The prophet Isaiah predicted the death of the Messiah as a sacrifice for our sins in Isaiah chapter 53, where he wrote,
All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due. (Isaiah 53:6-8)
In this same chapter the prophet also predicts His resurrection from the dead.
But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:10)
The words of the prophet were fulfilled in the resurrection of Yeshua and there are some good historical reasons for us to believe that Jesus rose from the grave.
Let’s look at the basic facts of the matter:
Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical person who was legally executed.
We learn this fact from Syrian, Roman, and Christian sources, as well as Jewish sources such as the Talmud. The New Testament also details Jesus’ death and resurrection and is considered one of the best resources for information we have about first century Judaism.
Jesus’ tomb was found empty after His death and burial.
We learn this from multiple witnesses within the New Testament, who also record that the High Priest, who opposed Jesus, acknowledged that the tomb was empty. These claims in the New Testament are supported by a lack of counter-narrative saying the body was found, and the lack of archaeological or literary reports about a shrine commemorating Jesus’ grave.
Jesus’ disciples claimed to see Him alive after His death.
They claimed to see Him, talk with Him, touch Him, and eat with Him over a period of 40 days after His death. He appeared to over 500 people at the same time, which could only have happened in public.
Some of Jesus’ opponents claimed to see Him alive after His death.
Rabbi Saul of Tarsus was a bitter opponent of Jesus, and yet he started believing in Jesus and claimed to see Jesus alive. Yaacov (also known as James) was Jesus’ brother, yet he did not believe in Jesus before the crucifixion. However, after the resurrection of Jesus, Yaacov believed and claimed to see his brother alive after His death.
Within a generation, these disciples had spread the message of Yeshua’s resurrection throughout the world.
Unlike the spread of Islam, which came by the sword, the message of Jesus’ resurrection was spread through the disciples, who were willing, in some cases, to lose their lives for the belief that Jesus was Messiah and the belief that He rose from the grave.
How can we otherwise explain these historical events?
What do you think?