There’s a lot of stuff I’m not sure about in this life. I’m not sure if the Dodgers will ever win another World Series. I’m not sure if or when I’ll be able to retire. Heck, I’m still not completely sure what I’m going to do to make a living until I retire! But I am sure of a few things….
I am sure of the love of my wife, who puts up with me and tolerates all the wackiness that I come up with (well, mostly… bad jokes occasionally catch me an elbow!) I’m also sure that the sun will rise tomorrow, and that there will be both sunny days and rainy days ahead.
But when it comes to believing in something that I can build my life on, I keep coming back to the Resurrection. I am sure that Jesus died on a cross, that he was raised from the dead, and that we can have restored relationship with God because of the work Jesus did (and is doing) on our behalf. That is my foundation, the Rock on which I stand.
On my blog, I will occasionally throw out some thoughts and ideas that will seem a bit “out there” to you. In fact, you just may end up thinking I am a bit of a nut case… a few cards short of a full deck, perhaps! But if you’ll notice, my “out there” topics are usually related to non-core issues, tangential stuff. The most basic beliefs of Christianity – that God sent his Son to earth in the person of Jesus, and that Jesus died and rose again – I believe those things wholeheartedly. If I’m a nut or a fool, I hope that I’ll be a fool for Christ – trying to reconcile His Word with wordly viewpoints in a way that makes sense.
When I dropped out of church for a while in my mid-20’s as I grappled with some questions about the faith, one thing that brought me back was the compelling nature of the resurrection. If Jesus truly died and rose again, then that indicates to me that he is who he said he was, and he said that he is the Son of God. If Jesus rose again, I can trust that his teachings are true, and I can trust the Bible as God’s Word. The resurrection is my foundation. Similarly, Jewish folks may look at the exodus from Egypt and the miracles that God performed through Moses as their foundation. They know that their forefathers were rescued from Egypt because the stories have been passed down from generation to generation, and if the stories are true, then they can trust in God, etc., etc….
So, why do I believe in the resurrection? It is the first belief that people attack as being unrealistic, and who can blame them – men don’t rise from the dead, after all! Most non-believers I’ve talked with will agree that, yeah, Jesus was a good teacher, but this whole thing about being God and rising from the dead… that’s just a little too hard to believe. In my case, when I read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and was exposed to his logical arguments for the historicity of the resurrection, I became convinced. Other authors have made similar, in-depth arguments – Lee Strobel (“The Case for Christ”) and Josh McDowell (“Evidence that Demands a Verdict”) to name a few. By the way, both Strobel and Lewis were brilliant guys that did NOT believe in God… but when they tried to prove that God did not exist, they ended up proving to themselves that He did.
Why do I believe in the resurrection of Jesus? There is an overwhelming amount of eyewitness testimony. Hundreds of people saw Jesus after his resurrection, including all 11 of his remaining disciples (Judas the betrayer had already killed himself). The key question is, how reliable was their eyewitness testimony? What evidence should we consider?
I’ll lay out the key evidence (the same evidence that convinced Lewis, Strobel and others) in my next post, but until then, I’ve got a scenario for you to mull over.
Imagine that you were a contemporary of Jesus - one of his disciples. You would know first hand one way or the other whether Jesus was actually raised from the grave or not, right? In either case, how would that impact your behavior?
Think about it……