How well can you support your belief in the resurrection of Jesus? Let’s have a quiz to find out! Below are 20 questions about the evidence used to support the claim that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. These are all things you could use to answer a friend if they asked you, “Why do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead?” Let’s face it, if you don’t know any of the evidence, the only response you will be able to give is to sing the old, old song, “You ask me how I know he lives, he lives within my heart!”  And honestly, no one wants to hear you sing an answer. Okay, it’s quiz time. How well do you know your evidence for the resurrection? As always, no cheating, no calling a pastor and no wagering. We begin! 

  1. Mark’s source for the resurrection account is very interesting in that

a. It is extremely short.
b. It is extremely early; at most, only 10 years separate it from Jesus’ crucifixion.
c. It is extremely large print.
d. It is extremely important (hence, the expression, “Mark that down!”

2. Why does the story of Joseph of Arimathea help us trust Mark’s account?

a. It adds a comic touch.
b. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, but early Christian writings were very hostile towards the Jewish leaders and saw them as responsible for Jesus’ death.  Why then would Mark include something positive about one of them unless it was true.
c. Arimathea was known in the ancient world for being an honest city.
d. Mark and Joseph were friends.

3. Why is it important that Mark tells us that Jesus first appeared to the women after he had risen from the dead?

a. It shows us that Jesus had a high view of women.
b. It shows us that the principle, “Ladies first,” ought to guide our lives, just as it guided Jesus’.
c. It shows us that it must be true since women in the first century had such a low status that they could not serve as legal witnesses; why would Mark include this unless it was true?
d. It shows us again that the disciples were cowardly since, instead of going to the tomb, they remained in hiding.

4. What was the earliest Jewish argument against the resurrection?

a. The disciples stole the body.
b. Dead men do not rise from the dead.
c. We could also be resurrected from the dead.  We just don’t want to.
d. Jesus faked his own death.

5. Why didn’t the Jewish leaders simply produce Jesus’s body and put an end to all this Resurrection talk?

a. Jewish law prohibits anyone from touching a dead body.
b. By the time the resurrection was being preached, the body had decomposed.
c. They couldn’t remember where Jesus’ tomb was.
d. There was no body to produce because the tomb was empty.

6. How do we know 1 Corinthians 15 is not filled with legendary exaggeration?

a. Because it is one of the oldest traditions in the New Testament.
b. It was written within 5 to 8 years after Jesus’ death.
c. You need several generations for the legends to develop.
d. It doesn’t read like a legend.
e. All the above.

7. Why does 1 Cor. 15 list many of the people to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection?

a. There is strength in numbers.
b. Paul was paid by his publisher by the word (more words, more names, more money)
c. It shows that there are still eyewitnesses alive who could collaborate Paul’s account of the resurrection.
d. It shows Paul knew a lot of very important and well-known people. 

8. Why do we believe that the appearance to Peter is credible?

a. Paul didn’t like Peter, so the only reasonable explanation for why he includes this story is that it actually happened.
b. Nothing else could explain Peter’s transformation (from Peter, the failure of a disciple who denied even knowing Jesus to Peter, the bold and passionate follower of Jesus who leads the church and who was eventually martyred for his faith).
c. Because Luke goes to great depths to describe this appearance in Acts 3.
d. Because Mark is Peter’s nephew and would know such things intimately.

9. What is left out of the account of Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter after the resurrection?

a. What was said.
b. How much Peter cried in grief.
c. The number of times Peter said, “I am so sorry.”
d. How many of the other disciples were present at this meeting.

10. Why is it important that Paul tells us that Jesus appeared to over 500 people at the same time?

a. It tells us how efficient Jesus was in his post resurrection appearances.
b. It tells us how popular Jesus was after the resurrection.
c. It eliminates the possibility that these appearances are simply hallucinations since mass hallucinations are extremely unlikely.
d. It proves that people back then had much better hearing than we do today.

11. How would Jews in the first century view Jesus as a result of his crucifixion?

a. Very unlucky.
b. Cursed by God.
c. A national hero who stood up against Rome.
d. A prophet in the line of Isaiah and Jeremiah.

12. What in the teachings of the Old Testament would lead the disciples to believe that Jesus would be bodily raised from the dead?

a. Because Jesus kept the Mosaic law perfectly.
b. Because Jesus fulfilled the promise that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
c. Because Moses visited Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration.
d. Nothing.

13. The resurrection was taught in the Old Testament, but the OT understood that the resurrection was to have these two features. What are they?

a. The resurrection would occur at the end of time and to all believers at once.
b. The resurrection would be announced by trumpets, and angels would sing “Hallelujah!”
c. The resurrection would happen in the spring, sometime after the end of the Old Testament, but before the coming of the Messiah.
d. The resurrection would occur for believing Jews first, then 7 years later, for believing Gentiles.

