Within our culture there is embedded a full-scale belief that if something can be scientifically proven then it is worth believing. Proponents of this belief are often heard quoting “the experts” who apparently have done all that testing for you. At the same time, and often in conflict with this mode of operation, is the belief that one's experiences also offer a valid way of gauging whether or not something is true. In this form of belief no testing, no empirical evidence gathered through observation or experiments is necessary. If you feel it, think it or like the idea, then you can believe it. The problem with the “experts” is that they are often funded by companies who want the evidence to be interpreted in their favor. The problem with experiences is that they are inconsistent and our feelings about them can change. One may enjoy a walk in the rain on a hot summer’s day but no one enjoys a walk in the rain in the freezing cold of winter. The Truth- which both of these beliefs endeavors to confirm- appears to be an impossible thing to find and of all the impossible things to prove the Resurrection would certainly be a target to discredit through either of these methods. But the proof and truth of Christ's physical resurrection is crucial to Christianity. No other faith makes the claim that God rose from the dead.
Through the centuries many theories have been concocted to explain how Jesus did not physically rise from the dead. Some believe the resurrection to be part of a hoax and others believe it is purely the stuff fairy tales are made of. But when the Gospel accounts are read and history is examined, there is evidence and then some to prove the contrary. Take, for example, the passage which appears in Lk. 24:36-48. Jesus presents physical evidence of His suffering to the disciples and then invites them to touch the scars. "A spirit does not have flesh and bones," He states. And as if to drive the point home, Jesus proceeds to ask them for something to eat. A ghostly apparition would certainly not be interested in food. Each Gospel writer makes a point of noting that Jesus had a physical body after the resurrection (Mt. 28:9; Mk. 16:6-7; Lk. 24:39; Jn. 20:20) and Luke records in the Book of Acts that Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection "alive" for a period of 40 days (Acts 1:3) offering them "many convincing proofs and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God”- empirical evidence at its finest.
Not only did Jesus present Himself physically to the disciples, Scripture also records that there were other witnesses of Christ's bodily resurrection. The most notable testimony of this is Paul's list in 1 Cor. 15:5-9. Paul states that Jesus "appeared to Cephas (Peter) and the twelve" (v.5), more than 500 witnesses (v. 6), to James and all the "apostles" (v. 7), and finally to Paul himself (v.8). Many of these witnesses died for the wonderful news they proclaimed. The fact that they considered this point worth dying for argues from a practical perspective that Jesus physically rose from the dead. There are not too many people who will die for a myth.
Likewise, had the Resurrection been added to the Gospel at a later date to bolster support for the teachings of Jesus (like those experts who bend their findings to support their sponsors), there were enough people alive in the first century of church growth to contest its truth had it been a lie. And finally, the disciples themselves, by their transformation from doubting and clueless followers to outspoken champions of the faith also demonstrate that their faith in a risen Lord was not a whimsical fantasy, but a fully trustworthy and proven fact.
People had doubts about the Resurrection of Christ almost immediately after that great event. People still have doubts today. But the same confidence that propelled the early believers to take the Gospel to the "ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8) because they knew the Resurrection to be a provable fact, can be shared by us today, so that we too can boldly proclaim our faith in the Risen Lord (Col. 4:5-6; 1 Pet. 3:15). The Resurrection is not a myth!
Ann LeFevre, M. Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre