Did Jesus rise from the dead?

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Atheist Bertrand Russell wrote in 1925, “I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my own ego will survive.”1 Well, that’s cheerful. Russell clearly bordered on the morose, but we’ve all wondered, with perhaps more optimism, what will happen to us when we die.


Did Jesus rise from the dead?

Atheist Bertrand Russell wrote in 1925, “I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my own ego will survive.”1
Well, that’s cheerful. Russell clearly bordered on the morose, but
we’ve all wondered, with perhaps more optimism, what will happen to us
when we die.

If life after
death is not an option, then Russell is right; our bodies will rot and
nothing else of us will survive. No consciousness. No happiness. No
hope. And, several decades of existentialist window dressing aside,
what that really means is an accidental world with no ultimate meaning.

What
makes Jesus unique among religious leaders and among great leaders in
general, is his relationship with death. Leaders have met with all
manner of untimely deaths—assassination, self-inflicted death,
accidental death before the world was ready for them to go. But death
sought and found them nonetheless. What is not unique about Jesus is
that his enemies killed him; what is unprecedented, if the Gospels are
to be believed, is that he foretold how and when it would happen and
resigned himself to it (actually chose it), stating that death had no
power over him.

Theologian R.
C. Sproul has stated, “The claim of resurrection is vital to
Christianity. If Christ has been raised from the dead by God, then He
has the credentials and certification that no other religious leader
possesses. Buddha is dead. Mohammad is dead. Moses is dead. Confucius
is dead. But, according to … Christianity, Christ is alive.”2

So
different and so abnormal is all this that a part of us would like to
dismiss it as myth. But is the resurrection to be relegated to a Sunday
school story—or is there evidence?

Researcher
Josh McDowell said, “After more than seven hundred hours of studying
this subject and thoroughly investigating its foundation, I have come
to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the
most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of
men, OR it is the most fantastic fact of history.”3 Right. So which is it?

Let’s keep our minds open.

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