Historians are in consensus that Jesus died by crucifixion. The great debate surrounds his resurrection from the dead. Christianity hinges on this great truth for if Christ did not rise from the dead, all of Christianity is in vain. But if it is true that He did indeed rise from the dead all of the amazing claims of Christianity must be true and if true we must examine what that means for our lives.
It is not difficult to find conclusive evidence that Jesus did rise from the dead.
Empty Tomb: The tomb was indeed empty. If the body was still in the tomb the Roman Soldiers would simply have produced the body and all the disciples claims would have ceased right there on the spot. Instead, the Romans accused the disciples of stealing the body.
Torture/Death: We can be certain the disciples did not steal the body for they endured torture for the message they proclaimed and eventually gruesome death. Consequently, they had nothing to gain by false testimony concerning Jesus Resurrection. It can therefore be determined that the disciples believed Jesus had risen and had not stolen the body. People will die for a sincerely held belief, but no one dies for something they know to be a lie. The disciples were in a unique position to know the truth and had nothing to gain by lying.
Embarrassing Testimony: When someone is fabricating a story they always make it sound as good as possible. First century women were not seen as credible sources. They could not even testify in court. However, the Gospels recount that it was women who first brought back the news of the empty tomb and that Christ had risen. Only a true recounting of an event would include embarrassing information that could harm the story rather than help it.
Eyewitness: There are early oral creeds that date back to within three years of the Resurrection that tell of Christ being raised from the dead. Also all the disciples were eyewitnesses to this truth. Also the first church began in Jerusalem. It would not have flourished there unless the people trusted the plethora of living witnesses of the ministry and Resurrection of Christ. Indeed, many of the members of the first church would have been eye witnesses themselves.
Enemy Testimony: Saul of Tarsus, a Jew, was a staunch enemy of the church even killing Christians. However, one day the Resurrected Jesus showed up to him and he, with the new name of Paul, became a follower of Christ and an apostle to the Church. He wrote a third of the New Testament. Only an experience with the truth could change such an opponent to a proponent of Christ.
The evidence for the Resurrection of Christ is far more extensive than the basic overview above, but it is easy to see that it demands thought and if believed it demands that one really think about the ramifications of such a belief.
C.S. Lewis wrote: "I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God." That is one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Therefore, Jesus is either a Liar, a Lunatic, or He is Lord. There are no other options. If he did rise from the dead as the evidence suggests He didn't lie, nor was He a lunatic. That only leaves one option. He is Lord.
The Case For the Resurrection of Jesus by Mike Licona
Paul Meets Muhammad: Resurrection Debate by Mike Licona
The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel