EVIDENCE OF THE RESURRECTION
Two prominent Englishmen, Gilbert West and Lord Littleton found themselves in perfect agreement. Not only did neither of them believe in Christ, they further believed that Christianity was a harmful religion that should be destroyed. After discussing how to approach their perceived problem, they decided to achieve their goal by dealing with two issues;
the resurrection of Jesus and the conversion of the apostle Paul. West accepted the challenge to disprove the resurrection of Jesus and Littleton agreed to dispose of Paul’s conversion. A little over a year passed after which the two men came together to compare notes. To their surprise they had not destroyed Christianity but each had instead been convinced of its validity so as to become a believer. The evidence of the resurrection as well as Paul’s conversion had not only withstood the assaults of hostile intentions but had turned enemies into advocates.
But this was not the first time that evidence had forced skeptics to an unexpected conclusion. NO one was more surprised at the resurrection then the disciples of Jesus. Jesus first appeared to a group of women at the open tomb, but they were not there to congratulate Jesus on the resurrection. They went to anoint the body, Luke 24:1. They were not expecting a risen savior. Then when they went and informed the apostles, the men did not believe but thought they women were telling idle tales, Luke 24: 10, 11. They were thoroughly convinced that all was lost. But oh how they would soon come to believe what they once considered to be impossible. They saw the empty tomb, they heard the voice of the savior, they saw the nail scars, they listened and finally understood the necessity of the death, burial and resurrection, Luke 24:36-49.
They also came to more fully appreciate the savior’s willingness to forgive their transgressions and weaknesses. Though they had doubted his words and fled when he was arrested, he still loved them. He recognized their fears and urged them to be at peace, John 20:19. They had not acted worthy of his love, but Jesus saw their needs and offered them comfort. HE understood their doubts and their need for sensual evidence, so he showed them the scars on his hands and the scar on his side. He ate food with them so they would know he was really a flesh and blood being rather than a spiritual apparition. How else to you explain the future actions of the apostles? What caused a group of fearful, timid doubters to be found forty days later, standing in the temple, boldly declaring the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? The answer is simple. They examined the evidence and found it too compelling to resist.
What about you then? Do you believe in the resurrection as a historical fact? If not, like West and Littleton you simply need to examine the evidence. Give it a try, you will be surprised at the result.
Terry R. Burress