St. Sava Orthodox Church

How Do We Know That Christ Is Risen?

Home  >>  How Do We Know That Christ Is Risen?

Detectives solve crimes by determining what really happened in a certain place and time. They examine facts, starting with what they already know to help them discover what they don’t know.  They sort through evidence to find clues.  They talk to witnesses to help them shed light on what happened.

On Pascha, the Church joyfully shouts, “Christ is risen!”  We celebrate the glory of Christ’s resurrection with hymns and feasting.  But many people have asked the question: “How do we know that Christ is risen from the dead?”  It could be just another made up religious story like so many others in the world.  After all, the followers of Muhammad believe that he walked in heaven and spoke to the prophets.  The followers of Joseph Smith believe that he found mystical books written on metal plates which described the life and trials of a “lost tribe” of Israelites who somehow landed in America.

How do we really know that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead?

Like detectives, we should examine the facts, consider the evidence, and listen to the testimonies of witnesses.

THE FACTS:

  1. Jesus was well known in Judea as a preacher and miracle worker.
  2. He had hundreds of disciples but selected twelve to be close to Him.
  3. One of these disciples, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Jesus to His enemies.
  4. When Jesus was arrested and crucified, all but one of His twelve closest disciples (John) abandoned Him.
  5. His disciples hid like cowards for fear of being arrested and killed.
  6. Soon after this, His disciples began bravely preaching that He was the Son of God, that He was risen from the dead, and that He was going to return one day.

THE EVIDENCE:

  1. Christ’s tomb is empty to this day.
  2. The Church collects the relics of the saints (including body parts).  There are no bodily relics of Jesus.

THE WITNESSES:

  1. Although some of the small details are different, all of the apostles recounted how Christ was crucified and how He is risen.
  2. Every one of the remaining eleven apostles (except John) was tortured and killed for preaching that Jesus is the Son of God, that He was crucified, that He is risen, and that He will return one day.

When we examine the facts, evidence, and witnesses, we must come to one of two conclusions.  Either the resurrection of Christ is a well-written lie or it is the truth.  However, liars always lie to gain something for themselves—power, money, a good reputation, etc.  When liars are faced with terrible consequences for their lies, they will eventually tell the truth.  If the apostles were all liars, why would they make themselves look bad in the Gospels?  Generally, liars want to make themselves look good.  If they were all lying, why didn’t at least one of them confess under torture or when threatened with death that they had been lying?  What did the apostles gain from proclaiming that Christ is risen, besides death?  There is only one explanation as to why the apostles would do this:

 

CHRIST IS RISEN!