1.Martyrdom of 11 apostles. Judas committed suicide and is obviously not part of this evidence.
First, when Jesus was taken to be crucified, all His apostles scattered for fear; including Peter who denied him, and Thomas, who lost faith. The second fact is all eleven of the apostles ultimately suffered excruciating deaths at the hands of evil men. The question is what happened between these two facts that turned the apostles from fearful to fearless? Answer: After Jesus death, He appeared to every one of the 11 men! In other words, no man dies for a lie! Or, men only die for what they believe to be true. Or, the apostles changed because their truth changed!
For example, when Peter was being prepared to be crucified upside down, don’t you think the very apostle who denied Jesus three times, would have certainly denied Him again, had the resurrected Christ not physically appeared to him? Or, take Bartholomew who was skinned alive before he was beheaded, would have reneged to save himself had he known Jesus’ resurrection was a lie? If Jesus had not appeared to all eleven apostles, who left Jerusalem to minister ‘alone’ from India to Africa, would have all been able to hold to their faith—without ‘one’ exception—including excruciating deaths—if they had not actually experienced the risen Christ?!?!
2.The existence of Church. The city of Jerusalem was full of people who hated Jesus, the apostles, and Christianity. If the body of Jesus would have been produced, it would have killed Christianity in the cradle!
3.James the brother of Jesus. John 7:5 says, Jesus family rejected Him. To be candid, this is really not too hard to believe; how would you react if your brother claimed to be God? In Mark 3:20-21, the Bible declares Jesus family tried to stop Him believing He was insane. And, in John 19:26, while on the cross, Jesus committed Mary, His mother, to the apostle John rather than His family. Why? His family could not be trusted, because they rejected Him.
On the contrary, later James became a pillar of the church(Gal2:9); he took leadership at the council at Jerusalem (Acts15:13-19); it is believed he became the pastor of the church at Jerusalem! He even suffered a martyr’s death! What happened? The resurrected Christ appeared to him(1Cor15:7)!
4.Saul of Tarsus. The Bible declares Saul (Paul): 1.breathed threats and murder against the church(Acts9:1); 2.persecuted Christians to death(Acts22:4); 3.he made Christians blaspheme(Acts26:10-11). Later on however, for Christ’s sake, on five occasions, Paul endured 40 stripes minus one! He was stoned; ship-wreaked; beaten with rods; frequently thrown in prison; yet still wrote 2/3 of the New Testament; and was ultimately martyred! What happened? How did Paul move from murderer to saint? The resurrected Christ appeared to him(Acts9:3-11)!
5.Five hundred people. Over 500 people--at once--saw Jesus alive after the crucifixion (1Cor15:6)
Moving forward, what if, you may be thinking, “I reject the Bible?” Thank-you for your question!
First, to “reject the Bible” in this context, means you reject its’ accuracy as an historical document. The one who rejects the Bible like this has a major problem! Using the scientific method to determine the reliability of historical documents, the New Testament is--by a wide margin—the most reliable historical document in human history! For example, there are over 13,000 manuscript copies of portions of the NT!* As a comparison, allow me to give you just three unquestioned historical documents:
i.Caesar’s works- written in 100-44B.C.; we have 10 surviving copies.
ii.Plato’s Tetralogies- written between 427-347B.C.; we have 7 surviving copies.
iii.Tacitus Annals – written 100AD.; we have 20 surviving copies.**
In other words, if you reject the Bible’s historicity, how can you rationally accept the historicity of any historical document!
Non-Biblical documents referring to the resurrection of Jesus:
5.The Nazareth Inscription (40AD). In 40AD, just 7 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Roman authorities created a law, which was punishable by death stating, no one can move a body from its tomb for wicked intent. Does this not refer to grave robbing, a common crime of that day? NO! Grave robbers steal valuables from tombs—not dead bodies! Incredibly, the Nazareth Inscription was so specific, it even mentioned “sepulcher-sealing stones”.
Does this sound familiar? Of course! To the honest person, it sounds like the death of Jesus was the cause of this law! How so? Because the Christians were proclaiming the resurrection everywhere, riots began springing-up; take for example, Acts17:5,6. Therefore, in order to keep law and order, the Romans created a law specifically prohibiting “anyone from moving a body from its tomb for wicked intent.”
The reason the Romans used the term “wicked intent” is two-fold: 1.The Roman and Jewish authorities accused the apostles of stealing the body of Jesus, and declaring Him alive; 2.Jesus was called a Sorcerer(Mat12:24) by the Jews and unbelieving Romans for His miracles.
6. Flavius Josephus (37/38–97), Jewish historian.
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats.… He was [the] Christ … he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.” [Antiquities 18:3]
7.The Shroud of Turin. The woven burial cloth found in Jesus tomb. Read here and here.
In conclusion, in my opinion, the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead is the greatest evidence:
ii.The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God and Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ is that God.
iii.All other Gods are false (Ps96:5)
iv.For the above reasons, the resurrected Christ said, I am the
way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me. -Jn14:6
No better time than now to give your life to Jesus! Pray this simple prayer:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation -Romans 10:9,10!
* This does not include thousands of references of historical figures who quote the NT in their works! The entire Bible--from Old to New Testaments--can be reproduced from quotes in the works of early Christian writers!
**Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell
We don’t remain good if we don’t always strive to become better. GOTTFRIED KELLER (1819–1890) Writer
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