Michael Licona coauthored the 2004 book, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. He addressed objections to the resurrection. One of them has been that people hallucinated the risen Christ. They wanted to see Him so badly that they did. Licona lived in Virginia Beach for a number of years. During that time, he got to know several Navy SEALs stationed there. He knew that few applicants made it through the intense, strenuous training. These guys were normally tight-lipped about their experiences, but Licona had heard enough to realize the stress these men had gone through. One of the infamous components of their qualification process was “Hell Week” – sleep deprivation, constant and vigorous exercise, verbal assault, team-building challenges, and much more. Some of the SEALs told Licona that 80% of the men experience hallucinations – but not the same hallucinations. One guy told him: “Hallucinations aren’t contagious. They’re personal. They are like dreams. I couldn’t wake my wife in the middle of the night and say ‘Honey, I’m dreaming of being in Hawaii. Quick, go back to sleep, join me in my dream, and we’ll have a free vacation.’”
Did people hallucinate the risen Lord? Even though Jesus had announced on at least three occasions the events that would take place in Jerusalem (Including “But on the third day, I will be raised from the dead.”), none of His followers would make sense of His warning until after the fact. They weren’t expecting to see Him. Those who went to His tomb weren’t thinking they would encounter anything other than a dead body.
The tomb couldn’t hold Him. What He promised really happened. My life was changed by what took place two thousand years ago. One day, perhaps soon, He will return. That won’t be a hallucination either!