In an outstanding article by William Lane Craig, he provides an overview of the overwhelming evidence that supports the historical event of the resurrection of Jesus. Although some argue the resurrection was a legend rather than a factual event, Craig notes, “The story is simple and lacks legendary development. The empty tomb story is uncolored by the theological and apologetical motifs that would be characteristic of a later legendary account.
“Perhaps the most forceful way to appreciate this point is to compare it with the accounts of the empty tomb found in apocryphal gospels of the second century. For example, in the Gospel of Peter a voice rings out from heaven during the night, the stone rolls back of itself from the door of the tomb, and two men descend from heaven and enter the tomb. Then three men are seen coming out of the tomb, the two supporting the third. The heads of the two men stretch up to the clouds, but the head of the third man overpasses the clouds. Then a cross comes out of the tomb, and a voice asks, ‘Hast thou preached to them that sleep?’ And the cross answers, ‘Yea.’ In the Ascension of Isaiah, Jesus comes out of the tomb sitting on the shoulders of the angels Michael and Gabriel. These are how real legends look: Unlike the gospel accounts, they are colored by theological motifs.” (Click here to read the full article.)