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The Jesus Legend

• Greg Boyd

During this beautiful Easter season, the most important question arises: Did Jesus really rise from the dead? The Christian faith and all its transformative power depends upon the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. Greg shared the top 5 arguments about believing in Jesus’ resurrection along with some responses.

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During this beautiful Easter season, the most important question arises: Did Jesus really rise from the dead? The Christian faith and all its transformative power depends upon the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. To be sure, there are very good responses to the very hard questions regarding this.

Here are the top 5 arguments about believing in Jesus’ resurrection along with some responses. We will go in descending order.

5) The story of Jesus’ resurrection could just be a “legend.”

Because there have been some other parallel stories in history where a person supposedly was raised from the dead, some people believe that Jesus being raised from the dead is a legend. This argument doesn’t hold well because of the nature of legendary material. Legends usually take decades to develop and they usually need the right cultural environment to develop. Based on the 1st century Jewish context’s use of oral tradition to combat legend, as well as the very short amount of time that the Jesus account had to develop into the Gospel, it’s not that plausible that the Jesus story is a legend.

4) The story of Jesus’ resurrection could be a lie.

There have been different elaborate lies that people have told about fantastic things happening in history. However, Jesus’ resurrection does not fit into this category. When one thinks of all of the persecution the early Christians suffered as well as the hostile eyewitnesses who would have been looking for lies, it seems like there was tons of pressure to tell the truth if they weren’t doing so originally. We’d have to answer the question about why there aren’t any “defectors” from the lie…if it were a lie.

3) The Gospels seem to be contradictory.

When looking at any ancient written materials, it can be quite difficult to understand what one is reading. If one is not careful, one can take a misunderstanding or misapplication and believe that it’s an outright contradiction. This is definitely the case for the Gospels. There are multiple accounts of the same situation and we should expect there to be some level of difference in some of the details. The major thing is that the Gospels are wonderfully consistent in all of the main aspects of the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

2) There’s no corroborating evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.

If the record is to be set straight, one must understand something about history. Many times, the historical records of certain major events like the Persian wars or the movement of Alexander the Great were given to us by only one source. Even though we have so few sources that were written a long time after the event, no one really doubts the truth of the claims made in these books. With the Jesus story, we have four Gospels, the New Testament writings, and references by non-Christian historical sources like Josephus and Tacitus. Also, many of the sources are very close to the event itself. Taking all this into account, there actually seems to be more corroboration for the life of Jesus then there does for some other significant historical events.

1) Modern people can no longer believe in “miracles” like the resurrection.

Even our scientific discoveries today are showing us that life is not as “cut-and-dry” as many would like to think. There’s a lot more to the universe than we originally thought. It has taught us to be more humble about what we think is or isn’t possible. Taking this learning to the miraculous, it is not helpful to deny the possibility of miracles just because it hasn’t occurred in one’s experience. Things that are statistically improbable “miraculously” happen many times. Jesus’ resurrection fits into that category.

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Topics: Defense of Christian Faith, Resurrection, Transformation


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Focus Scripture:

  • Acts 1:3

    After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

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