Is He risen? We celebrate Easter each year and proclaim His resurrection, but as I grew older I began to wonder and doubt. My parents believed but I was not so sure they “really” were certain of it. It just seemed to me that they believed because they had to. After all, we were raised in the “Bible-belt” of the South. But as I learned of new things and new beliefs, I found myself wanting to believe, but truly not certain about it.
And so I determined, many years ago, that if the resurrection was real, I would be totally dedicated to sharing the good news, but if it was not, I would “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow I may die”. And that’s when I began to look for evidence to either prove that He arose or to sink deeper into doubt.
I thank God for G. K. Chesterton, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, C.S. Lewis and George McDonald. These men, all brilliant apologists, gave me the tools I needed to not only believe, but also to defend my belief!
What evidence did they point me to?
1. The changed lives of disciples. Something happened that turned eleven wimps, brats, and cowards into amazingly fearless apostles. These young men became lions of the faith and were each (save John) martyred because they refused to deny the resurrection!
2. The very fact that we worship on Sunday suggests something “unusual” happened on the first day of the week 2000+ years ago! Now the entire world notes that Sunday is NOT a typical day.
3. The early martyrs of the church owned nothing, were brutally hunted down, burned alive or fed to wild animals, cut in half, boiled in oil—-and for what reason? They believed and were transformed by the certainty of the resurrection.
4. The empty tomb. There is not shrine or grave or tomb that represents the remains of Jesus. He’s not there. And although some have argued that the body was stolen, why did those that “stole” the body not return it when the rumors that He had rose from the dead grow into a huge folllowing? Why did no one ever attempt to disprove that the tomb was empty? Why could no one could find the corpse?
5. Men like Paul and early apostles showed ZEAL to share this and endure incredible hardships because they believed, and hundreds of people professed to have seen and talked to Jesus after the resurrection.
6. Billy Graham, Bonhoeffer, Saint Francis, Saint Augustine: These were lives of people that I studied— they were men of character and integrity, but also of great intelligence—-and they examined the evidence and determined the authenticity of the resurrection! These men were not fools or charlatans—-they were sober men, honest, upright men.
7. Finally, I have personally met the resurrected Christ and He changed life! Something happened to me at Aunt Clara’s house when I was fifteen years old and I have never been the same since I first spoke to Him. He filled me with His Spirit and I know that it was real—-and He still speaks to me, hears me, loves me and encourages me.
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