In response to my recent post The Resurrection of Jesus: Fact or Fiction? one person asked, “Is there any evidence outside the Bible?”. That’s a great question, and I’m glad it was asked. I’ll present some extra-biblical witness and other evidence to support this claim in the next several posts.
One piece of extra-biblical testimony comes from Ignatius.
Ignatius (A.D. c. 50-115), bishop of Antioch, was a native of Syria and student of the apostle John is reported to have “been thrown to the wild beasts in the colosseum at Rome.” His epistles were written during his journey from Antioch to the place of his martyrdom. At that time he would have undoubtedly been sober of mind. He says of Jesus:
“He was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate. He really, and not merely in appearance, was crucified, and died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.
He rose again in three days…
On the day of the preparation , then, at the third hour, He recieved the sentence from Pilate, the Father permitting that to happen; at the sixth hour He was crucified; at the ninth hour He gave up the ghost; and before sunset He was buried…
He who was Himself the Judge was judged by the Jews, falsely so called, and by Pilate the governor; was scourged, was smitten on the cheek, was spit upon; He wore a crown of thorns and a purple robe; He was condemned: He was crucified in reality, and not in appearance, not in imagination, not in deceit. He really died, and was buried, and rose from the dead.*
Ignatius of Antioch was adamant that Christ had really died, and really risen from the dead. His testimony supports what what we read in the New Testament.
In my next post I’ll share testimony to the resurrection from an ancient Jewish historian…
[*Quote cited in Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville. p. 211-212]