At the age of 18 I had been a serious follower of Jesus for a couple of years, but the one issue that kept nagging at me was, “How can a man rise from the dead? I know I am supposed to believe this as a Christian, but it seems impossible to me!”
I discovered I was not alone in thinking like this because the most common objection given to rejecting the Christian faith is its insistence that Jesus rose physically from the dead.
Looking for an answer to my question, I began reading Josh McDowell’s More than a Carpenter.
What an eye-opener this was! In making his case for the resurrection, McDowell pointed out important facts such as:
- The claim Jesus rose is built on eye-witness testimony, with over 500 people stating they saw Jesus alive and in person, after He had died. You cannot simply dismiss that many witnesses by simply claiming they were all unreliable or hallucinating.
- The Apostles risked their lives for this claim. Most of them died martyrs’ deaths, with John dying in exile, imprisoned for his faith. Why? Because each of them stuck resolutely to their belief that Jesus had risen from the dead.
- How do you explain the Apostle Paul? He relentlessly persecuted Christians and stood by approvingly as Stephen was executed, but just a short while later he became a Christian and in time, the greatest missionary the church has ever seen. Only an encounter with the risen Jesus can explain such a turnaround in his life!
By the time I finished the book, my doubts had been answered. When you weigh up all the evidence thoughtfully, it tips heavily in favour of Jesus as having risen from the dead.
More importantly, my new – found conviction produced hope in me – my faith was built on a solid foundation and God had really raised Jesus from the dead.
Over 40 years later I still believe this to be true.
What do you believe…?