“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”
Paul isn’t saying, “If Jesus is still in the grave, then we’re mistaken.” He’s saying, “If Jesus is still in the grave, we’re all liars.”
It’s one thing to be mistaken; it’s another to be a false witness. Were the disciples liars when they said Christ was risen? If so, why would they lie? If Jesus was still in the grave, what did they have to gain?
Among the 12, all but the Apostle John died as martyrs. They were tortured, persecuted, stoned, crushed, humiliated, burned at the stake. They reddened the mouths of lions. Hypocrites and martyrs are not made of the same stuff. People tell lies to get out of trouble, not get into trouble. A man may live for a lie, but few if any will willingly die for a lie.
The disciples said, “Listen! We’ve seen Him! We’ve touched Him! We’ve handled Him!” Are you going to tell me Simon Peter, who tradition says was crucified upside down, was a con man? That John the apostle was a crook? That the Apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament was a known perjurer, deceiver, and false witness? These men would die for a lie?
Of course not. Jesus Christ has indeed risen, as they said!
If someone were to ask you, “What proof do you have that Jesus Christ really rose from the dead?”—what would you answer them? Are you prepared with a well-thought-out, logical answer?