p>A friend of mine once asked me how I knew that my religion was the “right” one. He said that he believed in a “higher power”, but how could Christians be sure that Buddha wasn’t right instead of Jesus.

That’s a valid question and one that most of us don’t know how to answer. But the Bible tells us to be able to give an answer as to the reason for the hope we have. For me, I commented that one of the things that drew me to Jesus was that he said that if anyone wanted to know that he was for real, that we could put him to the test. For me, that was significant because people who have something to hide don’t want to be checked out and if some one offers “check me out”, then I feel comfortable that he has nothing to hide. But, over the years I have learned of other facts that help to support the reality of Jesus’ claim.

Although it’s commonly dismissed as an embellishment, 1 Cor 15:6 Paul states that 500 people saw Jesus after his resurrection. No one challenges that. If the disciples were trying to build a religion on personal integrity and truth, Paul’s statement would have done more harm than good and the disciples would have challenged Paul’s claim thus damaging his own standing with the church.

The embarrassment principle is often used by historians as a way of determining truth. For example if I write something that makes me out to be a hero, and I have much to gain by telling the story (fame, fortune, etc) then of course the story is suspect. But, if the story I tell makes me look cowardly, foolish etc, then it’s more likely that I’m telling the truth because I probably have nothing to gain and much to lose if the story gets out.

The supposed conflict amongst the gospels around the resurrection story is another point that scholars often use to argue in favor of the authenticity. There’s an old adage that if 10 people all witness the same story, you’ll get ten different accounts. If all the gospels were exactly the same, then we would have one account told four times instead of four different accounts of the same story.

The body was missing. In the gospel of Matthew, when the disciples claim that Jesus was raised, the Jews respond “You stole the body”. The body was obviously gone because why didn’t the Jews just say “the body is here” or “the body is there”? Furthermore, if as the Jews claimed, the guards had fallen asleep, they would have been put to death. Also, consider the possibility of a group a men slipping in in the middle of the night, with torches and all. Those same men moving a 2-3 ton stone up an incline, and stealing a dead body all while the guards slept(without waking them up).

It’s been argued that some of the most convincing evidence is that so many Jews who had held to centuries-long traditions of circumcision and animal sacrifice suddenly stopped. Furthermore, consider that Peter who originally denied knowing Jesus the night that he was arrested would later himself be crucified for being a Christian. So did Thomas who also refused to believe that Jesus rose without first touching the holes in Jesus’ hands and sides.
Source: Lee Strobel The Case for Christ 1998 Zondervan


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