Looking at the evidence and the possibilities, we can conclude that Jesus was actually crucified and died, and that He was then buried in a rich man’s tomb. The Christian claim is that on the day after the Jewish sabbath, or in other words, on Sunday morning, Jesus’ followers went to the tomb only to discover Jesus’ body not there and would later have encounters with Jesus. Can this claim possibly be true? Aren’t there other theories that could explain what happened?
There are at least three different theories that seek to provide an alternative explanation to the Resurrection. One such attempt to explain away the disciples’ having seen Jesus is sometimes called the Vision Theory or Hallucination Theory. This proposes that the sightings the disciples claim to have had were actually just hallucinations. They didn’t really happen at all. But there are a couple of big issues with this theory. First, there has never been a documented case of multiple people having the same hallucination. And second, which is a problem for many of these attempts, if the disciples were just hallucinating this, the Romans and/or the Jews would have produced Jesus’ body in order to put a stop to the rising uproar about Jesus.
A second idea is that the disciples stole the body and then began to try to make people believe that Jesus had raised from the dead. But the disciples never really understood or believed what Jesus had been telling them about His resurrection. In fact, they were despondent in the face of Jesus’ death. Further, this little band would have been unable to get past the guards that had been assigned to Jesus’ tomb, and unlikely to be able to move the stone. Finally, we see that all of Jesus’ disciples (minus Judas) were willing to go to prison and ultimately be put to death for proclaiming the resurrection. If they knew it was a lie that they had made up, most if not all of them would have disavowed the claim before being put to death.
A third option is that someone else stole Jesus’ body. But no one else had a motive. And then we run into two of the previous problems – how could this “someone else” get past the Roman guards, and the disciples’ visions of a resurrected Jesus would have to be hallucinations, which doesn’t make sense.
After considering the various possibilities and theories, the claim that actually fits the facts and makes the most sense is that Jesus was in fact physically resurrected. If Jesus was physically resurrected, it is likely that the rest of His teachings were true as well. If this is not already a cause for celebration for you, then as strongly as I am able, I urge you to dig deeper into what Jesus and the Bible teaches.