Why is it so important for us as believers to be aware of the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? I grew up a Christian. I remember receiving Christ as a young boy and I can honestly say that I never doubted that Jesus was alive. Later on in life I heard all the arguments against the resurrection but I still believed that Jesus was alive because I had a relationship with Him! Many years later I studied it out and I saw the evidence for the resurrection and it didn't make me believe, because I already believed. It blessed me to know why I believed what I believe. I realized how many facts and hard evidence there was to support my faith in Christ. Now, to the unbeliever who's searching for truth, what I'm sharing with you should help lead them to faith in Christ but for the believer this doesn't give you faith; neither does it even confirm it for you. You already believe! The evidence of Jesus’ resurrection blesses the believer by showing us that there is much evidence to support our faith and this might even result in an even greater boldness in our witness.
The next point I want to highlight on evidence for the resurrection is that although Jesus’ resurrection was completely unexpected he had clearly predicted it. Jesus had raised people from the dead but to raise himself from the dead after he's dead – that sounds impossible and would certainly not be on the radar of a carnal person. These disciples weren’t born again and didn't have the Holy Spirit to help them remember the truth nor understand it. Jesus clearly prophesied his death and his resurrection but clearly they didn’t remember or believe it.
Isaiah 53:3New King James Version (NKJV)
“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
The prophet Isaiah predicted that there would be a suffering servant who would be rejected by his people. This is prophesied 700-years before Jesus was born! Isaiah even prophesied that Jesus would be crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12).
Isaiah 53:4-6New King James Version (NKJV)
“4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Spoken 700-years before Christ’s birth, this prophecy details His sacrifice in a way which would be highly unlikely to intentionally fulfil.
Apart from the Old Testament prophecies, Jesus Himself prophesied it over and over again – that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem to die but that He would be resurrected from the dead on the third day (Matthew 9:15; 12:40; 16:21-23; 17:22-23; 20:17-19).
Jesus clearly predicted His death, which is not too difficult to do when you’re a very controversial public figure who is drawing a massive following, but Jesus also clearly predicted His resurrection, something which is very difficult to do. What Jesus prophesied concerning Himself came to pass proving that what He said was true. And that means that we need to carefully consider what He said and what it means for us, today.