If you’ve not yet read author Lee Strobel’s A Case for Christ, this might be a good time to download it onto your e-reader or check it out of the library. Strobel looks at the evidence in the four gospel accounts of Christ’s resurrection and deconstructs the events, the claims, and the lies, finishing his investigation with an undeniable verdict: Jesus is the one and only Son of God who died on the cross for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, and was ascended into heaven after promising he would return to us one day.
If you’re not able to get your hands on a copy of Strobel’s book, read the four New Testament Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—for all the evidence you need. I’ll summarize here what Strobel outlines in his book based on the truth found in the Gospels.
Strobel says everyone agrees on one thing regarding Christ’s death: The tomb was empty. He then sets out to prove the Resurrection. The Jewish leaders at the time also agreed the tomb was empty; but they began spreading a story that the disciples had taken the body away and hid it, even though, as Strobel puts it, they lacked both motive to do so and opportunity. All four Gospels agree that women discovered the empty tomb. Strobel says this is compelling evidence for the truth of the resurrection because in first-century Jewish culture the testimony of a woman was not considered reliable. In fact, if you read the Gospels, you will see that the disciples did not believe the women. Strobel raises this point to prove how counterintuitive it would have been for the disciples to plan a conspiracy in taking Jesus’ body. They would never have chosen women to be the ones who discovered that Jesus’ body was gone, says Strobel. They would have picked Peter or John or any man. Strobel points out, as a lawyer might in a courtroom, that women discovered the empty tomb because that’s exactly what happened.
Strobel goes on to point to the over 500 eyewitnesses who saw the resurrected Jesus. First Corinthians 15:3-9 is Paul’s account of the eye witnesses: “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.”
After Christ died, rose, and ascended into heaven, the disciples continued to preach the gospel of Jesus and, being Spirit-filled, perform miracles of healing. Strobel asks, as if to a jury, why would Jesus’ disciples be so willing to face the hostility of unbelievers and even death if they knew his death was a hoax? Strobel says nobody willingly and knowingly dies for a lie. They saw the empty tomb, they saw the resurrected Jesus, and they believed and spread the news because it was true.
And finally, Strobel argues in his book, A Case for Christ, that Jesus Christ is the only figure in the history of the world—“against all mathematical odds”—who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies to the letter and therefore became the fingerprint of the chosen Messiah.
The verdict is clear: Jesus is the one and only Son of God who died, rose as he promised and as was promised in the prophecies, and lives in heaven today.
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Ron DeBoer is a writer and educator living near Toronto, Ontario.