If Jesus really was raised from the dead, then that historical phenomenon changes everything. If Jesus was who He claimed He was, well, that adds another dimension. There are those who scoff at Jesus and the claims of the resurrection. Rightfully so. We are even told by St. Paul in scripture that the idea of the resurrection was foolishness and a stumbling block to many even in the ancient world. Dead men don't just come back to life--especially those who had been crucified by the Romans. You see, the Romans had a 100% success rate of death by crucifixion. Once you were nailed to a cross, you were a goner. Plain and simple.
But one can even doubt the historical veracity of the crucifixion or the historical veracity of Jesus Himself by simply saying the Bible stories about Jesus were simply made up--lies--inventions of various communities or people who were starting a new religion. These things are actually floating around, and some have gained quite a bit of steam. Richard Dawkins even casts doubt on Jesus as a historical figure in his book The God Delusion.
Yet, there are really no serious ancient historians who doubt the existence of Jesus. None. Nearly all regard Him as a historical figure. Why? Frankly speaking, we have more evidence for Jesus than we have for folks like Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great.
There have been several lectures I have watched on YouTube from many experts in the field. Below are several videos. Nearly all of them are over an hour long. If you are truly interested in the evidence, I invite you to watch them and judge for yourself:
Mind you, none of these folks gives absolute proof that the New Testament is 100% accurate, but they are saying, quite frankly, that by the tools of ancient history, the Gospels are reliable. They can be defined as ancient biography based upon the testimony of eyewitnesses to the events surrounding the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Eyewitness testimony is not without its faults. It does not capture every detail of an event, and our brains tend to remember only certain points. However, there is something quite interesting about eyewitness testimony--it begs to be accepted as long as the witness is deemed credible. (The credibility of the eyewitnesses is dealt with very strongly, I think, by the videos.) I mean, as I have pointed out in a sermon illustration before--if you are on a date with your significant other, and she outlines her day for you. If you respond, "That sounds great, honey, but do you have any corroborating evidence to back up your assertions?", then your night is going to go downhill very, very fast.
If indeed the New Testament is reliable and we can get a sense of Jesus through those writings, then we must deal with two important claims: Jesus was raised from the dead, and Jesus claimed to be God.
Time demands me to stop today. Tomorrow is another day.