Wednesday, April 16, 2014

10. What is the simplest case you can make for the resurrection?

I'm torn on how to answer to this one. Whether I should tell you what I think or tell you what Lee Strobel said in Case for the Real Jesus or use the points made by Gary Habermas & Michael Licona in The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Whether theirs or mine, it's all stuff from previous posts with only a little new info. Maybe I'll cover their discussions later if there is interest, but instead I'm giving you my opinion. I would point out that my opinion & $5 gets you a mocha latte at Starbucks.  You may forget what I said, but don't forget the $5 if you want the coffee.

What I really want is an answer that I could give people in 60 seconds or less.  If it generates more questions, that's okay, because then you can give more details. Really my argument just a restatement of 2 things we've already discussed.

1. The disciples 100% believed they had seen the resurrected Christ – 11 ancient sources attest to their willingness to suffer & die for their beliefs if you include Paul & James the brother of Jesus. James was a skeptic before the crucifixion & ends up listed as a witness of the risen Jesus, becomes a leader in the church in Jerusalem & dies for his faith. Saul changed from a persecutor of christians into the christian Paul. He went from killing christians to dying as one. Paul said he had seen the risen Jesus. What else could make James & Paul do an about face & die for what they had not believed in or even violently opposed?

2.  Passing out on the cross is like passing out underwater – The victim dies in the amount of time it takes an unconscious person to drown. What is that? 5 minutes?  Jesus had at least that much time to die. The guards were crucified if anyone survived. They waited on the other 2 to die & then broke their legs at the end of the day to speed up their deaths. Can't breathe if you can't push up for the next breath. Although Jesus might have passed out on the cross, he did not pass out & revive in the tomb.

Did this logic make me fall down on my knees, repent & ask to be saved? Uuh, not exactly. I ran thru it in my head a few thousand times, but I'd been a skeptic for too long. It did make me doubt my doubts & make me want to learn more. Have read thru the Bible cover to cover now & about a dozen books. As time went on my doubts weakened & my faith grew. Maybe this information will do the same for you, your doubts & your faith.

So where does a skeptic go from here?  I'd recommend reading Lee Strobel's Case for Christ or his newer book Case for the Real JesusCase for Christ reads like a mystery novel, although I was not ready for the Believe + Receive = Become a child of God ending. I did have a hard time putting it down. If you want to try some of the New Testament, my favorite gospel is probably Luke, but I've got more bookmarks in John.

As you read there will be lots of questions that occur to you that you can't answer. Just ask for God's help in understanding. I think Jesus would approve. In Matthew 7:7-8, he said:
"Ask & it will be given to you; seek & you will find; knock & the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; & to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
Have a happy Easter & may God always bless you with help for your doubts!

Matt Rhodes, April 2014

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