Taking God at His Word

One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes is, “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read it, you are misinformed.”  His words seem almost prophetic regarding the news today.  We live in the information age.  A quick Google search will produce more information on a topic than a person could possibly read.  And, of course, there is plenty of information on the internet that is simply not true.  But how does one know what’s true and what’s not true?

The Abraham Lincoln meme is a true statement, but it obviously cannot be attributed to Abraham Lincoln.  It’s so ridiculous that it’s humorous.

The problem with having fake news stories, internet inaccuracies, and other misinformation so readily available is that all information becomes suspect and one can easily become cynical.

When it comes to accuracy, how do we know for a fact that what we read in Holy Scripture about the resurrection of Jesus Christ is accurate?  How do we know it wasn’t just made up by some first century do gooders?

There is reasonable evidence for us to trust that the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is factual and historical.

First, Jesus foretold His own death and resurrection and they both occurred exactly as He had predicted (Luke 18:31-33).  Even some non-Christian sources point this out.

Second, the resurrection is the only reasonable explanation for His empty tomb. The Biblical text shows that the grave where they laid Jesus’ body was being guarded by Roman soldiers and sealed (Matthew 27:62-66).  If Jesus had not died on the cross, but was only weakened, the guards and the stone would have prevented His escape or any attempt by His followers to get to Him.  Jesus’ enemies would never have taken the body since His body missing from the grave would only serve to encourage the belief that he rose.  Not to mention the fact that if Jesus had not risen from the dead they could have gone to the grave, rolled away the stone, and shown people body of Jesus.  But they could not.  Why not?  Because His resurrected body was no longer in the tomb.

Third, the resurrection is the only plausible explanation for the appearances of Jesus Christ to His disciples.  After His resurrection, Jesus appeared at least ten times to those who knew Him and to as many as 500 people at the same time.  The Lord also proved that these appearances were not wishful hallucinations, by eating and talking with them and allowing them to touch Him. (1 John 1:1 ff)

Fourth, the resurrection is a logical explanation for how the Christian church came into existence .  More than half of the first sermon ever preached had to do with the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:14-36).  Obviously, the early church knew that this was the basis of its message.  The enemies of Jesus and His followers could have stopped them at any time by simply producing Jesus’ dead body, but they couldn’t.

Fifth, the resurrection is the only logical explanation for the changed lives of the disciples.  They had deserted Him before His death.  After His death they were discouraged and afraid. They didn’t expect Jesus to rise from the dead (Luke 24:1-11).  Yet after His resurrection these same discouraged and fearful men and women proclaimed what they had seen and heard.  A number of them were martyred for their faith in Christ.  Their courageous behavior does not make sense apart from their conviction that Jesus Christ truly rose from the dead – a fact worth dying for.

And finally, we have God’s Word on it“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-32 ESV)

If the enemies of Christ and of His Church could prove that Jesus hadn’t been raised from the dead, which is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, they would have done it.  They couldn’t do it then and they can’t do it now, so you can firmly believe what you read in God’s Word and rejoice that you have a crucified and risen Savior.

~ Pastor Christensen