Jesus’ resurrection has been questioned, doubted and denied ever since he first rose from the dead. Is there proof of Jesus’ resurrection? If there was, would you believe it or would you continue to doubt and deny it?
There are many proofs to Jesus’ resurrection. The Bible itself speaks of 13 post-mortem appearances by Jesus, first to Mary Magdalene and lastly to Paul the apostle. But rejecting the Biblical evidence, what other evidence do we have?
I think one of the most demonstrable pieces of evidence focuses on the apostle Paul’s life. It doesn’t take much ‘faith’ to see that this man, named Saul of Tarsus, a Jew who was also a Roman citizen, had a complete overnight change of heart and mind that is inexplicable outside a first-hand confrontation by Jesus Christ himself.
Saul of Tarsus was studying to become the next high priest of Israel. He was taught by the ‘doctor’ of the Law, Gamaliel. He knew the Word of God that had been revealed up to the time of Jesus. He was dedicated and faithful; in fact he declares he was, “as touching the law, spotless.” He was a true law-keeper without offense. I’m not saying he was perfect, because no human ever was outside of Jesus, but he was committed.
Saul of Tarsus was so committed he was given the task of wiping out the new Christian faith by the Sanhedrin. Saul was out persecuting Christians, even putting them to death. This shows his dedication and follow-through. Saul was a man who did what he believed. He was a man who could be trusted with extreme responsibility. All he needed was a realization of the Scripture he already knew which pointed to Jesus as the Savior.
Saul was on the road to Damascus, on a journey where he would again persecute and kill Christians. But on that journey, something strange happened.
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.
Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus and corrected his steering rudder. Let’s see what happened next.
Acts 9: 10-21
Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.
And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus,
who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.
Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”
But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him.
But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him.
Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.
This is quite an event, wouldn’t you agree? The risen Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus and confronted him about his persecution and killing of Christians. Paul had all those old testament scriptures about the promised Messiah and it didn’t take him long to put it all together in his mind that he was acting against the Lord instead of for him as he had thought.
So I ask you. What on earth would change a man overnight like this? Saul’s name was changed to Paul and this is the apostle Paul who wrote much of the New Testament. What would cause a man who had extreme social and religious acceptance and prominence to complete forsake all of that to preach and teach the most persecuted faith of that time?
What would cause a man who was going to become the next High Priest of Israel to forsake that position and responsibility in favor of being stoned, probably to death, 6 times and eventually be killed by a Roman emperor? What on earth could affect a man so greatly?
Jesus’ resurrection is what changed Saul. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is what made the difference to him. He would not have accepted a bystander’s word on the issue. He would not accept hearsay. Jesus knew he needed proof and provided it by appearing directly to him.
If there is any other greater proof of the resurrection of Jesus than this, I’d like to know. Yes there are many other proofs, but how many do you need? How about Saul of Tarsus’ complete life-changing conversion? Will that do for you?
Jesus was risen from the dead and secured eternal life to all who believe.
Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.