Following The Evidence #80

There is no doubt in my mind that there are more dimensions in our universe than what we are currently aware of. After His resurrection Jesus was able to appear alive on various occasions and to many people after His death. He could ‘appear’ in the upper room to the disciples for example. On this basis alone we would be justified in concluding that Jesus rose from the dead. But all the evidence is not in yet.

How is the origin of the Christian Faith explained? When Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless, and our faith is useless (NLT). Paul was not just giving us his opinion. This is a fact. If the resurrection did not occur, then we have no hope and life is indeed ultimately meaningless.

Even a casual reading of the New Testament testifies to the fact that the resurrection of Jesus stood at the center of the disciples preaching. It was the basis of their belief that He was the Messiah. In one stroke He had turned catastrophe into victory. The resurrection is God’s decisive vindication of who Jesus was and it showed that the crucifixion was not a defeat, but part of God’s plan. As C.S Lewis said in his allegory of the cross after the death of Aslan, in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, there was ‘deeper magic.’ It was belief in the resurrection that enabled the disciples to boldly proclaim that their crucified Master was the Messiah of God. On the basis of the resurrection, Peter could proclaim that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. (Acts 10:38) It became an integral part of our own personal salvation. Romans 10:9 (NLT) says, ‘If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ Apart from the resurrection the cross has no meaning, there is no salvation, no forgiveness.

The origin of Christianity, therefore, hinges on the belief of the early disciples that God had raised Jesus from the dead. It was the belief of the Jews in Jesus day to believe in a resurrection at the end of the word. This is why Martha, referring to her brother Lazarus, could say to Jesus, as recorded in John 11:24(NLT), “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” To which Jesus replied, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”

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