Resurrection: Fact or Fiction, Part 1
Easter is well and truly on our doorstep and preparations in churches across the world are underway for larger crowds, visitors and extra services. For many, Easter eggs, chocolate and family time play a huge role in what is now a national holiday for a big chunk of the world.
But why is Easter such a big deal? Is it just a holiday? Is it just a religious tradition? Is it both? The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians said these words: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (v14, 17).
If you think about it, Paul is effectively saying that Christianity rests upon the historical reality that Christ has been raised from the dead. If it was a myth, a fable or parable, it’s meaningless. What matters is that it either happened or it didn’t, and if it it didn’t then our faith is meaningless, but if it did, our faith is everything.
And so over the next few weeks leading up to Easter, I hope to show the significant historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus as an encouragement to every Christian this Easter: we are not celebrating a doctrine or a tradition, we are celebrating a real event in history. And not only an event, but the event around which all history revolves. And maybe there are skeptics reading, I hope that you’ll read with an open mind, leaving any pre-suppositions at the door. Let’s allow the evidence to speak for itself.
We’ll spend next week looking at the historical evidence for Jesus’ actual existence, and also for his death and burial. The week after will be the evidence for the empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus after his death. Then we’ll look at the origin of the disciples’ belief as evidence for the resurrection, and then we’ll finally draw our conclusions from all the evidence. At the end of it all, I’ll post some links to resources for further reading and investigation if you want to do more yourself.