Jesus on Trial
Dr. Simon Greenleaf decided to put Jesus’ resurrection on trial by examining the evidence. Greenleaf helped Harvard Law School gain widespread credibility. He also wrote the three-volume legal masterpiece A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, which has been called the “greatest single authority in the entire literature of legal procedure.” The U.S. judicial system today still relies on rules of evidence established by Greenleaf.
Greenleaf wondered if Jesus’ resurrection would hold up in a court of law. Focusing his brilliant legal mind on the facts of history, Greenleaf began applying his rules of evidence to the case of Jesus’ resurrection. The more Greenleaf investigated the record of history, the more evidence he discovered supporting the claim that Jesus had indeed risen from the tomb.
He documents his case for Jesus’ resurrection in his book, Testimony of the Evangelists. So, what was that evidence? Greenleaf observed several dramatic changes that took place shortly after Jesus died, the most baffling being the behavior of the disciples. He argues, “it would have been impossible for the disciples to persist with their conviction that Jesus had risen if they hadn’t actually seen the risen Christ.” Applying his own rules of evidence to the facts, he accepted the resurrection as the best explanation for the events that took place immediately following Jesus’ crucifixion.
Many other legal experts, including former Chief Justice of England, Lord Darling, agree with Greenleaf’s verdict on the case for Jesus’ resurrection. Darling writes,
“There exists such overwhelming evidence…factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true.”
So what does Jesus’ resurrection mean to you and me? Prior to his crucifixion, Jesus explained why his resurrection is so important to us. He told one of his followers, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”
If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, his words wouldn’t have any meaning to our lives. But if his resurrection really happened, then Jesus is the only one who can answer life’s most important questions:
“Who am I?”
“Why am I here?”
“Where am I going after I die?
If you would like to find out how Jesus answers these important questions, click the following link.
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© 2012 JesusOnline Ministries. This article is a supplement to Y-Jesus magazine by Bright Media Foundation & B&L Publications: Larry Chapman, Chief Editor.