“The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.’” Matthew 28:8-10, NLT
Scripture unanimously depicts the personal and bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead by the power of God, but numerous other attempts to explain it have emerged:
(1) Jesus never really died—instead, he lost consciousness and regained it after being laid in a cool tomb (the swoon theory); (2) the disciples of Jesus stole his body and then lied about a resurrection (28:12‑15); (3) the disciples had hallucinations and dreams that they mistakenly confused with a physical resurrection; and (4) the resurrection is a personal experience in the heart of faith, not an event in history.
Behind such suggestions lies a deep-seated skepticism toward the supernatural, or at least toward whether a miraculous event could have happened. Such suggestions fail to take into account the fact that for NT authors and their audiences, the term “resurrection” could only have meant the literal reanimation of a dead corpse (see 1 Cor 15).
The historicity of Jesus’ resurrection and the historical reliability of the biblical accounts are supported by (1) the evidence of an empty tomb; (2) the presence of women as witnesses (no one would have made up a story with women as witnesses, since the testimony of a woman was considered to be less reliable than that of a man); (3) the varied but basically unified accounts of Jesus’ postresurrection appearances; (4) the transformation of the disciples from a fearful band into fearless followers; and (5) the disciples’ ability to overcome the scandal of following a crucified man (Deut 21:23 indicates that one who dies such a death has fallen under God’s curse).
Judaism had no concept of a dying and rising Messiah that could conveniently be applied to Jesus. Inventing something no one would find conceivable would have made little sense. The most reasonable conclusion is just what the NT announces: that Jesus did, in fact, rise from the dead.