In Acts 26:8, Paul cuts to the chase with his question, ‘Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?’ In all the trials he undergoes, his focus is always on the resurrection of Jesus, a resurrection he makes plain is consistent with Jewish beliefs.
We don’t live in a society which generally believes in miracles or the supernatural, and therefore Paul’s question is one which forces us onto the back foot. The reason many people discount the account of the resurrection of Jesus as factual is because they have a worldview which has no room for an incredible, miracle-working God. If we assume that there is no god, if we believe that nothing can happen except that which we understand, then the idea that God raises the dead will seem ridiculous to us. But if we work from the viewpoint that God made the universe and all in it and is able to do so much more than we can understand or fathom, then there is nothing incredible about the idea that God could raise the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of the gospel, as Paul makes plain in 1 Corinthians 15, where he goes as far as to say that if Jesus were not raised from the dead, our faith is useless. Here are some things to consider about the resurrection before dismissing it as incredible:
There was an empty tomb with no body in it. No one has ever been able to produce the body of Jesus.
The tomb had had a Roman seal on it and a huge stone in front of it. The price for interfering with Roman justice was great, and it’s unlikely the Roman guard would have broken the seal or moved the stone.
There was a Roman guard at the Tomb, so it was unlikely anyone else could have simply stolen the body.
Many people testified to seeing Jesus after his death – over 500 at least!
The behaviour of the disciples changed radically after the resurrection. Before, they had been fearful and hiding away; after the resurrection, they became bold witnesses to Jesus, prepared to die for their faith.
Jesus predicted he would rise again on many occasions.
The Old Testament Scriptures prophesied that the Messiah would rise again.
Christians today testify to the life-changing power of Jesus.
If God can raise the dead, then perhaps we really should pay closer attention to everything that Jesus said!