As a college student, I doubted the resurrection of Jesus in a sense. I believed it in a spiritual sense–whatever that means–but “just knew” that there was no real evidence for this historically and that Christians had to take this doctrine, this “truth,” by faith. Which means of course that I had a lousy foundation for my faith in Christ.
And then when I was 25 years old and a seminary student, I opened the latest issue of Christianity Today magazine–they gave free subscriptions to seminarians–and read a life-changing article by a British law professor named J. N. D. Anderson on “Evidences for the resurrection.” I was stunned, and blessed out of my socks to learn there is genuine, I-can-prove-it-to-you evidence for the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. My faith grew by a mile in one hour.
Later, when Professor Anderson enlarged the article into a book, I bought it and reveled in it. Since then, I have been delighted to see many have written such helpful books. See below for a couple.
Here are some favorite Scriptural texts on the resurrection of our Lord….
Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have. (Luke 24:38-39).
When Jesus rose from the grave on that First Sunday morning, He arose physically, bodily, fully. Literally, not symbolically. He did not rise “in a way” or “spiritually,” but was the same Man the crowds had crucified on Friday. Anyone doubting that may reach out and touch His scars.
And thus did the Lord shut down the option of His “sort-of” resurrection. Either He arose bodily and physically or He did not rise at all. Period.
True, He was different. He still looked the same and had a physical body that could eat, but He could also materialize and vanish at will, so He was changed. Bishop N. T. Wright says God made some new matter to pull this off. I love the promise of I John 3:2 that says we shall be like Him!
One of my all-time favorite scriptures immediately follows…
When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, ‘Have you any food here?’ (24:40-41).
You’ve gotta love it. These people are about to overdose on joy, they are so enraptured. So, what does the Lord do to bring them down to earth? He says calmly, “Anybody got anything to eat?”
The poor Man had not had a bite since Thursday night. (See John 21:5).
I’m so happy we serve a Lord who knows the importance of a good meal at a strategic point. In fact, we have just such a story here in Luke 24 where our Lord joins two disciples–not members of the Twelve–who were dispirited and were leaving Jerusalem. As they walked toward their destination of Emaus, Jesus spoke to them from all the scriptures the things concerning Himself (24:27). Then, arriving at their destination, they turned in to the house where they were staying and invited the Lord to join them. And Luke says….
As He sat at the table with them, He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him and He vanished from their sight. (24:30-31).
The next time we see Him (ahem), we will sit at table with Him for a feast which Scripture calls “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7,9).
I’ve been invited and I’m going. You too?
This thing was not done in a corner. –Acts 26:26
“You have lost your mind,” said King Festus to the prisoner in chains before him. “You’re a highly educated man and all that learning has driven you insane.”
The Apostle Paul replied, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but I’m speaking words of truth and reason. Sir, I know you have been aware of these things in recent days. None of this has escaped your attention. After all, this thing–the amazing life, the sacrificial death, and the miraculous resurrection of the Lord Jesus–was not done in a corner somewhere.”
For something to be done in a corner means it would have been unseen, unexamined, unverified, and therefore undependable. Religious hucksters through the centuries use this very ploy, telling the gullible to “take my word for it, because I saw it with my own eyes.” But the discerning reject that foolishness.
That’s why Luke, the author of The Acts of the Apostles, says in the opening of that book…
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs…. (Acts 1:1-3)
When is a proof “infallible”? Answer: When there is sufficient evidence to convince a reasonable mind. Is there evidence for Jesus’ resurrection? How happy we are to report there is indeed. As Josh McDowell says in his book by that title, this is Evidence That Demands a Verdict. There is proof aplenty.
Anyone doubting or seeking evidence for the resurrection of Jesus would do well to read Josh’s book, as well as anything by Lee Strobel. I’m smiling at remembering something C. S. Lewis said about reading such books: “The young atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”
Then there is this from First Peter chapter one…
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, to an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:3-5).
Is that ever a packed sentence! If Jesus were still in the grave and yet you were counting on Him to take care of your future, your hope would be dead as a doornail. But He is alive forevermore, making your faith a living hope.