It's important to meditate on the Resurrection of Jesus and analyze this event, which is a key component of our Christian faith. In fact, it is the resurrection of Christ that sets us apart from any other major religion in the history of mankind.
As you all know, I was raised in a very religious Christian environment. For instance, the life, death and resurrection were embedded in me from early on in my life. It was so well set in my mind that I have never doubted any of it just based on faith. Obviously, as we grow up and go to college, we are exposed to multiple philosophies and strange ideas. I must say that I have witnessed very smart people with very good arguments about their beliefs that are far from mine. Actually, it is very impressive because some arguments sound very convincing. I have witnessed masterminds capable of defending positions that are obviously wrong, but they have a way of making it look good. I am sure you have seen those as well.
My point is that even though the Resurrection has been taught to us based on the authenticity of the Biblical scriptures and faith, I truly believe that there is more than that. Let’s look at some scenarios :
- One of the main issues that had created questions regarding whether the resurrection occurred or not, is the scarcity of historical information other than the Bible. We must understand that non-believers will consider it a biased source of information. As you well know, the older the historical event is the more scarce the data would be. Furthermore, it is this scarcity of extra biblical data that has made radical atheist question whether there was a historical Jesus or not.
- We, Christians, must make something very clear about the Bible as a historical source. The Bible, specifically, the new testament correlates very well with documented events in the history of Israel. The jewish nation was a colony of the Roman Empire. We also know that Julius Caesar was the Roman Emperor and that Pilate was the “Roman Governor” or the equivalent in the region. It has also been established that Herod was the Jewish King at that time. In other words, those names are mentioned in regular history books as well as the Bible. The strange thing is , is that I have never heard anyone questioning whether “Caesar “ was real or not. My point is that the Bible is very accurate about the times of “Israel as a Roman Colony." Those were the times of Jesus.
In order to seal the argument regarding the historical Jesus, we only need to go to the most formidable jewish historical book “Jewish Antiquities,” written by Flavius Josephus (37 AD - 100 AD) who was born a few years after the death of Jesus. He mentioned Jesus twice in his book. The following segment is full of controversies but it is present in a very important history treaty:
"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who hadfirst come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared." - Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63
This particular segment is called the “Testimonium Flavianun” which has been questioned as to whether or not it is a pure document or has been contaminated by the christian beliefs of a translator. It appears like most scholars believe that is mostly authentic but not totally. Most recently, the arabic version of this segment was found and it appears more accurate because it adds a phrase “or he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. And According to this He might be the Messiah."
So these few words according to this and might be, have made this paragraph more believable.
After analyzing this historical event, let’s switch gears toward simple logic. If we accept that an extraordinary religious and social leader, who has been considered by everybody (believers and non-radical atheist) as a genuine good, honest man, then we have to ask why Jesus said that He would die and then come back to life? What is the reason to put his historical legacy in danger by offering to do something he couldn’t do? There isn’t any logical reason that a honest leader like Him would put his legacy in danger. It doesn’t make sense.
But once we have accepted that indeed he lived and died in the cross, then we are left with a problematic question: What happened to His body? How did the cadaver disappear?
These problematic questions are the key to this controversy. Let’s start by saying that the cadaver was very well guarded by a formidable force - The Roman Centurions. These guys were real warriors who followed orders. They wouldn’t allow anyone to get close to that tomb without a bloody mess. Furthermore, the disciples had no training to overcome the Romans - No way Jose!
The events that happened at some point that Sunday Morning are still the most enigmatic event in human history. An event that has divided humanity, believers and non-believers. The non-believers don’t accept that he raised from the death and find any explanation for the missing body.
Meanwhile, we, Christians, believe that He rose from the death and that the darkness of that night was overcome by the brightness of the Resurrection.