14. What accounts for the change in the apostles’ lives? What transformed them from being despairing, broken cowards to a group of people who went out and changed their world for Christ?

a. Only the resurrection.
b. Only great guilt for abandoning Jesus in the garden.
c. Only the preaching of Paul.
d. Only seeing the desperate need to replace Judaism with a more gracious religion.

15. What would we have to say about the disciples if they were so psychologically wounded that they experienced hallucinations of the risen Jesus?

a. They would have had an extremely hard time convincing others that Jesus had risen from the dead.
b. They must have been filled with guilt.
c. There must have been something in the brownies.
d. They found healing in the Jerusalem Church.

16. What is the best explanation for how the early church came into existence and proclaimed a message of hope unlike anything ever heard of before, while enduring terrible persecution, including the martyrdom of all of its leaders?

a. There’s no stopping an idea whose time has come.
b. Jesus had handpicked outstanding individuals who could lead the church after his departure.
c. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the only thing that could have brought the early church into existence.
d. A growing Roman interest in religions that focused on good morals and social justice.

17. What is at the very heart of the earliest Christian testimony? 

a. Be good to one another.
b. Don’t give up hope.
c. The risen Jesus is Lord of Lords.
d. Jesus was God’s prophet and a great moral teacher.

18. Read the following quote: “Why should we not band together to invent all the miracles and resurrection appearances which we never saw and let us carry the shams even to death! Why not die for nothing? Why dislike torture and whipping inflicted upon us for no good reason? Let us go out to all nations and overthrow their institutions and denounce their gods! And even if we don’t convince anyone, at least we’ll have the satisfaction of drawing down on ourselves the punishment for our own deceit.” (Eusebius, 3rd cent.)  This quote shows:

a. That the disciples were indeed deceivers! Shame on them!
b. That Eusebius is a funny name.
c. That it made absolutely no sense for the disciples to invent the story of the resurrection and bring down punishment upon themselves.
d. That people like long quotes.

19. Some people say that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, and what we have in the New Testament is a legend.  Which of the following answers disproves this idea?

a. The style of the gospel accounts is dramatically different from myths and legends in that there are no overblown, spectacular, or exaggerated comments.
b. The function of a legend varies from culture to culture.
c. There was not enough time for a legend or a myth to develop since these things need at least two or three generations minimum after the event to take hold.
d. The New Testament is filled with legends.  It’s the meaning that is important.

20. Some people say Jesus didn’t rise physically from the dead but appeared to the apostles in visions sent by God (visions of the exalted Christ in heaven).  Which of the following would argue against this idea?

a. God doesn’t send visions anymore; you have to use UPS.
b. If these visions were sent by God, the disciples would have believed that Jesus was translated into heaven, not resurrected from the dead.
c. This does not explain why that tomb was empty.
d. This doesn’t explain how Jesus could become Lord.
e. As long as Jesus is Lord, it doesn’t matter how it happened.
f. A, B and C.
g. B, C, and E.
h. B and C.

Sometimes, I wonder if it is all true. God seems too distant.  The belief in a good God seems to be negated by the amount of unjust suffering in the world. The idea of an eternal hell seems to contradict a loving God. At times, science seems to explain away our need for God. And the Bible is filled with mysteries. And sometimes, I just can’t wrap my head around how the church can be God’s people and be responsible for so much evil and harm in the world.  And so, I find myself asking, “Am I absolutely sure God exists?” And each time, I respond with the same answer. “I believe in the God of the Bible because I believe in the resurrection of Jesus.” See, the resurrection is my anchor point. With it, all my other questions fall into place. Without it, everything is up for grabs. But I believe in the resurrection. And I don’t believe simply because my heart is strangely warmed by the thought of God, but because I cannot escape the rigor of the evidence that says Jesus rose physically from the dead, leaving us more than sufficient evidence in the form of an empty tomb, numerous resurrection appearances, dramatically (miraculously?) changed lives, and the creation of a church that, had there been no resurrection, would never have come into existence and numerous other convincing proofs. In short, knowing that the case for the resurrection is built on solid evidence has kept me in the church instead of being tossed to and fro by every wind of doubt and worry and skepticism.  I am a Christian today because, while I have questions about a lot of other things, I believe in the resurrection. CS Lewis makes my case better than I can. He wrote: 

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen:
not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Amen and amen!

Oh, I almost forgot. Here are the answers (as if you really need them) . . . (1) b (2) b (3) c (4) a (5) d (6) e (7) c (8) b (9) a (10) c (11) b (12) d (13) a (14) a (15) a (16) c (17) c (18) c (19) c (20) h