March 29, 2021 • De Pree Journal
During all seasons of the year, but especially around the celebration of Easter, people wonder whether the resurrection of Jesus really happened. Did the crucified Jesus actually come back to life on the day we call Easter? Or were Jesus’s followers confused or deceived when they proclaimed that Jesus was risen? Or did the early Christians use the language of resurrection to signify that the spirit of Jesus had risen in their community, even though they knew the actual body of Jesus was in the tomb? Is there a reason to believe that the resurrection of Jesus actually happened? What historical evidence could possibly support the view that a dead man came back to life?
As you can imagine, hundreds of books, articles, and blog posts have been written on the historicity of the resurrection. Among these you can find almost any point of view, including the one I personally affirm. I believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead on Easter morning. His body, however, was not quite the same as it was before, since it was not limited by certain laws of physics (John 20:19). Yet he was able to eat food (Luke 24:40-43) and be touched (Matt 28:9, John 20:27). I also believe that there are solid historical reasons for believing that Jesus rose from the dead. One does not have to stop thinking critically in order to affirm the resurrection of Jesus.
What follows are links to a few discussions of the resurrection that I have found particularly enlightening.
Short Online Articles
A Short and Readable Book on the Case for the Resurrection
The Case for Easter by Lee Strobel (Zondervan, 2009)
A More Substantial and Longer Book on the Resurrection
The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona (Kregel, 2004)
A Masterful and Giant Scholarly Treatment of the Resurrection
The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N.T. Wright (Fortress, 2003). 848 pages!
My Book on the Reliability of the Gospels
Can We Trust the Gospels? by Mark D. Roberts (Crossway, 2007).
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.