Skeptical about the resurrection? You’re not the first
Even Jesus' closest followers couldn't believe the truth until they examined the evidence.
One of the most surprising things about Jesus’ resurrection is that not even his closest friends expected it.
After the women went to the tomb and discovered Jesus had been raised, they ran off in shock to tell the other disciples.
But the disciples dismiss the women’s story as an “idle tale”. They don’t believe Jesus could be alive.
They knew just as well as we know - that dead people don’t come back to life. Especially not when they’ve been crucified by the Romans who were experts in execution.
What if the disciples were just gullible fools?
We sometimes imagine they must have been so gullible and superstitious - ready to believe anything. But Jesus’ resurrection was just as hard for them to believe as it is for us. It was not only contrary to their life experience - but it was actually contrary to their Jewish faith. And so the possibility of resurrection never even occurred to them.
So one commentator explains:
“They are just as unprepared for this event as we would have been.” Bock
In fact, when Jesus suddenly appears in the room to the disciples, they think he’s a ghost. Not necessarily because they believe in ghosts but because they certainly don’t believe in resurrection.
What if the disciples made up the whole story?
When you think about it this is staggering. These apostles will be the ones who Jesus sends out into the world to be his witnesses. They will become the first leaders of the early church. And yet when they first met the resurrected Jesus they don’t believe.
It’s not what we’d expect from a made up story is it?
If these accounts have been invented by the disciples you’d expect them to present themselves in the best possible light. And yet here they are dismissing the resurrection at the beginning - the central event in the Christian faith - as an idle tale.
If they were making the whole thing up, wouldn’t the disciples have put themselves there at the tomb ready to welcome the risen Jesus? Why would they tell a story like this? There’s no way they’d tell a story like this if they made it up. They’d only tell it if they believed it was true.
And they only believed it was true because they examined the evidence.
What if the disciples really DID see Jesus alive?
What did Jesus say after he appeared to them?
Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." (Luke 24:39)
Contrary to what we might expect - Christians require evidence to believe. And so Jesus encourages enquiry.
So by all means be skeptical about the resurrection.
But make sure your skepticism doesn’t become an excuse to ignore the evidence. Make sure you don’t assume that because people don’t normally rise from the dead that Jesus wasn’t resurrected.
Luke doesn’t claim these events are normal. In fact he makes it clear it’s just the opposite. Dead people can’t rise from the dead unless God himself intervenes. But that’s what Luke is claiming.
That on Easter Sunday 2000 years ago - the God who is the source of life - reached into the creation he made - and broke all the normal rules.
Looking to examing the evidence for yourself? Start here or explore the related articles and videos underneath this post.