Faith and evidence
It has been just been two weeks since Christians around the world celebrated resurrection Sunday, the most important Christian holiday day of the year. The resurrection of Jesus is of major importance because the credibility of the Christian faith, the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ depends on whether the resurrection of Christ is fact or fiction.
Even the apostle Paul makes this admission. “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God — and, if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-18)
For unbiased minds, the number of eyewitness accounts of Christ’s resurrection is overwhelming evidence for its certainty. Judicial experts in the field of evaluating, validating or rejecting evidence as well as many of the most respected secular historians from Christ’s day till the present agree that evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is remarkable and far exceeds the criteria for historical facts. This is one reason why date and time is based on centuries before or after the Lord’s resurrection.
Much evidence for Christ’s resurrection is found in the 40-day period following the resurrection in which Jesus appeared many times. The details of these appearances are recorded everywhere in the New Testament by eyewitnesses. Paul summarized in them in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8: “He was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the 12. After that He was seen by over 500 brethren at once, of whom the greater part remains to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me.”
Furthermore, the apostle John, who was himself an eyewitness and one of the first to enter the empty tomb of Jesus, closes His testimony with these words: “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)
It is astonishing that since the Christian faith stands or falls on the question of the resurrection, why it’s critics attack many other Christian doctrines but never the resurrection. The reason, of course, is that the evidence is so irrefutable it would be futile to argue against it.
The point is, the message of the glorious gospel of Christ is not based on dubious traditions or superstition, but on indisputable historic facts. Facts are facts, whether one believes them or not and whether one regards them significant enough to affect their lives or not. Surely every person belonging to the human race should regard the resurrection as enormously significant and His claims and teachings should have tremendous credibility. The resurrection of Jesus Christ compels all thoughtful people to seriously apply the resurrection factor with all of its implications in their personal lives.
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.