The whole jigsaw of the Christian faith falls apart if you take out the resurrection. Our faith is not built on a series of beliefs, how we think the world ought to work, or even a holy book (even though we have all of those). Our faith is built on a historical event: the resurrection of Jesus. So if you don’t automatically take the Bible at face value, is there a foundation to believe in the fantastical claims that a man died and rose from the grave? I believe there is a foundation, and I get there in four steps.
1. Jesus really did die. There was a man named Jesus of Nazareth that lived in the first century and was executed by the Romans through crucifixion. Texts outside of the Bible corroborate this. And the Romans were experts at crucifixions. They had been doing it for centuries. When they killed him, he was dead.
2. Jesus’ body really did disappear. The grave was empty few days later. Even Jesus’ enemies had to acknowledge this. They couldn’t produce a body.
3. Hundreds of people claimed to see him. The disciples claimed they saw him. Paul claimed to have seen him. 500 people at one time claimed to have saw him, and group hallucinations don’t happen. They all claimed to see the same person, Jesus resurrected from the dead. That’s what Paul was listing in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, the people who saw Jesus after he rose from the dead.4. The disciples transformed from cowards to courageous followers willing to die for their claims about the resurrection. For me the most convincing proof of Jesus’ resurrection. If you look at their lives before the resurrection, they were cowards, even with Jesus in their midst. Afterwards, they were so convinced of the resurrection that they were willing to risk their lives for it, and many of them did in fact die for their belief in the resurrection.
To me, it just doesn’t make logical sense for a bunch of cowards to suddenly flip a switch and be willing to lose their lives for something they knew was a lie. If they knew the resurrection of Jesus was a lie, why not just give it up? They had a good run while Jesus was on earth. People don’t die for something they know is a lie. We know that about human nature. These disciples were absolutely convinced that Jesus rose from the dead, and they were willing to lose their lives for it.
If you look at it with an open mind, I believe the easiest explanation to believe is that Jesus really did rise from the dead.
QUESTION: What other steps would you add to build a case for the resurrection of Jesus?