Original post by Sean McDowell here. Used with permission.
Some of the greatest skeptics have been convinced by the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. These include literary geniuses (C.S. Lewis), lawyers (Simon Greenleaf), cold case detectives (J. Warner Wallace), historians (Will Durant), journalists (Lee Strobel) and many more.
As my father and I demonstrate in the updated Evidence that Demands A Verdict, the historical evidence for the resurrection is remarkable enough to persuade some of the greatest minds in history.
And yet the resurrection of Jesus is not merely a historical event from 2,000 years ago. The truth of the resurrection has power for your life today (Philippians 3:10).
Consider three examples:
1. The Resurrection Offers Answers for Doubters.
Doubt is not a sin. Even some of the apostles of Jesus doubted at his ascension (Matthew 28:17). Jude encourages us to be merciful towards those who doubt (1:22). I went through a period of significant doubt in my early twenties, and the evidence for the resurrection was significant in helping me maintain my faith. Part of what motivated Dr. Michael Licona to research and write his massive book on the resurrection, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, was to find answers to his own doubts. Knowing and experiencing the truth of the resurrection can help Christians who doubt.
2. The Resurrection Offers Hope for Grievers.
Like taxes, death is inevitable. We have all lost loved ones. As Christians, the resurrection offers us hope in our grief. The Apostle Paul writes:
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
3. The Resurrection Offers Forgiveness for Sinners.
Guilt is a universal human experience. Naturalists try to explain it away as a vestige of Darwinian evolution. It is a trick, some claim, to get us to live in peaceful relationship for the sake of propagating the species. But the Christian has a different perspective: we feel guilty because we areguilty. Guilt is not illusory. We have wronged God, and we have wronged other human beings. The solution is not to deny the reality of guilt, or to rely upon human effort, but to embrace the forgiveness only Jesus offers. The Apostle Peter said:
The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:30-31)
The resurrection offers answers for doubters, hope for grievers, and forgiveness for sinners. If you are not a Christian, will you at least consider the evidence for the resurrection? You just might be surprised by its strength, but more importantly, how that truth can transform your life today.
Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, best-selling author, popular speaker, part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit Ministries, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.