Decide for Yourself: 7 Facts About the Resurrection

There are seven facts about Jesus and early Christianity that are accepted by almost all teaching scholars in the Western world, coming from a variety of perspectives (Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic, agnostic, and atheist), and representing a wide variety of disciplines. The question becomes, then, what do we do with these facts? In other words, what is the best explanation for these facts?

  1. Jesus was crucified in early 30s A.D.  Even Robert Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar (hardly a proponent of conversative Christianity) said, “Jesus’ crucifixion has the bedrock of historicity.”
  2. Jesus’ earliest followers, including at least one unbeliever, believed that the risen Jesus appeared to them (creed). At least 512 eyewitnesses claim to have seen him. A claim that is dated to within 2 years of the crucifixion. What did they see that made them willing to go to death rather than renounce it?
  3. Paul the Pharisee was transformed from Christian-hater to Jesus-follower. What happened to him?
  4. There were 14 other messianic-type movements around Jesus’ time. All their leaders were killed, and the movement died. Yet, this was not the case with Christianity. Why?
  5. The unique proclamation that this crucified Messiah has risen from the dead in the middle of history. No other movement claimed that a Messiah would be raised from the dead and then history would continue.
  6. This Jewish movement transformed Jewish traditions over 1500 years old (Passover, food laws, circumcision, etc.). Why?
  7. The unique proclamation from this Jewish movement that this crucified carpenter is Lord of the world.

What would make people like Peter (who denied Christ), Paul, Thomas, James, and countless others rather suffer torture and death rather than renounce a risen Messiah? The real question is, “What do we do with these facts? What is the best explanation that accounts for all of them?

To me, the best explanation is that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead, and thus everything He taught is true. Faith is not a fairytale or simply a trick of the mind. It is objective, reasonable, and real.

For more detailed discussion of these ideas, see The Bedrock of Christianity: The Unalterable Facts of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Dr. Justin W. Bass.

Also see this debate between Dr. Bass and Dr. Zachary Moore.

For more information, also see

  • Evidence that Demands a Verdict, 2 vols., Josh McDowell.
  • The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel
  • How Did Christianity Begin?: A Believer and NonBeliever Examine the Evidence, by Michael F. Bird and James G. Crossley
  • Can We Trust the Gospels? by Dr. Peter J. Williams