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So far we have established a couple things:
(1) If Jesus did not raise from the dead, Christianity is not true.
(2) Virtually all New Testament historians believe that Jesus was a real flesh and blood human being, who was crucified by the Romans. He was buried, but days after, the tomb was found empty. Many people believed that they saw him alive soon after. They were transformed by their experiences, and they transformed the world with their testimony.
Even Jesus’s brother believed he had seen Jesus alive again. Previously, he had thought his older brother was crazy (see Mark 3:21), but after his experience he became a leader in the Church.
Did the early Christians really see Jesus risen from the dead, or were they somehow mistaken? Skeptical New Testament scholars agree with the Bible believers up to this point. If they admit the resurrection really happened, they would also have to admit (at least intellectually) that Christianity is true. Their explanation is that the disciples only believed they saw the resurrected Jesus.
The scholars agree that the historical accounts of the New Testament are reliable. No one denies that Jesus’s disciples were radically transformed by their experiences, and their testimony was reliable and sincere. Not only the disciples, but unbelievers like James and Saul, were changed forever. Saul of Tarsus, the most zealous persecutor of the Church, became the Apostle Paul, the most zealous preacher of the gospel.
Which is more reasonable: to believe Jesus rose from the dead, or to believe the early Christians were somehow mistaken?