Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? The Known Facts Prove it
Did Jesus rise from the dead? Let's suppose the claim is not true and the apostles knew it. But why should the apostles lie? What did they have to gain? They only gained trouble. They were arrested, beaten, persecuted, killed. No sane person suffers in such a manner for a lie.
Were the apostles lunatics? Let's suppose the apostles were lunatics. In that case, why were they persecuted and killed? You don't execute a lunatic, you simply imprison him for public safety. But he is not really guilty of his crime because he doesn't know what he's doing. Therefore, if the apostles were mad it makes no sense that they were killed and persecuted. Therefore, the apostles were not lunatics.
Let's suppose the apostles were mistaken. That is, they lied but they didn't know it was a lie. How can so many people make a mistake about seeing Jesus risen? A few women claimed they saw Him. The eleven apostles claimed to have seen Him, and many more followers of Jesus saw Him later in Galilee.
It doesn't make sense to believe that the apostles, who abandoned Jesus when He was alive, should suddenly risk their lives to steal His body after Jesus died. The Sanhedrin didn't steal the body or they would have advertised the fact. Therefore, Jesus' body was not stolen.
It doesn't make sense to believe that the apostles who saw the risen Jesus all had hallucinations. A hallucination is a daylight dream caused by the mind and will working overtime against reality because you want to see a dead loved one so much. This was not the case with the apostles, they were down in the dumps. For example, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, even before Easter Sunday, were already going home. They believed, at that moment, that Jesus did not resurrect. The disciples had scattered. They did not expect or even anticipate seeing Jesus. There is no evidence that, prior to knowledge of the Resurrection, the apostles were strong in faith. Therefore, the apostles did not hallucinate when they saw the risen Jesus because all the necessary factors that contribute to hallucinations are absent in this situation.
In the earliest years of Christianity it was the Jews (Saul etc) and not the Romans who persecuted Christians. Roman persecutions of Christians did not begin until Nero (64-68 AD). Domitian (95-96 AD) was the first emperor to officially call himself “God”. So, the Roman Empire just after the death of Christ was liberal as regards the worship of deities. All the apostles did was preach that the religion of Judaism had reached its fulfillment in Jesus. They dwelt in the religious domain; they still gave to Caesar what was his. Therefore, the Romans would not have condemned anyone to death for a religious belief unless the Jewish Sanhedrin was behind it and invented lies as they did: “we have no king but Caesar” is what they shouted when Jesus was on trial. It makes much more sense to believe that the Jews lied about the body of Jesus being stolen by friends of Jesus. The Sanhedrin was against even the idea that Jesus' body had risen. From the start, the ones who brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate were the Jews, not the Romans.
Of course, there is the testimony of Scripture, which testifies that Jesus did rise. God is the principal author of the Resurrection account and He does not lie. There is also Jesus' own prediction of His death (Matt 20: 17-19; Mark 10: 32-34; Lk 18: 31-33.)
Therefore, the claim that Jesus is risen, from the purely logical point of view, makes complete sense. But no-one, to this day, has ever set up a logical argument to prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead. Doubters of the Resurrection may suggest many weird and wonderful theories, but none can provide any real evidence to add substance to their claims. So, our Christian faith is not in vain because Jesus did rise from the dead in order to open up Heaven as a possibility for us all.
De Souza, R, audio tape on Resurrection; Pinto, M, Did Adam and Eve have Belly Buttons; Hayes, Hayes and Drummey, Catholicism and Reason; Laux, J, Church History.
* Please note that this text should be read in the context of the whole work and in recognition of the appropriate paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlighted in the index.