Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact #3

The Apostle Creed, dated to within 3 years of Jesus’ death, as quoted by Paul (see 1 Corinthians 15:5:6) says Jesus appeared alive to Peter, then to the Twelve, and then to the more than 500 followers of Jesus. The appearances to the disciples are multiply attested in all the four Gospels, plus 7 ancient sources which includes Polycarp who was a disciple of John and Clement of Rome who was a disciple of Peter. That the disciples believed that Jesus appeared to them alive is also seen in their sermons as recorded by Luke in the Book of Acts. For instance, Peter (a leader of the disciples) in his first recorded sermon said of Jesus: “God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death” (Acts 2:24). The disciples also understood the resurrection not to be spiritual but physical, and they understood that the appearance of Jesus to them was in bodily form.

Disciples’ belief in the resurrection of Jesus transformed their lives. They went from being doubters of Jesus’ messianic claims to being bold proclaimers of His resurrection. Peter, who had denied knowledge of Jesus and any association with Him (see Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-62 and John 18), was now a bold proclaimer of Jesus’ resurrection even when threatened with death (see Acts 2:14-41, Acts 4:1-21). If the disciples were fabricating the resurrection of Jesus, then they would have given up the lie when persecution broke out against them, yet we know that most of the disciples were killed for their belief in the resurrection of Jesus. Peter himself is said to have been crucified by Romans for his faith, while James the brother of John was killed with the sword. Although people’s willingness to die for their beliefs doesn’t mean their claims are true, what it does though is prove that they are sincere in their beliefs. Like Mike Licona usually say: “liars make poor martyrs”, as such there’s no evidence that the disciples were lying about Jesus’ apparent appearance to them.  

Bart D Ehrman confirmed this fact, he said “Why, then, did some of the disciples claim to see Jesus alive after his crucifixion? I don’t doubt at all that some disciples claimed this. We don’t have any of their written testimony, but Paul, writing about twenty-five years later, indicates that this is what they claimed, and I don’t think he is making it up. And he knew are least a couple of them, whom he met just three years after the event (Galatians 1:18-19)”.

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