Written by Jerry Robinson
Originally Posted on 3/21/2005
Recently, I saw a Christian television program where a minister had taken his video camera out into the street to ask young people how many of the 10 commandments they could name. Unfortunately, most of the respondents could not name more than a few of the commandments. (Some did not know a single commandment!) Then, the minister asked the same young people how many beers they could name. Suddenly, the respondents became experts in their fields as they spouted off various brands of beers. The minister's point was made -- loud and clear.
It is truly heartbreaking that our culture is so ignorant of the deep things of God. But it is not surprising as many in our nation have fought so hard to prevent any promotion of Judeo-Christian values in our nation's schools and public venues. We have reaped what we have sown…
All of this spiritual dumbing down of our culture has even threatened to spill over into the body of Christ. As Christians, we are called to always be ready "to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."
(1 Peter 3:15)
The Resurrection of Christ
If you only learn to defend one doctrine in your lifetime, learn to defend the resurrection of Christ. Well over three hundred verses are concerned with the subject of Jesus' resurrection in the New Testament and with a little bit of research, you will discover that the historical facts are on your side.
Christianity postulates that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of man died for our sins, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and then rose from the dead three days later.
The Nay Sayers
Opponents try to disclaim the Resurrection by erecting several theories:
1) Hallucination Theory: Jesus didn't rise -- The apostles were merely deceived
Reality: Hallucinations usually last a few seconds or minutes; rarely hours. This one hung around for forty days.
2) Myth Theory: The apostles were mythmakers
Reality: The gospels contain many embarrassing stories about the disciples that could have easily been omitted to present themselves in a better light. (See Matt. 14:30 or Luke 22:54 among others.)
3) Conspiracy Theory: The apostles were deceivers
Reality: This one is almost laughable when you consider the persecution that the apostles endured for their so-called 'myth.' (See more on this below)
4) Swoon Theory: Jesus really didn't die
Reality: This one might be my all time favorite... This theory states that Jesus didn't really die on the cross rather, he merely fainted from exhaustion and loss of blood. Everyone thought He was dead, but later He resuscitated and the disciples thought it to be a resurrection.
Fact: Over 500 People witnessed the resurrected Christ
The Real Proof: THE DISCIPLES' LIVES
"The apostles were either deceived or deceivers. Either supposition is difficult, for it is not possible to imagine that a man has risen from the dead. While Jesus was with them, he could sustain them; but afterwards, if he did not appear to them, who did make them act? The hypothesis that the Apostles were idiots is quite absurd. Follow it out to the end, and imagine these twelve men meeting after Jesus' death and conspiring to say that he has risen from the dead. This means attacking all the powers that be. The human heart is singularly susceptible to fickleness, to change, to promises, to bribery. One of them had only to deny his story under these inducements, or still more because of possible imprisonment, tortures and death, and they would all have been lost. Follow that out." -- Blaise Pascal
As Josh McDowell likes to put it: 'Imagine twelve poor, fearful peasants changing the hard-nosed Roman world with a lie.'
Question: If the apostles did truly lie about the resurrection of Christ, what advantage did it bring them?
Answer: They were hated, scorned, persecuted, excommunicated, imprisoned, tortured, exiled, crucified, boiled alive, roasted, beheaded, disemboweled and fed to lions.
SIMPLY PUT: No Christians believed the resurrection was a conspiracy; if they had, they wouldn't have become Christians.
THE TRUTH IS: "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin." (Romans 5:12 KJV) By living a sinless life and then sacrificing himself for the collective sins of humanity, Christ fulfilled the spirit of the law of the Old Testament and established a New Covenant with those who would receive him.
Those who attempt to deny the resurrection are really just trying to avoid the real question: Who was Jesus?
C.S. Lewis answers this question best when he said: "Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or he was the Lord." Lewis adds: "You cannot say: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." (Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis)
Jesus' claims are irrefutable:
- Christ claimed to be God.
- Christ said he had authority to forgive sins.
- Christ performed miracles and walked on water.
- Christ also accepted worship from human beings.
Who is Jesus? He is the Son of the Living God who died for the sins of humanity and was raised from the dead that we too might have life eternal. He is not dead, He is alive and He lives forevermore!
"I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead."
-- Professor Thomas Arnold (Chair of modern history at Oxford, and Author of History of Rome)