Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?
If someone were to ask you why you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, how would you answer? Someone might say, "My mother told me that it is true." Another may reply, "Well, my preacher says it is so." Your friend may argue, "But those aren't good enough reasons." And those are not the reasons we believe Jesus was raised from the dead.
God gave us the ability to reason and think. We know that one plus one is two. We can figure out the shortest way to the nearest Burger King or other favorite eating place. Our Father in heaven wants us to use our minds to examine the facts and evidence about Jesus.
The truth is, if Jesus was not raised from the dead, He is not the Son of God and He is not the Savior of the world, or our King.
Just as in a court of law, there are witnesses to be heard. Let's examine them.
First of all, we need to understand that the Old Testament contains over 300 prophecies concerning our Lord Jesus. Some of those had to do with His death and resurrection. Nearly four hundred years before Christ was born, Zechariah prophesied, describing the disciples of Jesus as sheep. He foretold that the disciples would scatter or run away, when the shepherd (Christ) was smitten (killed) (Zechariah 13:7). That is exactly what happened upon the arrest and death of Jesus. Out of fear the disciples ran away. Then they went back to their businesses. They thought His death was the end of their Teacher. But something changed their minds. What did they see? They said they saw the risen Christ. Why should we believe them? Read carefully: this is very important. Very brave people will die for what they believe is true. But they will not die for their own lie. The disciples had nothing to gain by saying that Jesus was raised, because they were beaten, threatened with death, and some were killed for preaching His resurrection (Acts 5:40; 12:1-2).
The apostle Paul is another witness for the resurrection of Jesus. As a Jewish leader, Paul was persecuting Christians and having them executed or put into prison. He thought he was serving God. Paul (known as Saul), who was highly educated, had a future as a ruler of the Jews. He would have had money and fame and power. Yet he gave all that up to preach that Jesus was raised from the dead. What did he gain? Not a thing!