Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead is one of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel.

If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain ( 1 Cor. 15:14). The whole of the New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On the day of Pentecost, Peter argued the necessity of Christ's resurrection from the prediction in Psalm 16 ( Acts 2:24-28). In his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly prophecied his resurrection ( Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John 2:19-22).

The evangelists give accounts of the facts connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their public teaching insist upon it.

How many times did Jesus appear after his death and resurrection?

Eleven different appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament

It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He conversed with them face to face. They touched him ( Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them ( Luke 24:42,43; John 21:12,13).

  • In addition to the above, mention might be made of Christ's manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Savior ( Acts 9:3-9, 17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1).
  • It is implied in the words of Luke ( Acts 1:3) that there may have been other appearances of which we have no record.

Who performed the resurrection?

The resurrection is spoken of as the act of all three persons of the Trinity…

Why is the resurrection important? The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ's release from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father's acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death and the grave for all his followers.

The importance of Christ's resurrection will be seen when we consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest that his sacrifice was accepted. [SEE: The SIX SKEPTICAL OBJECTIONS most frequently leveled by critics of Christ's resurrection]

Our justification was secured by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from the dead ( Rom. 4:25).

His resurrection is a proof that he made a full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection of all believers ( Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:47-49; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.

It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it authenticated all his claims ( John 2:19; 10:17).

"If Christ did not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and order, are proved to be chimeras. 'But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.' Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured" (Hodge).

What about claims that Jesus did not rise from the dead?

With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were bribed ( Matt. 28:12-14) to circulate concerning Christ's resurrection, "his disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept," Matthew Henry in his "Commentary," under John 20:1-10, fittingly remarks,

"The grave-clothes in which Christ had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for an evidence that his body was not 'stolen away while men slept.' Robbers of tombs have been known to take away 'the clothes' and leave the body; but none ever took away 'the body' and left the clothes, especially when they were 'fine linen' and new ( Mark 15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be supposed they would find leisure to 'fold up the linen.'"

ANSWERS TO SIX SKEPTICAL OBJECTIONS most frequently leveled by critics of Christ's resurrection (Some say that Christ's resurrection was a myth, not history. Is this possible?) See:

The Evidence For Christ's Resurrection

  • Its often said that the validity of Christianity rests upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But how do we know Jesus rose from the dead?
  • As Paul noted in 1 Corinthians 15:14, if Christ did not rise from the dead then our preaching and our faith are useless. We must therefore be prepared to demonstrate that Christ’s resurrection was an event that occurred in space and time that it was in fact historical, and not mythological (cf. 2 Pet. 1:16). The importance of this event cannot be minimized as Jesus Himself proclaimed that His resurrection would prove His power over death, and thus His deity (John 2:18-22).
  • Of the variety of evidence we have available, none is more compelling than the fact that over five hundred individuals saw Jesus (1 Cor. 15:6) during a 40-day period following His death and burial (Acts 1:3). In fact, the Apostles appealed to Christ’s resurrection as proof for the truth of the gospel (Acts 17:18, 31). The historical evidence for the resurrection is so compelling that the famed Harvard law professor, Simon Greenleaf, concluded that any cross-examination of the eyewitness testimonies recorded in Scripture will result in an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth.
  • And even as we consider alternative explanations, reason drives us back to the conclusion that Christ rose from the dead. We know that the Romans had no intentions of stealing Christ’s body because the last thing they wanted was any turmoil that was sure to follow such an event. The Jewish religious leaders would also have no motive in stealing the body since that would only stir up the very movement they tried to crush. And certainly, the disciples could not have stolen the body; after all, would anyone really suffer and die for a cause that they knew to be a lie? It is conceivable that someone may die for the truth, but inconceivable that hundreds of his followers would, in fact, be willing to die for what they knew to be a lie.
  • All this leads us to only one possibility that Jesus indeed rose from the dead, and lives to be our Lord and our Savior (cf. Rev. 1:18)!

On the evidence for Christ’s resurrection, that’s the CRI Perspective. I'm Hank Hanegraaff.

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