Thursday, April 12, 2007

The resurrection of Jesus Christ, if true, becomes the single most important event in human history. I say this because He claimed to be God. If Jesus did return to life after having died as He said He would, then we have every reason to believe everything else He said. The great debate over the existence of God is over as is the question of what God expects of us.

There were over 500 eyewitnesses to the fact of Jesus' bodily existence after His verified death on a cross. There were others (see last post) who knew from reliable sources that He had resurrected and tried to cover it up. I believe it happened just the way the Bible depicts it. I know that others don't. Using the criteria for determining the truthfulness of a belief system I find Christianity have experiential relevance.

Several points to explore here:

It is consistent with what we see in the world.
It helps make sense of the suffering around us and offers an ultimate solution.
Christianity also meets the inner needs, call it spiritual and intellectual hunger, we all

There are others, but let me look at these first.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Matthew gives us an interesting account of the Jewish leaderships reaction to the news of the resurrection on that first Easter morning. Chapter 28 vs. 11 thru 15 recounts the guard team's report back to the Chief Priests on the events at the tomb. Matthew makes it clear (v.11) the report was a complete accounting of all that happen. The response is a bribe and cover story.

What I find interesting is this. Matthew wrote his biography of Jesus somewhere between 55 and 60 AD. Matthew states in verse 15 that the story of the disciples stealing the body of Christ was still the party line these 20 plus years later. The significance of this should not be over looked. First of all it means they never found a body. I would suggest they never looked because the guards accurately reported the facts of the resurrection.

A second point to make is the priests never made that accusation to the disciples themselves. Luke, in his history of Christianity (the New Testament Book of Acts), relates two attempts by the priests to silence the disciples proclaiming the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection for the redemption of man kind. Both times they ordered them to stop talking about Jesus, but not once brought up the official story of stealing the body. Why?

My take on it is this. The priests knew it was not true and did not want to have to back up their claim and be exposed. The priest knew the resurrection happened because the guards saw it happen and had reported it. They could not afford to have eyewitnesses called to defend the lie they were spreading.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The prophecy from Daniel gives us reason to look closer at who Jesus is, but it is not the final word. Jesus did claim to be God, did claim to have the power to forgive sins and did die on a cross. But is any of that true? My guess is the number who say no is greater than the number who say yes, but is there reason to side with the yeas? I believe there is. After all there were eye witnesses who left both direct and indirect testimony to the event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I know there are objections raised about both the authorship and dating the four Gospels. There is also strong evidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John actually did write the books in the Bible labeled with their names. I also believe the evidence weighs in their favor.

We know these men claimed to be eyewitnesses to the bodily resurrection of Christ. According to Paul there were about 500 others who also saw, talked with and even eat meals with Jesus after His death on the cross. Paul offered this to a group who were denying the resurrection while the eyewitnesses were still alive and could have been contacted directly.

I started with Matthew's record of Jesus' birth and how the events there collaborated Daniel and Micah's prophecies. Matthew also offers evidence that those who wanted to suppress the growth of Christianity knew Jesus rose from the dead. The first century Jewish leadership had a vested interest in stopping the drain Christianity was having on their nation. They were losing literally thousands of the Jerusalem population to the message of Christ. So, why did they not produce the body? Next post. No, I am not trying to be dramatic here, I just have to go to another meeting.

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