5. Did the resurrection really happen?
Having eliminated the main arguments against Jesus’ resurrection due to their inconsistency with the facts, Morison began asking himself, “did it really happen?” Instead of looking for evidence against Jesus’ resurrection, he wondered how strong the case was for its actual occurrence. Several facts stood out.
Each eyewitness account reports that Jesus suddenly appeared bodily to his followers, the women first. Morison wondered why conspirators would make women central to the plot. In the first century, women had virtually no rights, personhood, or status. Morison reasoned that conspirators would have portrayed men, not women, as the first to see Jesus alive. And yet we read that women touched him, spoke with him, and were the first to find the empty tomb.
The disciples claim they saw Jesus on more than ten separate occasions. They say he showed them his hands and feet and told them to touch him. He ate with them and later, on one occasion, appeared alive to more than 500 followers.
In Caesarea, Peter told a crowd why he and the other disciples were so convinced Jesus was alive.
“We apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Israel and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by crucifying him, but God raised him to life three days later … We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
Morison realized that these early sightings of a risen Jesus by so many of his followers would have been virtually impossible to fake.