Hold on to truth1 Apr, 2021
2021 marks our second Easter during this COVID-19 pandemic. There is still great uncertainty in our nation – and our world. That’s why Tim Scheuer, Head of Evangelism & Discipleship at CAP, wants to encourage you with the certainty we have in Jesus. The truth of his life, his death, his resurrection – and all that his sacrifice has won.
I made a decision to follow Jesus in 1981. Why do I continue to follow Jesus? Many reasons of course, but perhaps the most important one has everything to do with Easter. I cannot discredit, disprove, or explain away the resurrection of Jesus.
The Bible says, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17, NIV.)
In other words, the entire Christian faith rests on the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then forget it. Christianity is a sham, and the coming judgment is a fairy tale! Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die! Life has no real meaning.
However, if Jesus did rise from the dead, the implications are enormous! It means we can be forgiven and brought into an eternal relationship with God.
If Jesus rose from the dead, then we can confidently trust everything he said and every promise he’s made. The resurrection validates his word!
Why I am so confident Jesus was raised from the dead? Not only have I been unable to discredit, disprove, or explain away the resurrection of Jesus, but no one else has been able to since the event 2,000 years ago! No one – although countless numbers have tried!
What we know is this:
- Jesus suffered death on a cross following a Roman flogging. The Journal of the American Medical Association upon investigation of the historical evidence has determined Jesus was dead.
- The theory that Jesus was not dead but only appeared dead, known as the Swoon Theory, has been refuted.
- Roman soldiers guarded the public tomb where Jesus’ body lay. Early on the Sunday morning it was empty.
What other than resurrection could explain the empty tomb?
Was his body stolen from the tomb? It could’ve been his enemies that took it. If that was the case, as soon as the Apostles began to declare that Jesus had risen from the dead, his enemies would’ve produced his body and totally discredited the resurrection reports.
Maybe his friends took his body and propagated the resurrection story as a lie? Eleven of the twelve Apostles died as a result of their belief in Jesus’ resurrection. Would eleven men all be willing to die for a story they knew was a lie? Not going to happen!
Not to mention:
- The twelve recorded diverse, yet consistent, appearances post-resurrection. Including Jesus’ appearance to over 500 people at one time. Most of whom survived for many years and must have answered many questions about what they saw.
- The founding and very existence of the Christian church. Its rapid, phenomenal, continued growth; its boldness and power, particularly considering the great difficulties and persecutions it encountered.
- The sheer impossibility of explaining the emergence of Christianity in Jerusalem, itself. The centre of greatest opposition to the faith.
- The conversion to Christianity of Saul, who became known as Paul. As well as other people previously most opposed to the new faith.
- The conversion to Christianity of sceptics at the time. Including Jesus’ own brother, James, and doubting Thomas.
These are a few points from a list of about 25 coherent, logical, historical, and convincing evidences for Jesus’ physical, bodily resurrection. Can we have confidence that Jesus rose from the dead? YES!
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection confronts every one of us. I can’t remove it. I can’t explain it away. The resurrection of Jesus helps me to not grow weary and lose heart, even in the darkest of times. The resurrection is true. That truth proves that Jesus’ word is rock solid. His word to me this Easter is life-giving – truly!
So, as you reflect on the truths of the Easter message, may they help you live with all the comfort, joy, hope, and generosity that is ours in Christ Jesus. Especially amidst this time of continuing uncertainty.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3, NIV.)