When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
It was early on that Sunday morning. Still grieving, still in despair, the women went to the tomb to minister to the body of Jesus.
But in the event that changed the history of mankind, the tomb was empty.
No other faith, no other belief system can point to an empty tomb.
Writing in America Magazine, William Lane Craig says:
Six lines of evidence constitute a powerful case that Jesus’ tomb was indeed found empty on the first day of the week by a group of his women followers. As a historical fact, this seems to be well established. According to D. H. Van Daalen (1972), “It is extremely difficult to object to the empty tomb on historical grounds; those who deny it do so on the basis of theological or philosophical assumptions.” But those assumptions cannot alter the facts themselves. New Testament scholars seem to be increasingly aware of this. According to Jacob Kremer, a New Testament critic who has specialized in the study of the resurrection: “By far most exegetes hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb.” In fact in a bibliographical survey of over 2,200 publications on the resurrection in English, French and German since 1975, the researcher Gary Habermas found that 75 percent of scholars accepted the historicity of the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb.
I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . .
E. M. Blaiklock
Professor of Classics
There exists no document from the ancient world, witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies . . . Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational bias.
If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.
F. F. Bruce
For the New Testament of Acts, the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.
A. N. Sherwin-White
Classical Roman Historian
Josh McDowell writes:
But the most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ?
Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts–prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits–we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this “risen Christ .”
As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking.
Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.
He is risen indeed!
Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
~ Charles Wesley