The claim that Jesus rose from the dead is extraordinary. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What is the strongest proof that Jesus was resurrected? Let’s start at the point of beginning, and work, or build from there.
This beginning point is that the universe, the earth, etc. very strongly witness to God’s existence as Creator. Psalm 19:1 says: “the heavens declare the glory of God.” (NIV)
Building on this is the text of the New Testament. It has been subjected to the most extreme scrutiny imaginable. This has resulted in the number one “Extraordinary Proof” of all time. This is the fact that the text of the New Testament in Koine Greek that we have today is verified as being 99.5% pure. That is 99.5% of the words are the same as originally written by writers Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul etc. What about the other 0.5% in which there is some doubt? These somewhat doubtful words do not affect any of the principles, truths or doctrines in the Bible. They are inconsequential of interest to some scholars, technicians, those who love trivia, etc. No other work from ancient times comes anywhere close to the New Testament textual integrity.
To review so far, creation tells us there must be a Creator, just as a house tells us that somebody built it. Second, the biblical New Testament text has been verified as pure – that is, today it is virtually identical to the original writings done from circa 40 to 98 CE. (Romans 1:19-22; 1 Peter 1:24-25)
Third, the Old Testament text has been verified as being unchanged as to essentials after many hundreds of years of copying, by the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Isaiah 40:8) The Old Testament text was fixed, and the Canon closed before 400 BCE. Jesus quoted from and confirmed the entire Old Testament as God’s infallible word. (Luke 24:44)
Fourth, just as extraordinary point #2 above builds on point #1, so it is with this one. Old Testament prophecy not only predicted accurately Jesus conception, birth, life and death – it gave predictions of his resurrection. (Isaiah 52:13-15; Isaiah 53:1-12; Psalm 16:10) Critics may try to claim these prophecies were written after the fact. However, the clear evidence proves them flatly wrong. How? The Dead Sea Scrolls prove these prophecies were written hundreds of years prior to Jesus’ human existence.
Reviewing now, we have added the accurately preserved Old Testament text, and the uniquely accurate Old Testament prophecies about Jesus’ death and resurrection to the list of extraordinary proofs.
Back to extraordinary proof #2: the verified pure, unadulterated New Testament text clearly documents Jesus’ resurrection. (Mt 28:7; Mk 16:6; Lk 24:6; Jn 20:18; Acts 2:32; Rom 1:1-4; 1 Cor 15:3-8; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; Pil 3:10; Col 1:18; 1 Th 1:10; 1 Tim 3:16; 2 Tim 2:8; Heb 13:20; 1 Pt 1:3; Rev 1:18)
Jesus’ resurrection is presented as factual and true throughout the New Testament as these few selected scripture show.
Fifth, Jesus’ existence including his death and claims the resurrection are well documented by secular sources, even some non-Christian.
Sixth, archaeological discoveries and history have confirmed the existence of places and practices and customs in connection with Jesus’ death.
Seventh, people in connection with Jesus’ death have been confirmed by historical an archaeological sources. Examples are Annas, Caiphus and Pontius Pilate.
Eighth, Jesus went to extraordinary links to confirm his resurrection to doubting Thomas. (John 20:24-29) Thomas puts his hand into the whole in Jesus side and observed the holes in Jesus’ hands in Jesus’ materialized, resurrected body.
All of this, taken together, provides extraordinary evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. Like some in the first century, some today “demand signs,” whereas Bible-believing Christians “preach Christ crucified”, which is nothing more than “foolishness” to unbelievers. (1 Corinthians 1:22-23 NIV) However, since “all Scripture is God-breathed,” it is very “useful for teaching” true facts, and “training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” including providing extraordinary proof of Jesus’ resurrection. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV) There is nothing more that we need.
In all four Gospels, people demand signs from Jesus, but he tells them his death and resurrection would be sufficient evidence in and of themselves. (Matthew 12:38-40; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; Luke 11:29-30; John 2:18-22; John 8 30; John 8:62) Likewise today, this teaching about Jesus is considered by many to be difficult and offensive. (John 6:60-61)
“Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm.” (2 Timothy 2:19 CSB; NIV) It doesn’t matter who believes or doesn’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection – truth doesn’t change. Belief is optional. “Let the one who is thirsty [for truth and life] come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17)