And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. (Acts 13:26ff—NKJV)

Simple logic ought to be sufficient to abolish from the unbiased mind any doubts about some of the fundamental claims found in the Bible. It would seem to be “child’s play” to recognize that the obvious design of creation would lead the average man to conclude that there is a Grand Designer. Likewise, the inexplicable fact that the Jews have experienced almost universal persecution throughout the millennia, worse than any other people on this earth, ought to cause the atheist to question his conclusion that there is no God who has claimed a Chosen People. A similar difficulty exists for anyone trying to explain away the general history of the persecutions leveled upon godly, good-deed-doing Christians around the world, apart from the fact that there really is a Satan who opposes God. The mere fact that masses of mankind can be duped to think that despotic tyrants are good for them, or that the murder of innocent human lives is a virtuous thing, should loudly proclaim that there is something fundamentally and spiritually amiss within the soul of every man, known as the sin nature.

Similarly, logic should dictate that it should be universally agreed that Jesus Christ walked among us, that He was crucified, and that He rose from the dead, just as He claimed. Since none of us were alive when these events happened, we must look logically at these events just as we would do so to verify any event that happened before we were born. We must return to the primary sources of the accounts that reveal what eyewitnesses saw and recorded.

The ancient extra-biblical records concerning Christ and key events surrounding His life include the writings of such contemporary luminaries as Josephus, Tacitus, Thallus and Pliny the Younger, though, of course, the most complete and most attested references are found in the Bible. It is fascinating to review the references concerning the resurrection of our Lord in the historical record found in the Book of Acts. It is here that the pivotal nature of the resurrection of the Savior is most ably illustrated. From the very beginning, the very day of the Lord’s resurrection, we know that the denial of the fact of the resurrection was a trumped-up myth concocted by the enemies of Christ (here is a proof of the resurrection in itself) and repeated by those who had much to lose if the fact of the resurrection became known (Matthew 28:11–15). But despite the attempted lies, the early Christians (the eyewitnesses of the risen Savior) proclaimed to their contemporaries in Jerusalem what would seem to be fantastic claims of a crucified Savior brought back to life. But yet, not one of their hearers even attempted to deny the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1–8).

How can you know for sure that Jesus Christ rose from the dead? The book of Acts gives ample testament to the fact that both believers and unbelievers knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christ arose.

  • There is the prescription of the Apostolic Test (Acts 1:21–22)—an Apostle was one who had been taught by the Lord and was a witness of His resurrection. Only eyewitnesses to His resurrection can be Apostles.
  • There is Peter’s Preaching at Pentecost (2:23–24)—the mere fact that his words were accepted as reasonable by the general public in Jerusalem so soon after the resurrection is powerful evidence that the Savior’s resurrection was, and is, indisputable. Peter did not whisper his claim, he brazenly proclaimed it.
  • There is the Conviction and Conversion of three thousand people upon being told the following words: “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses!” (2:31–36).
  • This type of preaching did not last for only a day, it was an Ongoing Message declared to those who knew the reality that Jesus Christ had arisen. Peter preached, “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses” (3:14–15, 26).
  • This preaching, teaching, persuading, and proclaiming was Universal Among the Christians from “Day One”: “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul—and with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (4:32–35).

Illustrations in Acts go on and on attesting the undeniable fact that Jesus Christ is God’s Son proven by the fact that He rose from the grave thereby demonstrating to the world that He, indeed, is the only Savior of men (Acts 5:30, 10:39–41, 13:30–37, 17:2–3, 26:22–28). No wonder Romans 10:9–10 declares, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” You may “bet your life on it.” Trust and obey.