The Death and Resurrection of Christ
Muslims, denying that Jesus died on the cross, hold that no resurrection occurred. They do this not on the basis of the historical evidence but because the Qur'an simply denies that Jesus was crucified.' However, once again their beliefs fly in the face of all the evidence.
The following references are a listing of just some of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the sufferings of the Messiah and of their fulfillment in Jesus. We are told the Messiah would come in humility (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:6-9), would be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12; Matt. 26:15), would suffer tremendously (lsa. 50:6; Matt. 26:67), would be pierced and scourged (Isa. 53:5; Matt. 27:26: John 19:34), would not speak in His own defense (Isa. 53:7; Matt. 27:12-14), would be slain (Isa. 53:8; Luke 23:46), would die among thieves and intercede for the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Matt. 27:38; Luke 23:34), would be mocked (Ps. 22:7-8; Matt. 27:31, 39-40), would have his hands and feet pierced (Ps. 22:16; John 20:25-28), would have lots cast for his garments (Ps. 22:18; John 19:23-24), and would not have his bones broken (Ps. 34:20; John 19:33).
In the New Testament Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58). Those closest to Him made the same claim for Him (1 John 5:20; 2 Pet. 1:1). Jesus said that the ultimate proof validating His claims would be His resurrection from the dead (Matt 16:21; 17:9; John 2: 18-21).
If these events did not occur (Jesus' death and resurrection), one is faced with tremendously difficult questions. What accounts for the change in Peter, from being a coward who denied even knowing Jesus, into being a martyr? What accounts for the change of Saul, the greatest persecutor of the early church, into the apostle Paul, the greatest missionary of the early church (who also suffered martyrdom)? What accounted for the birth of the Christian church itself? Christianity was not spread by force. The first Christians had no worldly incentives to preach Jesus' death and resurrection. Conversely, all they could expect were revilements, persecution, and martyrdom. The only satisfactory answer that can be given to these questions is that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead, just as He promised.
Near the end of the eighteenth century La Revelliere-Lepeaux, a determined non-Christian, was attempting to replace Christianity with Theophilanthropy (a form of deism) as the religion of France. When he told Talleyrand his plans, "the cynical politician replied, 'All you have to do is get yourself hanged, and revive the third day.'"41
Indeed, Talleyrand very perceptively showed the main difference between Christianity and every other religion of the world. Jesus Christ raised Himself from the dead, thus verifying His claims to deity. Muhammad and all of the other founders of the various religions are still in the grave. Only Jesus has the power of life over death, as He said in John 11:25-26:
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if He dies, and everyone who lives and believes In Me shall never die.