- Jesus Christ was really crucified.
- Jesus’ tomb was empty.
- Jesus appeared to many people after his death.
- Skeptics such as James the brother of Jesus and Saul became followers of Jesus after these appearances.
Theory #1: The disciples stole Jesus’ body while the guards were asleep. This is the original conspiracy theory of the Jewish leaders in the Bible. The theory accepts the fact of the crucifixion and the empty tomb but there are some problems with it. First of all, it is unlikely that the disciples could have stolen Jesus body even if they wanted to. Jesus tomb was guarded by up to 16 Roman soldiers. If they fell asleep, the penalty was death. Second of all, it this theory does not explain the appearances of Jesus after his death. There is no way that the disciples could convince anyone that Jesus was alive with a dead corpse. This theory also does not explain the fact that skeptics such as James, the brother of Jesus or Saul a persecutor of Christians could be converted.
Theory #2: Someone else died on the cross besides Jesus. Many Muslims believe that it was Judas and not Jesus who died on the cross. There are many problems with this theory because it does not account for any of the established facts. First of all, Jesus performed the miracle of healing the priest’s servant’s ear after Peter cut it off. Judas could not have performed a miracle under the circumstances. Jesus was well known and his arrest, trial, and crucifixion all took place in front of people who knew him well and knew what he looked like including the disciples, priests, soldiers, and even his own mother Mary. Jesus spoke to his mother from the cross just before he died. So, there is no way that Judas could have died in Jesus’ place. This theory also fails to account for the empty tomb, the appearances of Jesus to his followers which included allowing Thomas to touch his wounds. This theory also fails to explain the transformation of skeptics such as James and Saul.
Theory #3: Jesus body was buried in a shallow grave and his body was eaten by wild dogs. This recent theory also has some serious problems with it. It has been popularized by the media so it must be answered. This theory does not account for the empty tomb and the guards it also does not account for the appearances or the transformation of skeptics.
Theory #4: Jesus’ appearances were hallucinations. This theory does not account for the empty tomb. 1 Corinthians 15 says that Jesus appeared to 500 people at one time. It is impossible for 500 people to have the same hallucination. The hallucination theory also fails to account for the empty tomb.
Theory #5 Jesus did not really die on the cross. This theory claims that Jesus somehow survived the cross but this is impossible. Medical doctors have examined what happened to Jesus and have concluded that no one could survive the severe beating that Jesus endured, and being hung on the cross, being speared through the lung and heart. Even if Jesus survived all this, how could he survive being trapped in the tomb for three days with no food, water, or medical care? How could he have escaped from the tomb and the guards? Even if Jesus survived, he would not be in good enough condition to appear to his followers and convince them that he rose from the dead miraculously.
When we look at the strength of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the weakness of the alternative theories, it becomes clear that Jesus Christ really rose from the dead, just as the New Testament of the Bible. He is risen! He is risen indeed!