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Dear Father Paul: Last week Christians all over the world celebrated Easter ...Christ’s resurrection from the dead. As a Christian, I accept Jesus’ resurrection by faith, but a number of my friends do not. Is there any real “proof” that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead?

— Bradley

Dear Bradley: Indeed there is ... in fact, there is more proof of Jesus’ resurrection than there is for most other great events in human history. There is nothing wrong with your friends saying “prove it.” If Jesus did, in fact, die on a cross then be resurrected three days later it means that he is who he claimed to be, the Son of God, and we owe him our worship and our lifelong devotion. If he did not, then he was a fake, a liar a phoney and we owe him nothing.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the central tenant of the Christian faith. His resurrection, not his teachings or even his miracles, is the reason why Christianity spread over much of the known world within a short time. Many historians have called the resurrection of Jesus the greatest event in human history. “A boulder crashing into a pond,” said one, “its ever widening circle of waves still having a momentous effect 2,000 years later.”

No serious historian would ever claim that Jesus never lived. Or that he was not a great teacher, prophet and miracle worker, ot that he was not crucified; there is just too much historical evidence to the contrary. But was he in fact resurrected? Did he rise from the dead? What’s the proof?

Most doubtors and skeptics claim either that Jesus was never really dead, or, if dead, that he was not really resurrected, that something else happened. Or they claim that if he did indeed die on the cross, then either the Roman or Jewish authorities removed and hid the body or the disciples stole the body or finally, that the “so called witnesses” were simply “hallucinating.” Let’s look briefly at each of these.

Those who profess the “Jesus wasn’t really dead view” say that Jesus was in some kind of “swoon” or coma when he was taken down from the cross. The problem with this view is that the whole purpose of crucifixion was to execute (kill) the victem. Crucifixion wasn’t something anyone ever walked away from alive! The person died a slow and painful death by asphyxiation. In Jesus’ case he was flogged and beaten to within an inch of his life before he was even nailed to the cross.

A written account in the Bible from an eyewitness to Jesus’ execution, the apostle John, says that Jesus was already dead when the soldiers came to break both his legs so that he couldn’t push himself up for breaths of air (John 19: 32-33). It is noted in the Bible also that Jesus was stabbed in his side with a spear and that all of his blood ran out onto the ground.

Finally, if we believe that he was placed in the tomb while still alive, we have to also believe that he could then survive in the tomb for three days with no food, water or medical attention, that he was then strong enough to roll away the huge stone weighing several tons that sealed the tomb, that upon leaving the tomb he fought and defeated several heavily armed Roman soldiers sent to guard the tomb and finally, that he later walked a long way to Emmaus with two disciples (as recorded in the Bible) showing no outward signs of his ordeal. Not very likely.

The problem with either the Romans or the Jewish officials stealing and hiding Jesus’ body is that it would have been very easy for them to simply produce the body as proof that he was still dead when Jesus’ disciples later began to claim that he’d been resurrected and was alive. They didn’t produce the body because there was no body!

The claim that Jesus’ disciples stole and hid the body doesn’t hold water either, because later when they all faced execution themselves for their faith, it would have been easy for them to renounce their resurrection claims and produce Jesus’ body. After all, no one is stupid enough to die to support a phony claim. Not one of them ever recanted.

Finally, in my opinion, the most powerful “proof” of Jesus’ resurrection is the fact that we have written, eye-witness accounts from six men who were either present at his execution or met and talked with him after his resurrection ... or both. These accounts are in the Bible and are from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul and Peter. It is important to note that a court of law only requires two eye-witnesses to establish fact. These men record eleven separate appearances of a risen Jesus over a period of 40 days. In I Corinthians 15: 6 the apostle Paul records Jesus’ appearance to over 500 disciples at one time. Wow! Can anybody conclude that all these appearances of the risen Jesus were due to hallucinations?

No Bradley, I believe that any fair person with an open mind who looks at the evidence (the proof) would conclude, as have over 1.5 billion people alive today, that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead and that he is indeed the Son of God.

Got a question for the column? Email it to me at or call me at 678-457-3050.

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