The second minimal fact related to the resurrection of Jesus Christ that Dr. Gary Habermas and Dr. Michael Licona wrote about in their book, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, is that Jesus’ disciples believed that He rose and appeared to them.
This point has a lot to unpack, and it is first important to realize that this does not immediately affirm that Jesus Christ did actually appear to His disciples. It is only significant that they believed He did.
“The disciples' willingness to suffer and die for their beliefs indicates that they certainly regarded those beliefs as true. The case is strong that they did not willfully lie about the appearances of the risen Jesus. Liars make poor martyrs.”
In response to this point, I’m sure that some of you are thinking that there are plenty of devout Muslims, Hindus or members of some other religion who die for their beliefs. That is true. However, a modern-day Muslim is not a direct witness to the revelation that the prophet Mohammed had in the cave near Mecca. A modern-day Muslim is not in a position to affirm the truth of the story just like a modern-day Christian did not witness the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Modern-day believers in all major world religions are relying on the testimony of other people.
The disciples had a different perspective on their circumstances. They had been with Jesus for a good deal of time before his literal crucifixion (minimal fact #1), and they claimed to be witnesses of the resurrected Jesus to the extent that it ultimately led to their own executions. However, they would have genuinely known if they really had these experiences. They also would have known if they were lying about the entire thing, and the fact that they were willing to die because of their belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ says something incredibly powerful about their confidence in what they had witnessed.
“Extreme acts do not validate the truth of their beliefs, but willingness to die indicates that they regarded their beliefs as true.”
This of course does not mean that Jesus Christ literally rose from the dead either, but there’s no doubt that something happened to the disciples. Group hallucinations scientifically don’t happen, but there was something that took place. I’m not jumping right to the resurrection of course, but when we ultimately try to figure out what happened at this point in history, we need to have a dimension of the story that explains the radical transformation of the disciples. They went from a bunch of average men who actually ran away on the night of Jesus’ crucifixion to a bunch of men who were transformed and willing to die for following Jesus. Going from denial to martyrdom is a big jump that needs to be explained.
 Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), Kindle Locations 533-534, Kindle Edition.
 Ibid., Kindle Locations 535-536.