Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection (Harvest House, 1996) p. 9
How does Jesus’ death give evidence for the resurrection?
If it can be established that Jesus did die on the cross and was seen alive after His death by many credible witnesses, no one can logically doubt He was resurrected from the dead. The evidence may be ignored, but it cannot be denied. As difficult as it may be for some people to fathom, no other logical choice exists. The noted philosopher David Hume once remarked, “That a dead man should come to life has never been observed in any age or country.” So, if Jesus Christ provided evidence which has convinced over a billion people throughout history that He actually did rise from the dead, it is clearly the most momentous event ever. But before we can examine the resurrection appearances, we must first prove beyond all doubt that Jesus really died on the cross.
That Jesus really died is doubted by no objective observer familiar with the evidence. In his Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus, Dr. Gary Habermas points out that historical evidence exists for the death of Christ even from non-Christian sources, including Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 55-120) whom some acknowledge as the greatest historian of ancient Rome; the noted Jewish historian Josephus (A.D. 37-97); the early (Tannaitic) Talmud; and other accounts. “Of all the events in Jesus’ life, more ancient sources specifically mention His death than any other single occurrence. Of the thirty-nine ancient sources, twenty-two relate this fact, often with details. Eleven of these sources are non-Christian, which exhibits an incredible amount of interest in this event.”*
*For documentation, see Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection.