Now that Easter is past for another year, there may be some who agree with Pilate:
What is Truth?
There are many claims bandied about whether Christianity should be believed or not:
- It works
- It is a fantasy
- It makes a more stable culture
- It is full of hypocrites
- Just believe it
- Only ignorant and backward people believe it.
But for any proposition, there is only one accurate question to start with:
Is it true?
Easter is the crowning point of the Gospel. We look to it as proof of the truths that Jesus proclaimed. If it is true then all the Gospel flows from it, if it is not true then we would be better off believing in a log! Or as the Apostle Paul said:
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
1 Corinthians 15:14-19 (NIV)
I’d like to take a look at the Resurrection by asking a series of yes/no questions. I’m not going to try to give proofs to them, for those proofs are easily discovered through a simple Google search on the internet.
Did Jesus rise from the dead?
No, He did not rise from the dead.
Was He crucified?
No, He was not.
Did He really exist?
No, He was a myth.
Yes, he was a good teacher who was misunderstood and became a legend.
We have the evidence of the New Testament that was written within 60 years of the events. We have existing copies that date to the 2nd century. The claim that it was written many centuries later is patently false.
We have evidence from outside the Bible that Christianity was in full swing long before any myth or legend surrounding Him could have formed. He lived around AD 30 and we have references to Him and to Christians in the latter part of the same century. If He lived and didn’t die, his disciples were the greatest hoaxters that ever lived.
Yes, He was crucified.
Did He die?
No. He passed out and revived later, then fooled His disciples into believing He had risen from the dead.
So, He endured a beating and crucifixion by the experts in inflicting pain and damage, then somehow appeared healthy enough to fool the men who knew Him best?
Yes. Then what happened to the body?
His disciples stole his body, either from the tomb or before and created the story of His rising.
According to church history, 11 of the 12 apostles ending up being martyred for what they taught. It is stretching credulity to believe none of them would recant what they knew to be a lie.
The disciples misplaced the body and fooled themselves into believing He had risen.
Why then didn’t the Jewish leaders just produce the body? Also, the disciples had watched Him die and reasonably thought they were next, why would they believe He had risen?
Yes, He rose from the dead, thus proving He was who He claimed to be.
So then, we are left with 3 choices about Jesus;
If he was a legend or a lie, then go on about your life and leave us poor deluded folk in our ignorance.
BUT if the resurrection happened, then the worst decision of your life would be to ignore it and pretend He doesn’t exist.