This Sunday, Christian faithful around the world will mark the pivotal event of world history: the resurrection of Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago after a brutal crucifixion.
As the growth of moral relativism in America has led to conclusions that either no religion is true or all religions are equally valid, the historical resurrection of Jesus from death separates the God of Christianity from every other false god and validates both the Man Jesus Christ and His message.
The resurrection is not simply a nice bedtime story told and retold to make us feel good about faith. Just as other historical events of far less significance have evidence to support them, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is well documented by historical evidence, not the least of which is eyewitness accounts.
Many religions have an oral tradition of events and details that have been passed down from generation to generation before they were ever recorded in writing. But in the case of the resurrection, the events of Christ’s ministry, death and resurrection were documented relatively soon after they occurred. The Gospels of Scripture are written accounts from eyewitnesses, and they provide the primary understanding of Christ’s time on earth, his death and his resurrection.
Additionally, apart from Scripture, other historical sources corroborate many of the major points of the resurrection. For example, even hostile testimonies from Jewish and Roman sources affirmed that Christ’s body was no longer in the tomb.
Beyond this evidence, one of the most convincing arguments for the veracity of the resurrection is that Jesus was seen by hundreds of witnesses, and the result was the literal transformation of their lives, to the point that even cowardly disciples turned into passionate messengers of the Gospel. And nothing they experienced subsequent to seeing the resurrected Christ—prison, persecution, even imminent death—persuaded them to deny that they had seen Jesus alive.
Today’s skeptics are often ready to believe the truth of historical events that have far less evidence than the resurrection. But the truth for all who would choose to believe in the risen Savior is that our faith is not simply a fairytale based on folklore but a belief in the person of Jesus Christ and in his victory over death. This is what separates Jesus from everyone else: he has the power to conquer death. This is what we celebrate on Easter.
Alex McFarland is a Christian apologist and evangelist and host of the annual Truth for a New Generation apologetics conference. He has written 17 books, and also serves as Director of the Center for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University, located in South Carolina. www.alexmcfarland.com www.truthforanewgeneration.com