When you talk with someone about Jesus, you are Christ’s witness and whoever you’re speaking with is the jury. A good witness will carefully present evidence as to influence the jury to render a correct verdict. There are four primary pieces of evidence to present that argue for the reality of the resurrection. In this post we’ll cover reasons three and four. To read reasons one and two click here.
Why should we believe that Jesus rose from the dead? The third reason deals with the changed lives of Jesus’ disciples.
Evidence #3: The Changed Lives.
The numerous (and suddenly) changed lives of Jesus’ followers argue for the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Here are three examples:
- Before Jesus’ resurrection Peter couldn’t address a handful of people in the high priest’s courtyard about Jesus (John 18). After Jesus’ resurrection Peter boldly addressed many thousands of people about Jesus (Acts 2).
- Before Jesus’ resurrection none of Jesus’ brothers believed in him (John 7:5). After Jesus’ resurrection they all believed (Acts 1:14) and began preaching that their brother rose from dead (1 Corinthians 9:5).
- Before Jesus appeared to Paul he was a violent persecutor of the church (Acts 8:3). After Jesus appeared to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8) he became a Christian missionary and embraced a life of poverty, labor and suffering (1 Corinthians 4:11).
Could anything other than Jesus’ resurrection account for these changed lives?
Objection: Jesus’ disciples thought he rose from the dead, but Jesus actually faked his own death.
Response: 1) Could Jesus really have stayed still, without flinching, while Joseph and Nicodemus embalmed him? 2) Would the pitiful physical condition he would’ve been in have inspired and convinced the scared, scattered, skeptical disciples that he was a conquering king who had triumphed over death?
Summary: The disciples lives were changed suddenly and drastically because Jesus faked his death OR the disciples lives were changed suddenly and drastically because they saw Jesus alive after his death. Which of these two options seems more plausible to you?
Why should we believe that Jesus rose from the dead? The fourth reason deals with the explosive growth of the first century church.
Evidence #4: The Church.
The start and meteoric rise of the church argues for the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. In the same way that something has to account for the radically changed lives of Jesus’ disciples, something has to also account for the explosive growth of the church. Within five weeks of Jesus’ death Christianity grew to about 10,000 people (Acts 4:4). What explains this? If not the resurrection of Jesus, then what?