In Acts 1:3 it is written about Jesus, “After His suffering, He showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
What were the “many convincing proofs” that people had in the first century that Jesus rose from the dead? That is the purpose of the bullet points of this post.
1) The Gospels are eyewitness testimony. They were transcribed by people who were there, who gave testimony to what they actually saw. They are a record of the events as they experienced them and what they heard Jesus Himself say. The Gospels are not myths or legends written by wishful followers. They were written so that people would know that what they believed was true (Click here).
2) The resurrected Jesus had all the characteristics of a flesh and blood human. He could be touched… He could eat… He could be heard. Were He just spiritually resurrected these things could not have happened. These things were told in the churches for decades after the resurrection by those who experienced them.
3) The first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection, and to see Him bodily, were women. Matthew 28:1-8 and Matthew 28:8-10; This may not seem significant in our day, but in the first century this was huge! In the first century the testimony of women was not admissible in court. With this being the case the ONLY reason it would be recorded that women were the first to see the empty tomb AND Jesus in His resurrected body was that it actually happened! Those who followed the world’s way would NEVER have had women be the first to see Jesus. They would have made sure the testimony was communicated by men. Thus the only reason for recording that women saw Jesus was that they really were the first to see Him.
4) The resurrected Jesus was seen by many people… at one time. John 20:19-25; John 20:26-31; John 21:1-13; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6; Acts 26:22-26. While it is possible for one person to have a vision and therefore be doubted regarding what they saw, it is impossible for hundreds of people to have a mass vision that is the same for every person. For so many to see Jesus after the resurrection… at one time… the only explanation is that it had to have taken place.
5) Those who encountered the resurrected Jesus could be interviewed years after his ascension. See text links above… specially 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 and Acts 26:22-26. These accounts of eyewitness testimony are important to consider due to the fact that for many years after Jesus’ ascension those who saw him in resurrected form could be found, questioned, and examined. Had Jesus not been resurrected this would not have been a possibility. Had Jesus not actually appeared to them statements like the ones found in 1 Corinthians 15 and Acts 26 would have been exposed as lies.
For those alive in Jesus’ day there were many convincing proofs He was alive. Still there were many who did not believe, in the face of the evidence of his resurrection. One thing I hang on to is what Jesus said to Thomas who only believed AFTER he encountered Jesus bodily himself. It is found written in John 20:29… “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
He is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!!