When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
(Mark 16:1-8 ESV)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a real problem for many in the contemporary western world. We are ‘enlightened’ people, aren’t we? It is a fact of history that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was a problem for those who lived in his time also. C.S. Lewis called our modern western view of ancient cultures, “chronological snobbery.” The Greco-Roman world of that time considered a bodily resurrection from the dead impossible. Although the Jews did believe in a coming resurrection and renewal of the earth, they did not believe, as Tim Keller says, “The idea of an individual being resurrected, in the middle of history, while the rest of the world continued on burdened by sickness, decay, and death, was inconceivable.”
Some have pointed to ancient mystery religions and assumed that the story of the resurrection of Jesus was borrowed from them. But the fact is that these accounts did not precede Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
Those pagan deities that supposedly rose from the dead, were not historical people, they were mythical characters. The fact that Jesus was a real historical person is indisputable. As historian Gary Habermas writes,”there is no known case of a mythical deity in the mystery religions where we have both clear and early evidence that a resurrection was taught prior to the late second century AD, obviously much later than the Christian message.”