The resurrection of Jesus Christ has to be the most important event in human history or the greatest cover up of all time! Why would Jesus' disciples risk extreme persecution, and the most violent forms of death not to deny the one they denied earlier when he was crucified? The Bible documents accounts of many people having seen the resurrected Jesus, over 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6). Even secular writers acknowledge the death of Jesus. What happened to the missing body that was guarded so closely by Roman soldiers? With no resurrection, Christianity would most likely have died out quickly, but authenticiy was provided by the power of God in an exceptional way.
Dr. Simon Greenleaf, the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, wrote the much circulated and highly regarded legal volume entitled, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, considered to be the greatest legal volume ever written. Initially, Dr. Greenleaf believed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax. So much so that he resolved to expose it as such conclusively. After a thorough examination of the evidence for the resurrection, Dr. Greenleaf concluded that the biblical account was absolutely true. Here are some excerpts from his book "An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice" :
"it was impossible that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus Christ actually risen from the dead, . . ."
Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice.
Moreover, Greenleaf concluded that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history!
Having become fully convinced by the evidence, Greenleaf committed his life to Jesus Christ!
Were the disciples colluding to spread Christianity while Jesus was being tortured and crucified. Not according to the gospels!
Mark 14:50, says, "And they all forsook him, and fled". The apostle Peter "began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak." (Mark 14:71)
Three times Peter denied the Lord vehemently stating falsely "I know not this man".
Something profound happened to change these men.
In Acts 2 Peter stated :"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are his witnesses." (Acts 2: 32 KJV)
The Roman authorities would have been desperate to demonstrate that Jesus had died but parading his body for all to see in order to keep their political stronghold intact and prevent a Jewish uprising.
Consider Saul of Tarsus who would become Paul, writer of much of The New Testament. He wasn't neutral about Christianity! He was active in putting Christian in prison and even to death!
"As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison." (Acts 8:3) What happened to change his mind completely?
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest". (Acts 9:3-5)
Paul gave his life to Jesus Christ, and the spread of the gospel, and was ultimately martyred in Rome in 67 A.D. Paul not only had a profound supernatural encounter, but would have had access to historical records, and EYEWITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTED JESUS!
The gospel accounts should not be dismissed either as an accurate historical record. Grant Jeffrey in his book "Jesus the great debate" makes a very telling point when he says "it would be almost impossible to distribute the Gospel accounts to thousands of people in Israel within three and a half decades of the events unless they were true accounts. If the Gospel records were untrue, many witnesses would have stood up and denied their accuracy. However, the records of the first century reveal that no one denied the facts about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In fact, all of these ancient historical records confirm the truth of the Gospels." I discuss the merits of the gospel accounts as accurate historical documentation in the section on this website that provides evidence for the existence of Jesus.
Jesus Christ died, rose again, and will come back to Earth. He demonstrated that none of us have to experience eternal death seperated from God in an actual place called Hell that atheists have experienced in near death encounters to come back as born again believers. The Bible tells us that we have all fallen short of the glory of God and have all broken at least some of His law contained in His commandments. We will all have to give an account for our lives. Are we secure in our eternal destiny? Jesus Christ demonstrated that He alone has the power over death for us. Today, you can resolve the single most important issue of life. What happens to me after death? Pray to give your life to Christ today. Don't wait for what could happen in an unpredictable future.