Acts 2:32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.” One at a time, each of Jesus’ disciples spoke of Jesus and the resurrection as eye witnesses. One at a time (except for John), they were put to death. If you knew a story were not true, if the body was stolen, would you continue to tell the lie if you would be killed for telling it?
2) The Roman soldiers story
Chief priests went to the governor, Pilate, and requested a guard on the tomb. Pilate put Jesus’ enemies in charge of the Roman guard. They sealed the stone with wax, to assure the tomb was not opened (Matthew 27:64-65). In Matthew 28:4, it says the guard, on the morning of the resurrection “shook with fear” and “became like dead men.” The guard reported back to chief priest what they saw. In Matthew 28:11, it says the priests bribed the soldiers to keep quiet and to lie about what they saw. The priests promised to speak to the governor if he received news of their dereliction of duty. If a Roman soldier fell asleep on duty, or failed in their duty, he and his entire company would be put to death.
In the 21st century, it is an insult for me to think that a woman’s word is less than that of a man. In the time of Jesus, a woman’s word, sad to say, was the same as a barking dog. It was a problem for the disciples to exclaim, as proof their story was true, that women came forward as the first witnesses. If the story was made up, the first to see Jesus would have been a man. In saying that the women came forward first (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:10, John 20:18), elevated the credibility of the story, because of the social status of the women.
4) His enemies
His enemies had the tomb sealed, because Jesus said he would rise from the grave (Matthew 27:64-65). They also tried to cover up the statement of the guards by bribing them and making amends with the governor (Matthew 28:11). They also did not produce a body. If Jesus body was stolen and they were able to produce the body, they would have put it in a wagon and showed the whole world.
After hearing the story of the resurrection, the Jewish teacher Gamaliel, an opponent of Jesus, compared the new movement to fly by night leaders saying in Acts 5:38-39, "And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God."
5) His death
Crucifixion was a serious business for the Romans. The guard pierced Jesus’ body with a spear, to make sure he was dead. Because the blood and water spilled out separately, the blood was no longer circulating (John 19:34). Governor Pilate verified Jesus’ death with the Centurion (Mark 15:44) before allowing Joseph of Arimathaea to take the body.
The life and crucifixion of Jesus is also mentioned in many non-Christian sources: the Babylonian Talmud, Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities, Lucian of Samosta, Tacitus , The Acts of Pilate (referenced by Justin Martyr).
Jesus lived and died.
Jesus walked the earth after the resurrection for 40 days. On at least 5 occurrences, Jesus appeared to 7 or more witnesses. 1 Corinthians 15:8 says that “He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once,” and emphasizes that at the time it was written, most of them were still alive to tell the tale.
In the Bible (Acts 2:32) the word “witness” was translated from the Greek word “martus,” which means “martyr.” Is your faith and witness for Jesus strong enough to die for? Have you given your life to Jesus?
7) Jesus said he would rise again
"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." See Psalms 16:10, Matthew 16:21, 20:19, 26:32, Mark 9:9, 14:28, John 2:19, Acts 26:22,23
Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius and Sathya Sai Baba all have tombs. I choose to follow a living savior.
Paul says (1 Corinthians 15:17) “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”
Pastor Jay Merritt