Our world does not understand the hope that Easter brings because they do not grasp nor believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So they deny it, attempt to debunk it, and dismiss it. A few years ago Canadian filmmaker James Cameron filmed a documentary in an attempt to prove the resurrection didn’t happen.
Why do this? Because resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, without it our faith would be pointless as we would still be dead in our sins and transgressions.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. An if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised, (1 Corinthians 15:12-15, ESV).
James Cameron was not the first person to attempt to debunk the resurrection, people have attempted to do this since the very day the tomb was found empty. No one has found Jesus’ body. Cameron didn’t suddenly discovered Jesus’ tomb which eluded enemies of Christ for over 2000 years. Why has it eluded them? Because it is empty!
And while our belief in Christ’s death and resurrection takes faith, it is a reasonable faith. There is plenty of affirmative evidence! Lee Strobel provided the following points in his book The Case for Christ that can be considered:
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 is one of the earliest Christian creeds, which has been proven to be a reliable source of historical information about Jesus. It is implicit in this passage that the tomb was empty.
- The site of Jesus’ tomb was well known at the time of His death. How could a movement begin based on the statement that Jesus’ tomb was empty in the very city where He was known to have been buried.
- The Gospel of Mark’s passion narrative comes from an earlier source (language, grammar and style points to this), and there is evidence that it was written before A.D. 37 (4-7 years after His death, burial and resurrection) which is much too early for it to have been corrupted by legend.
- Mark’s account of the story of the empty tomb is simple, there isn’t any theological reflection.
- The unanimous testimony that the empty tomb was found by women – this would have been embarassing to the disciples (due to Jewish culture) and would have been covered up if it were legend.
- The earliest Jewish argument against the resurrection presupposes the historicity of the empty tomb. Nobody was claiming that the tomb still contained Jesus’ body.
He is risen! He is risen indeed! And we have evidence to back up that claim.