For Christians, Easter is not merely a religious holiday. It is a historical memorial.

Christianity is not grounded on a religious idea but on the historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth walked out of His tomb on the third day after His crucifixion (Mark 16:2–6).

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb… And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. —Luke 24:1–3

Proof of the Resurrection

For over 2,000 years, people have tried to attack the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. In the 1st century, the Jewish leaders’ PR team said Jesus’ disciples stole His body (Matthew 28:12–15). But there isn’t a shred of credible evidence to back their claim. Others have said Jesus merely swooned, not died, during His crucifixion. But even a cursory review of a Roman crucifixion’s brutality and mortal effectiveness makes that theory laughable.

Others assert the resurrection was invented by His followers. But the volume of eyewitness proof (Acts 2:31–32; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1–4) about the life of Jesus makes the Gospels worthy of consideration (Luke 1:1–4; John 19:35–37; John 21:24–25). Moreover, why would Jewish followers of Jesus contrive a story that their long-awaited Messiah was shamefully hung and killed upon a Roman cross (Acts 2:23–24; Acts 4:10; Acts 5:30)—unless it is true?

The claim that Jesus vacated the tomb on Sunday was easily verifiable. Moreover, the disciples and 500 other eyewitnesses testified to meeting Jesus after His resurrection—and they staked their lives on it! Among the earliest Christian martyrs were James, the half-brother of Jesus (who hadn’t believed Jesus was the Son of God until His resurrection), and Paul (who vehemently persecuted Christians until he came face-to-face with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus).

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. —1 Corinthians 15:3–9

The Burden of Proof Falls on You

According to the facts of the case, the burden of proof does not fall on Christians to prove that Jesus rose from the dead. The burden of proof falls on you to prove that He didn’t! One church historian wrote, “If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen—nothing else matters.” Thankfully, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

Behold, two men… in dazzling apparel… said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” —Luke 24:4–7

The empty tomb photo was originally posted on Flickr by upyernoz and downloaded from Wikimedia Commons.