Of all the historical evidence that supports the resurrection of Jesus, today I offer but two points.
If you were a Jewish leader in the first century and wanted to stop all this new talk about Jesus’ resurrecting, all you would have to do is one simple act: Produce the body. Or even simpler, merely point to the grave. After all, Jesus’ execution was public, it was done in a major city, and the burial was done out in the open. Jesus was even buried in the tomb of a prominent Jewish citizen. All the Jewish leaders would have to do is grab the disciples, take them to the grave, and say “You idiots, he’s buried right here!” The Jews certainly would have used such an easy weapon to squash Christianity. But they didn’t, because Jesus body wasn’t there.
Next, if the disciples and early Christians made up the story of Christ, or even if they just got the story wrong, why would they write books that make the Christian leaders look like goofballs? If we read the New Testament, the disciples are presented as dim-witted, slow to learn, arrogant, self-centered, doubting, and faithless. Further, Galatians even presents two of the key leaders, Paul and Peter, arguing publicly about doctrine. If someone was making up a story, or if they were trying to fudge the truth a bit to support a new religion, why would they make their leaders out to be so stupid?
The answer is that they were writing history, and wrote down what actually happened. As Peter says, “We did not follow cleverly invented fables . . . but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)
When today’s critics reject the writings of the New Testament, they are in effect saying ‘If it wasn’t for those nine eyewitnesses, you wouldn’t have a case.’ This is true for any case of law or history: if you dismiss the eyewitnesses out of hand and don’t give them a hearing, why, the case becomes weaker. The trouble is that these nine eyewitnesses (the writers of the New Testament) keep popping up with historically accurate details.
I urge you to read the New Testament for what it is: eyewitness testimony from those whose lives were forever changed because they saw the risen Christ. He can make Himself real to you, too, for He is alive to this day.