One of the major proofs of the resurrection of Jesus is the dramatic change in the lives of His disciples.
The Gospel accounts are not flattering to the apostles (which is further evidence that they didn't fabricate the story). At the time of Christ's arrest and trial, all His apostles forsook Him and fled (Matthew 26:56). Peter, who vowed that he would always stand by Jesus, even cursed and swore in denying that he knew Him (verses 69-75).
Jesus, we remember, foretold Peter's weakness and even forewarned His apostles that they would also stumble because of their association with Him (verses 31-35).
Within a short time, however, we see a dramatic change. We find the apostles speaking to laige crowds and openly declaring that Jesus had risen from the dead. Far from running away and hiding, now they boldly confronted the civil and religious authorities with the fact that Jesus had been killed and raised to life again.
They defied orders threatening them with imprisonment if they continued to speak about this man Jesus (Acts 4:1-23). They courageously faced beatings and endured death threats because they preached that Jesus was alive and was the Messiah (Acts 5:17-42).
Whereas only weeks before they had denied they even knew Him, now nothing could stop them from openly publicizing what they obviously knew to be true. Only one explanation for their new unshakable belief even in the face of imprisonment and execution is plausible: They saw Jesus Christ alive after they knew He was dead. They spoke with Him, ate with Him, received extensive instructions from Him, spent time with Him and touched Him.
These men gave the remaining years of their lives, and ultimately life itself, for the One they knew had conquered death. Had they all been only participants in a giant hoax, could we believe these men would give their lives for something they knew to be a lie?
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