Jesus was real. The apostles touched Jesus and ate food with him. Jesus wasn't just an hallucination.
Manuscripts, Churches and Martyrs Multiplied Rapidly:
Shortly after Christ's resurrection there was an explosion of news reports, manuscripts, creedal statements, and letters passed around the middle east, Greece and Rome. Nothing like this had ever occurred before. Churches quickly formed and millions of followers were martyred (died for their beliefs). Keep in mind that no one knowingly dies for a lie!
The Roman historian Thallus (A.D. 52) mentioned that the darkness at the time of Jesus' crucifixion (Mk 15:33) may have been a solar eclipse. (Notice that he validates the darkness and Jesus as a real person). Also, the Jewish historian Josephus (A.D. 90) references Jesus, his miracles, followers and family. Plus, many others wrote about Jesus and the early Christians. New Testament events occurred in a real political and historical context: Augustus Caesar, Caligula, Pontius Pilate, Claudius, Nero, Greece, Rome and so on.
Although not a traditional piece of evidence, the Shroud of Turin is thought by many to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus (see Matt. 27:59; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53). Its limestone dust and fiber type is unique to first-century Palestine. It contains wound marks consistent with the execution of Jesus. Coins on the eyes date back to around 32 A.D.
But, most striking, a few physicists theorize that the image on the shroud must be due to some type of nuclear event! The body may have hovered mid air between the back and front of the cloth to cause a radiation-type scorch. Noted historian Gary Habermas states that one of the original physicists analyzing the shroud declared, "the image on the shroud appears to have been caused by something like…millions of micro lasers shooting out of every pore in his body, scorching the cloth simultaneously…" Could it be from the power of the resurrection event itself?
Habermas, Gary. 2004. The case for the resurrection of Jesus. Kregal.
…2014. Lecture at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University. Miracles Symposium. "Naturalism." Available on You Tube.
Licona, Michael R. 2010. The resurrection of Jesus: A new historiographical approach. IVP.
Tipler, Frank J. 2007. The physics of Christianity. Doubleday.
Wright, N.T. 2003. The resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins). Fortress.
McDowell, Josh. Evidence for the resurrection. Available from: http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html. (On-line article)
Muncaster, Ralph O. 2000. What is the proof for the resurrection? Eugene, OR: Harvest House. (48 page pamphlet)
Wilson, Bill. 1993. A ready defense: the best of Josh McDowell. Nashville, TN: Nelson. (organized collection of evidences)
Ankerberg, John. The evidence for Jesus' resurrection. (DVD). Chattanooga, TN: Ankerberg Theological Research Institute.
Habermas, Gary. The case for Christ's resurrection (DVD set. The case for Christianity. Annual Apologetics Conference 2009). Murrieta, CA: Veritas Evangelical Seminary.
Syphers, Vance and Paul Schubert. The fabric of time. (DVD). USA: Grizzly Adams Productions.
The real face of Jesus? 2010. (DVD). A&E Television Networks. Produced by LEFT/RIGHT ENTERTAINMENT for History.
Valorie Emilio holds an MA in history from UCLA specializing in Christian origins. She works with and teaches women at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Grants Pass, Oregon, where her husband serves as Director.