Certain legal minds have studied the case of Christ’s resurrection and concluded that an honest jury would be forced to conclude that Jesus really did rise from the dead. It is with this in mind that I want to present seven evidences for this resurrection. I wouldn’t call this an exhaustive list, but I do believe it’s a good one.
Evidence #1: The actions of the Roman soldiers who guarded Christ’s tomb: Scholars say there could have been as many as sixteen soldiers in the guard that was assigned to Christ’s tomb. Roman soldiers were the best soldiers in the world. They were highly trained and incredibly disciplined. They feared nothing except the penalty that would befall them if they were negligent in their duty. And yet, on the morning of the resurrection, that group of Roman soldiers shook with fear (Matthew 28:4), fainted (Matthew 28:4), and abandoned their posts (Matthew 28:11). Roman soldiers simply didn’t act this way. Those soldiers even had to be bribed to say that Christ’s disciples had stolen His body (Matthew 28:11-15).
Evidence #2: The tomb’s broken seal: The Bible says that Christ’s tomb was “sealed” (Matthew 27:66). A Roman seal of this sort wasn’t impressive in appearance. It was basically just two globs of wax and a cord. One glob was placed upon the circular door to the tomb. The other glob was placed upon the tomb itself. One end of the cord was fastened into the first glob, and the other end was fastened into the second. It’s likely that a signet ring was used to make an impression in the wax. So what was it that made such a seal so intimidating? It was the fact that the seal carried with it the authority of the Roman government. Anyone who broke such a seal was crucified upside down. Because of this, no one would have dared break that seal on Christ’s tomb. It was broken, though.
Evidence #3: The stone door was rolled away: Jesus was buried in a very expensive tomb. It had been constructed for Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man who had become a follower of Christ (Matthew 27:57-60). The tomb was a small cave that had been cut out of the rock. Just in front of the tomb’s opening was a trench. In this trench was a massive circular stone that served as the door to the tomb. This stone weighed over a ton. According to an ancient note that has been discovered, it took more than twenty men to move the stone. Remarkably, however, John used the Greek word airo to describe what happened to that stone (John 20:1). This specific word describes much more than the stone being merely rolled back in the trench. It indicates that the stone was actually picked up and moved quite a distance. How could this be? The Bible says that an angel descended from heaven, rolled the stone away, and sat down on it (Matthew 28:1-2). This angel is what scared those Roman soldiers to the point of passing out.
Evidence #4: Jesus appeared alive to hundreds of witnesses: A handful of devout women saw the risen Savior that resurrection morning (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10; John 20:11-18). Cleopas and another unnamed follower saw Him later that same day (Luke 24:13-32). Peter saw Him as did the other ten disciples (1 Cor. 15:5; John 20:19-29). Over five hundred people saw Him at once (1 Cor. 15:6). Finally, He was seen by His earthly half-brother James (1 Cor. 15:7) and Paul (1 Cor. 15:8). Imagine a trial in which over five hundred reputable people each took the witness stand and said, “I know that Jesus arose from the dead because I saw Him in His resurrected, glorified body.” Talk about compelling evidence!
Evidence #5: The coming of the Holy Spirit: Before Jesus was crucified He said to His disciples, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (God the Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). Later, in Acts 2:1-13, the Holy Spirit’s coming is described in detail. Obviously, Jesus had to resurrect and ascend back to heaven in order to keep His promise to send the Holy Spirit.
Evidence #6: The change in the chosen twelve: Immediately following Christ’s crucifixion the chosen twelve, which was eleven after Judas’ suicide (Matthew 27:5), went into hiding. They must have assumed that the same authorities who had arrested Jesus and killed Him would be coming for them next. But something happened that emboldened and empowered those eleven men to “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Something happened that caused them to spend the rest of their lives preaching that Jesus had arisen from the dead. Something happened that caused most of them to die martyrs’ deaths rather than deny that resurrection. What was it? It was their experience with the risen Christ. The change that came over them cannot be explained any other way. They knew that Jesus was alive! By the way, think about this: Those men began their proclaiming of Christ’s resurrection in Jerusalem of all places. That was the last place they would have begun if they knew it was all a lie. It would have been too easy for the city’s citizens to go to Christ’s tomb and refute the lie.
Evidence #7: The fact that Christ’s body was never discovered: Although a popular tourist site is strongly considered to be the tomb of Christ, there is still some debate about the actual location. However, the people of Christ’s day knew exactly where He was buried. It was common knowledge. Anybody could pay a visit to the tomb and check for a body. Needless to say, the Roman officials and the Jewish religious leaders went and checked. But no body was ever recovered. You see, all that was required to stamp out the fledgling religion of Christianity was a corpse. One was never found, though. This in itself is incredibly strong evidence that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.
Well, there they are, my seven evidences for Christ’s resurrection. As long as I’m on the subject, though, let me give you one more for free: Jesus has changed my life. I’m like the fellow who said, “I know Jesus is alive. I talked to Him this morning.” I do more than talk with Him each morning; I walk with Him each day. He has made me a new creation. Old things have passed away. All things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17). That couldn’t have happened if death had held Him. He’s alive I tell you. His tomb is empty. You can dispute His resurrection if you want, but the evidence is against you.