Yes, He did. It is the core of our faith. Jesus was crucified and His dead body was buried on a Friday. Two days later, on Easter Sunday (probably April 7, AD30) a group of women went to His tomb. Angels appeared to them, and said: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:5-6). In the days and weeks after that, the risen Jesus appeared numerous times to the women, to His disciples, to His brother James, and once even to five hundred people at one time (Luke 24 and 1 Corinthians 15). After 40 days He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:4-14)
How do we know this is history and not a myth? There are several strong reasons for that.
1. The empty tomb
Within two months of the crucifixion, the disciples proclaimed in Jerusalem that Jesus had risen from the dead. Nobody could say ‘you are talking nonsense, here is His grave’, because the tomb was empty.
2. The faith of the disciples
When Jesus died, they were a sorry bunch without hope (Mark 16:10). Just weeks later, the disciples were so strongly convinced that Jesus rose from the dead, that they went all over the world to proclaim it. They paid for their conviction with their lives. Probably 11 of the 12 apostles died as a martyr. They had seen and talked to the risen Jesus.
3. The testimony of the women
All the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John mention women as the first ones to see the risen Jesus. This would never happen in a made-up story, as the testimony of women was not considered trustworthy in the ancient world. But this is the way it happened, so this is the way the Bible reports it.
4. The conversion of James
The gospels say that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him (John 7:5). The risen Jesus appeared to His brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7). James came to faith in Jesus, and became a leader of the church (Acts 15; Galatians 1:19). A skeptic turned into a believer. The reason was: he saw that Jesus, who had been dead, was alive again.
5. Ancient testimony
Paul gives us a creed (=official statement of shared beliefs) of the early church in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 about the resurrection of Jesus:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
He wrote this 24 years after the resurrection. But he says he ‘received’ that, so heard it from others. He must have received this before he started preaching, which was about 5 years after the resurrection. By then it was already a creed, so the creed must have originated within one to three years after the resurrection! The resurrection is not a story made up years after the life of Jesus, but was the core of faith immediately after His lifetime.
6. Modern testimony
All over the world, people tell that Jesus has changed their lives after they believed in him. Because Jesus is resurrected from the dead, He is alive today. He can work in your life as well. Let him be Lord of your life, and you are on the road to eternal happiness.
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