Summary: Christianity is based and grounded in the Resurrection of Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel. Every Born-Again Christian should be able to defend this foundational truth.
Christianity proclaims that Jesus rose from the dead and hangs its entire existence on that fact. Yet, there is no practical certainty of it because actual eyewitnesses cannot be questioned due to them being dead! However, a logical case can be made on the certainty of historical evidence.
The Bible refers to the death of Jesus and Resurrection using words translated as "vain," "futile," and "no purpose."
"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is FUTILE (vain) and you are still in your sins." (1 Cor 15:14 ESV emphasis mine)
"I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose (in vain)." (Gal 2:21 ESV
It is the truth that all facts presuppose other facts, so any structured argument has basic expectations and assumptions. Here are some basic suppositions that must be taken into account before presenting the evidence of the Resurrection. Anyone who takes the time to research these diligently will discover the evidence that supports them.
1. Jesus lived. He is a historical person.
Some people today deny that Jesus ever existed. However, there is significant historical evidence that He did
exist which cannot logically be denied. Because of the words He spoke and acts of kindness He did, there
are such things as public schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, orphanages, democracy based political
systems, the empowerment of women, etc., etc., etc., throughout the world today.
2. He was crucified by the Romans at the demand of the Jewish leaders. He was considered dead.
3. He was buried in a known, accessible tomb.
4. The preaching about Jesus was threefold:
a. He was raised from the dead
b. He ascended into heaven
c. His burial tomb is empty
5. The Jewish leaders were motivated to disprove that Jesus rose from the dead.
6. The Disciples were persecuted for telling others about the Resurrection.
7. The tomb was empty. (It was never preserved, and its location is not positively known).
8. His dead body was never found.
9. The teaching of Jesus found in the Bible has been faithfully transmitted throughout history.
a. The Bible has been translated numerous times in a one-step process from the original languages into multiple languages throughout history. However, it has never been rewritten. There are approximately 5,700 copies of the Greek manuscripts made very close to the time of originals, and they all agree with each other to 99.5% accuracy. The .5% variation would include textual misspelling or minor word alternations. There are also over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages, which bring the total supporting New Testament manuscript purity to over 24,000 copies!
WAS JESUS JUST GOOD AND WISE, OR A GOOD OR WIDE TEACHER?
If Jesus was good, meant well, honestly tried to help people, then He must have been a deluded lunatic who didn't realize that no human being could do the things He said He did. If He was wise and not a lunatic, then He knew that His claims were humanly impossible, and He was a big fraud and therefore was not good or wise. To be wise, a person must be correct; to be good, a person needs to be honest. Jesus could only be good but not wise, wise but not good, but certainly not both. Here is a brief list of His claims made:
a. Jesus said He would live forever (John 8:58).
b. Jesus described the eternal world from the inside: He saw satan fall (Luke 10:18, 15:7; Matt
13:41, 18:10, 25:41; John 14:2).
c. Jesus seated all authority in Himself – His authority was Himself! (Matt 5:17,20,22,26,28,32;7:29; 28:18).
d. Jesus thought He was perfect. He presumed His adequacy to forgive sin. He defined the Law.
e. Jesus said that He was the ransom that would redeem people from sin and its eternal
g. Jesus said He alone was “the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through me” (John 14:6 ESV).
h. Jesus was the center of His belief system and placed Himself at the center of the religious
i. Jesus declared that He had the same level of authority as God; that He existed before Abraham and that He had the name of God. (Ex 3:13,14; John 5:19, 6:35, 8:24, 58-59, 10:11-14, 11:25)