“He is not here, for he has risen, as he said” (Matt. 28:6). Oh, the joy this brings to all who have called on Christ to save them and bestow on them eternal life. He has risen and as such, He can give us eternal life. Yet, as we looked at yesterday, there are those who deny this fact. They have developed many theories of how Jesus only appeared to be raised. But as we discussed yesterday, those theories do not hold water on their own, much less when strong evidence is applied to refute them.
Today we will be looking at some of that evidence. As I said yesterday, several outside sources, of which are not Christian, attest that Christianity is based on Jesus. Not only this but that they believed in earnest that He had been raised from the dead (e.g., Tacitus and Josephus). Not to mention, there is evidence from within the Scriptures that give strong evidence.
The first is that the disciples were Jewish and they had no teachings or beliefs that there would be a single individual resurrection of anyone. Martha illustrates this belief well for us when Jesus is speaking to her about Lazarus her brother. Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha responds, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:23-24). So, for the Jewish disciples to go around saying that Jesus was raised without Him actually being raised is highly unlikely because they did not have any reason to say something like this.
Second, is the testimony of the women. Women in that time had no standing in the Jewish courts. Josephus stated as much about a woman and her testimony when he wrote, “let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex” (The Works of Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews 1987, 4.8.15). Scripture states that the women are the ones who discovered and reported on the empty tomb (Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:1).
Third, is the fact that the tomb was well known by all. Joseph of Arimathea was the one whose tomb was used. The gospel writings state that he took the body to his private tomb—not a public mass burial ground. The scriptural accounts state the body of Christ was prepared for burial according to the burial customs of the Jews. Not only that but the women sat opposite the tomb and watched. So Joseph of Arimathea and the women knew where the tomb was but so did the Romans. This is known because they placed a guard there. Too many people knew the location of the tomb. If this was faked they would have taken them to the tomb and proved it false. Hence why the Jewish leaders told the guards to say the disciples stole the body (Matt. 28:11-15).
Finally, the fact that the disciples were willing to die. They had no reason to be like this. If Jesus had just died and was still in the grave, then why would they willingly oppose the rulers and be beaten and killed for a lie? They wouldn’t. They would have been dejected and ran away because their leader had just been killed. They would not have had the desire to stand up and proclaim Jesus had been raised when He had not. So, the sheer fact of their boldness after demonstrates that they saw the risen Lord and bravely faced all that came at them because they knew it was true that He Has Risen.
So, you too can go forth boldly and proclaim the risen Lord. He has risen is the most encouraging words one can hear. He has risen because He is Lord. He has made the way of salvation available to all (John 14:6). We have a living Lord and because of this, you too can be bold and face all that comes. You can because Jesus is, “the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in [Him], though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in [Him] shall never die” (John 11:25-26).