Although completely opposed to logic and their culture, the original disciples believed Jesus rose from the dead.
“That is why, as a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.”
- N.T. Wright
Did the apostles die as martyrs?
Dr. Sean McDowell addresses the reliability of the historical record regarding the fate of the apostles:
Does God Exist?
Margaret Manning, John Njoroge, Stuart Mcallister, and Nabeel Qureshi address how Christ's resurrection makes a powerful argument for the existence of God:
The cultural attitudes of the day:
Contemporary Jewish belief had no expectation of a dying Messiah.
According to Jewish law, Jesus’ execution as a criminal showed him out to be a heretic, a man literally under the curse of God (Deut. 21.23). The catastrophe of the crucifixion for the disciples was not simply that their Master was gone, but that the crucifixion showed, in effect, that the Pharisees had been right all along, that for three years they had been following a heretic, a man accursed by God!
Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone’s rising from the dead to glory and immortality before the general resurrection at the end of the world. All the disciples could do was to preserve their Master’s tomb as a shrine where his bones could reside until that day when all of Israel’s righteous dead would be raised by God to glory.