Today we are people who rely a lot on visuals to verify truth.
What if the crucifixion and the resurrection were to happen in 2014? Would you believe that Jesus rose from the dead because you vividly saw news clips and actual pictures of what transpired? For many, it would give them confirmation. But yet there would be those who would say it was all contrived. We would still have our doubters.
You’ve got to remember that the resurrection is based on facts from people who actually witnessed the event.
Let us step back in time to when Jesus was angry with the money changers in the temple. They obviously were angry at him and I imagine they said some threatening words. Jesus on the other hand said, “You destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
If there had been a camera present, what a picture that would have made. Jesus upset and showing his human side. His words are a foretelling of the resurrection.
Now let us fast forward to the resurrection. Roman guards were assigned on the insistence of the Jewish hierarchy to make sure none of the disciples would take the body. There was little chance of that since they were nowhere near the tomb. Yet, when Mary Magdalene and two other women appear, they find the tomb open. Obviously, Jesus could not have opened the tomb after all he had suffered during the crucifixion. They enter the tomb and find it empty.
The angel tells them he is risen. They return to Jerusalem to announce the good news to the Apostles. And the Apostles have their doubts.
Meanwhile, two of the disciples were on the road to Emmaus discussing the events of the last few days. Now along comes Jesus who joins in the conversation, quizzing them about the last few days. They are not aware that it is Jesus at this point, but they invite him to dinner.
At dinner, Jesus breaks bread and they suddenly realize who it is. Jesus at that moment disappears and they return to Jerusalem to tell the eleven Apostles. Later Jesus appears to the Apostles in the Upper Room to verify to them he has risen.
But one Apostle was not there: Thomas. He just did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. Later, at another meeting with the Apostles, Thomas is present and you know the rest of the story.
Jesus later does ascend before five hundred of the disciples. Now think about it: 500 people witnessing such a dramatic event. All the above events were not filmed obviously, but does that say it did not happen? All the above events did occur. Remember 2000 years ago information was passed on orally and later inscribed in the Gospels. Would the Apostles—who all were martyred except one—along with all the disciples, put their lives on the line if they did not believe what they saw and heard? Lastly, about 40 years later we have Paul of Tarsus, a fervent Jew who was a persistent persecutor of Christians. He was on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him and said “Paul why are you persecuting me”? At that moment Paul was converted. Saint Paul was later martyred also.
The bottom line…. Jesus made many appearances after the resurrection to multiple groups of people. If they did not believe, why would they face martyrdom?
Yes, maybe cameras would have helped some doubting Thomases, but putting your life on the line for something you truly saw and believed… to me is more than proof enough.