In the arena of apologetics, which is the act of rationally defending a contentious truth, there is no more contentious truth debated than the one surrounding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are many explanations which attempt to explain away the resurrection of Christ:
The Swoon Theory
Jesus did not die on the cross, He merely fainted and in the cool air of the tomb he awoke and escaped. This is hardly likely, Jesus’ executioners were professionals, they knew dead when they saw it. Even if it were true, Jesus would have been prepared for burial according to Jewish tradition, and we see in John 11 how it was impossible to free himself from the burial clothes.
The Stolen Body Theory
This theory accuses the disciples of sneaking back to the tomb and stealing the body of Jesus only to proclaim later that He was resurrected. This is also quite unlikely. First the disciples did not show the kind of bravery necessary to somehow breach the Roman guard protecting the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). Secondly, that Roman guard was not obliged to some religious group to protect the tomb; they were following the orders of Rome, and were to fulfill their obligation as professional soldiers even to the point of death. The untrained, cowardly disciples would have little chance against such an armed force.
The Group Hysteria Theory
This theory tries to explain away the resurrection by blaming the testimonies of the risen Christ on a form of hysteria that overtook the senses and the sensibilities of the disciples and the other followers of Christ. This is strange as all it would have required to extinguish such hysteria was to show people the tomb of Christ still occupied! But no such evidence was brought forth. We have Paul’s record that in addition to the 12 disciples and to His family, Jesus appeared post-crucifixion to more than 500 other believers (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
But the authorities could not produce an occupied tomb or a dead body or prove that the disciples were crazy. So they turned to what the religious elite had evolved into over the previous 400 years, intimidation and physical torture. Now you would think that if there was a hint of uncertainty among these untrained, uneducated men and women, that the threat of being socially cut-off from their community, losing their abilities to provide for their families, and /or being physically beaten or even killed for this risen Christ, would have caused one of them to break. But they did not, the dependable historical evidence of the Bible and the early church tells us that they did endure all forms of persecution and unjust punishment as they carried the message of the Christ across the known world. To me this is the greatest evidence of Christ’s resurrection, that these men and women were unshakable in the face of intense, life-threatening persecution. This is the greatest proof TODAY that Christ has risen, believers convinced of His life, death and resurrection so much so that we will risk all for Him. What is the missing evidence of Christ’s resurrection in the world you live in? It just might be YOU!