Evidence of The Resurrection
 

Key Evidence for The
Resurrection of Jesus Christ --

Changed Lives of The Disciples

 

Another evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is the changed lives of the disciples. How do you account for the fact that before the resurrection they were frightened men and were hiding away in fear of their lives? After the resurrection they preached everywhere for no earthly benefit -- only suffering and martyrdom. The early believers were beaten, stoned, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified for sharing a lie -- if the resurrection had not occurred. The ultimate martyrdom of thousands of believers is one of the strongest proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The explosive growth of the church is strong evidence that the resurrection actually happened!

Secular history reveals that many Christians died rather than deny the truth of the resurrection. But what about the apostles? Do we know how each one of them died?  There is historical evidence that has been passed down through church history about what happened to some of the apostles.

In Acts 12:2, we find the only recorded death of an apostle that's in the Bible. This disciple's name was James. He was killed by a sword in Jerusalem.

According to tradition, the apostle Peter was crucified upside down under Nero's rule. Peter requested that he be crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to be crucified in the same way that his master was crucified.

According to tradition, Matthew died from a sword wound as a martyr in Ethiopia.

John was the only apostle who did not die a martyr's death. But tradition tells us that he had been placed in a vat of boiling oil, but miraculously escaped death. Later he was banished to the island of Patmos at the age of around 90 where he became a slave laborer. It is there he received the call to write the book of Revelation. Later he was released and continued his ministry in what is now modern Turkey.

Although not officially an apostle, James the Just was the brother of Jesus. He led the Jerusalem church. Tradition tells us that he was thrown 100 feet down the south east pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem because of his faith in the resurrected Christ.

Tradition tells us that the apostle Andrew was crucified in Greece. First he was viciously whipped and then tied to an axe-shaped cross.  Surviving for two whole days before he died, Andrew faithfully preached to his murderers until the end.

History indicates that the apostle Thomas died in India from a spear wound.

As for the former enemy of Christianity, Saul of Tarsus, he became Paul -- the great missionary and also a martyr. History indicates that Nero tortured and beheaded him at Rome in A.D. 67.

Many of the martyred Christians, who were witnesses of the resurrection of Christ, died lonely deaths. If their story was a lie, wouldn't somebody have admitted it rather than be martyred? Certainly this is strong proof of the resurrection. They believed that Jesus is risen indeed! The empty tomb silently witnesses that fact.




The Burial of Christ

It was getting toward the end of the day on which Jesus was crucified. Now what was to be done with His body? As a crucified criminal He would not be entitled to an honorable burial.

But at this point, two rich and influential men stepped out of the shadows and made a public stand for Jesus.

One of them, Joseph of Arimathea, was a wealthy and respected leader among the Jews. He was known for his fair dealings and good character. This honorable man was waiting for the kingdom of God. Although a religious leader himself, Joseph had not agreed with the council's decision to crucify Jesus.

After it was certain that Jesus had died on the cross, Joseph went to Pilate and begged that he be given the body of Jesus, and the governor allowed him to take the corpse.

Another secret disciple joined Joseph that late afternoon and they buried Jesus together. This formerly timid follower was Nicodemus, who was also a religious leader. He had secretly interviewed Jesus at night -- probably so the other religious leaders wouldn't find out about it.

He brought with him about a 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes purchased with his own funds. The two men took the body of Jesus down from the cross and wrapped it in a linen cloth -- winding it round and round with the mixture of myrrh and spices according to the Jewish burial customs of that day.

Then Joseph and Nicodemus placed the body of Jesus in Joseph's own tomb which had been dug out of a rock near a garden. This was a new grave not far from where Jesus had been crucified.

Joseph rolled a large stone in front of the cave and then the two companions left.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus have gone down in history as true friends of Jesus of Nazareth. They risked their reputations to give a proper Jewish burial to a supposed common criminal.

There is often a high price for taking a public stand for Jesus today as well. Those who are truly redeemed will pay the price by God's grace. They will never regret it -- just as I'm sure Joseph and Nicodemus never regretted their public stand either.