John 11:25, John 20:11-18, Matthew 28:5-10, Luke 24:13-31, John 20:24-29, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Acts 9:3-6
Summary: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the faith and the greatest event in the story of civilization. The proofs from Scripture and the lives changed by it cannot be ignored or denied.
Note: These verses and the order of events are adapted from THE OPEN BIBLE (KJV) (c) 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.
When the Lord Jesus told Martha at the tomb of Lazarus, “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25), He proved it by bringing His friend and her brother back from the dead, doing so in public and demonstrating that He was who He claimed to be – God Incarnate. Jesus had also raised others from the dead as a demonstration of His power and authority (Matthew 9:23-26; Mark 5:35-43; Luke 7:11-17, 8:49-56). Scripture tells of others who had been brought back to life by the power of God, both in the Old as well as the New Testament (1 Kings 17:22; 2 Kings 4:35; 13:21; Matthew 27:52; Acts 9:40).
It is, however, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that became the doctrine of every apostle, the faith of every authentic follower of Christ, the source of the martyr’s courage, the theme of all true preaching (2 Timothy 4:1-5), and the power behind every evangelist who devotes himself to the work of the LORD and the fruit thereof.
The historian and physician, Luke, the author of the third Gospel and the book of Acts, wrote that there were many “infallible proofs” of His resurrection (Acts 1:3), given by eyewitnesses and written by the prophets, kings, and statesmen of Israel’s past found in the Old Testament.
1) The Resurrection was foretold in the psalms of David (Psalms 16:10, 11; Acts 13:34, 35).
2) The Resurrection is the foundation of the Gospel (Isaiah 53:10-12; 1 Corinthians 15:1, 4).
3) The Resurrection was announced by Jesus Himself (Mark 9:9-10; John 2:19-22).
4) The Resurrection was proclaimed by the apostles (Acts 2:32, 3:15).
5) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was supplied by the power of the entirety of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). John 10:18, Acts 2:24, and Romans 8:11 are some of the verses which attest to this occurring.
The eyewitnesses of the Resurrection were numerous and accounted for within the Gospels and the letters to the churches written by the apostles and the half-brothers of the LORD, James and Jude.
1) Mary Magdalene was the first of His followers to see Him after His resurrection (John 20:11-18).
2) He appeared to the women who were returning to the tomb with the intent of anointing the body with burial spices (Matthew 28:5-10).
3) He appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34).
4) He appeared to the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31).
5) He appeared to His disciples, but Thomas was not present (Luke 24:36-43).
6) He again appeared to His disciples, with Thomas present, who uttered the great words of faith and belief (John 20: 24-29).
7) He was seen by the seven apostles who had gone fishing on the Sea of Tiberius (John 21:1-23).
8) He appeared to over five hundred brethren at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6). According to Mosaic Law, it only took two or more witnesses to validate either guilt or innocence (Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:5; 1 Timothy 5:19).
9) He was seen by His half-brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7). The Gospels record that none of His brothers or sisters believed in Him until after He was raised from the dead (John 7:5).
10) He was seen again by the eleven apostles (Judas had killed himself beforehand) – Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:3-12.
11) He was seen by the first martyr, Stephen (Acts 7:55).
12) He revealed Himself to Paul on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8).
What about sources outside of the Bible? Do they verify what has been written about the life and work of Jesus, in particular His death and resurrection? In his book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Christian apologist Dr. Frank Turek writes the following:
“Gary Habermas has completed the most comprehensive investigation to date on what scholars believe about the Resurrection. Habermas collected more than 1,400 of the most critically scholarly works on the Resurrection written from 1975 to 2003. In his book, The Risen Jesus and Future Hope, Habermas reports that virtually all scholars from across the theological spectrum – from ultra-liberals to Bible-thumping conservatives – agree that the following points concerning Jesus and Christianity are actual historical facts:
1) Jesus died by Roman crucifixion.
2) He was buried, most likely in a private tomb.
3) Soon afterward, the disciples were discouraged, bereaved, and despondent, having lost hope.
4) Jesus’ tomb was found empty shortly after His internment.
5) The disciples had experiences that they believed were actual appearances of the risen Jesus.
6) Due to these experiences, the disciples’ lives were thoroughly transformed, willing to even die for their belief.
7) The proclamation of the Resurrection took place very early, from the beginning of church history.
8) The disciples’ public testimony and preaching of the Resurrection took place in the city of Jerusalem, where Jesus had been crucified and buried shortly before.
9) The Gospel message centered on the preaching of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
10) Sunday was the primary day for gathering and worshiping.
11) James, the brother of Jesus and an open skeptic before this time, was converted when he believed that he had seen the risen Jesus.
12) Just a few years later, Saul of Tarsus (Paul) became a Christian believer due to an experience in which he also believed he had seen the risen Jesus.”
(Source: Geisler, Norman, and Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Wheaton, Ill., Crossway, 2004, pp.299-300).
Here are a few other reliable sources to check out:
Dr. Turek’s site: www.crossexamined.org
Warner Wallace: www.coldcasechristianity.com
Rev. Billy Crone: www.getalifemedia1.com
Associates for Biblical Research: www.biblearchaeology.org
There are other sites and ministries as well that have devoted themselves to defending the credibility of the Bible and the Christian faith. Here’s the main takeaway: for over two thousand years, lives have been transformed and renewed by the fact that Jesus is Lord, and He has risen from the dead. If you are unsure about who Jesus is and what the deal is about the free gift of salvation He offers, all you have to do is ask Him (Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:6; Romans 10:9-10). He’s alive, and He is coming back soon. I want you to be ready when that day arrives.
My book The Scope of Biblical Prophecy is now available at: www.parsonsporch.com. It is a general look at the role and importance of Bible prophecy, the importance of correct interpretation of the Scriptures, the varied ways of how the last days events are to occur, and that in the end, Jesus wins.
Donald was born and reared in the authentic “Cajun Country” of southern Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education/ Biblical Studies, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. In Christian Education, 1994), and Andersonville Baptist Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, Biblical Exposition, 2000). He has been in the Gospel ministry since 1986, serving as an evangelist, interim and supply pastor, hospital and rescue mission chaplain, high school and college teacher, and pastor in churches in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
In 2018, he began to devote his time to the rich field of internet and social media evangelism and outreach. In 2021 he became a member of the Oklahoma Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, using his skills as a writer to contribute articles and sermons to websites such as Rapture Ready, Sermon Central, and Inspirational Christian Blogs. He also writes Bible studies and curricula for churches in southeast and central Asia and Africa, the locations of which are anonymous. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries, information, and speaking/preaching engagements. A copy of his resume is also available upon request.