Welcome! Thanks for joining us for this, the eighth post in our new year-long blog series we’re calling “Journey Together.” Can we can place our trust in Christ’s resurrection?What kind of person would take the blame for something he didn’t do? When you find the adjective, attach it to Jesus. He took the punishment we could not take, to offer the hope we cannot resist. Click To Tweet
The Wavering Became Rock-Solid Believers!
Let’s try to picture the arrest and death of Jesus from His disciples’ point of view: These mostly rough and tumble guys had walked away from their ho-hum lives to follow Jesus. In return, for the next few years, they got to bask in the notoriety of being Jesus’ inner circle. When they walked into a new town with Him, I bet they might have done so with a slight swagger. Because they knew what was about to happen: when Jesus showed up, He brought the miraculous. Can you just hear these guys saying, like it was no big deal, “Yeah, I’m just passing through. With Jesus.”
And then, BAM!A deal was made, a disciple's dastardly kiss was completed, Jesus was arrested, and His disciples scrammed, proving themselves uncommitted. Click To Tweet
But, THEN! There’s no getting around the fact that something incredible happened to transform this motley crew from quivering cowards into red-hot evangelists! These men went from hiding behind locked doors to brazenly sharing the Good News. Did they let the threat of also being arrested, tortured, and possibly killed stop them? NO! (All but one were, in fact, murdered for the Gospel message). Why did they refuse to save themselves now?!Because they now KNEW that every claim Jesus had made about Himself and God was true. Click To Tweet
For 40 days, you see, Jesus gave His followers the opportunity to engage with Him in community before He ascended into Heaven. He proved Himself in whatever ways they needed: He ate, drank, and spoke with them. He reminded them of where they had been, and where they were headed. He revealed to them how Old Testament scripture had been fulfilled by His grisly death and glorious resurrection. He even pushed back his sleeves and opened His robes to reveal His wounds to Thomas, the doubter on record who asserted to the other disciples:
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” ~ John 20:25
Poor Thomas; he has no idea that history has forever pegged him to this moment! But let’s not judge Thomas too harshly; we can be just as bad with our faith requirements! Doesn’t the “I won’t believe it” argument get used regularly today?
Thomas did redeem himself a week later, when Jesus appeared to the disciples. Though Jesus did gently chide Thomas for trusting more in his eyes than in Jesus’ promises, it’s clear that Jesus wasn’t judging Thomas for his low moment of faith. Just as Jesus didn’t judge Peter when he faltered in walking on the lake toward Jesus, or when Peter publicly denied Jesus three times after His arrest. Rather, Jesus lovingly lifted Peter from his self-condemnation over doing so. God is all about our restoration!
The message I get from Scripture is that our Creator is generous with His grace when we question His existence and love. But He also points out the mental and emotional roadblocks we put up that stall our choosing to trust Him. God doesn’t demand blind faith; He asks for our trust:
Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”~ John 20:26-29.
Develop Your Own Confidence in Jesus!
So what’s it gonna take for you to believe that Christ is who He said He is?
Do we believe that our dining room chairs will hold our weight? Yes. Because we’ve tested them. Do we believe that lemons are sour? Yes. Because we’ve tested their acidic juice on our tongue. Can we likewise test the Bible, to believe that what it says about Jesus is true? Yes! Some of the ways of testing we’ve already discussed, including eyewitness accounts and confirmation of Bible facts via archeology and non-biblical historical texts. Want to read some of these facts?
These are links to blog posts that provide you with truthful, vetted facts about Christ’s resurrection:
~ Resurrection of Jesus: Code Critical
This post explains defines the term “resurrection,” and explains why Jesus’ rising is so significant for us today.
~ Resurrection of Jesus: Pre-Resurrection Facts
This post shows that Christ was verified to be dead before they removed His body from the cross, historical context for Jewish burial practices, and physical details about Christ’s tomb.
~ Resurrection of Jesus: Hoax or Truth?
This post looks at various theories scholars and critics have proposed over the centuries to debunk Christ’s resurrection. Ironically, we can debunk them using logic and science.
~ Is Jesus’ Resurrection Fact? History Weighs In!
This post looks at details of the empty tomb, discarded grave clothes, and 12 distinct instances highlighted in the Bible in which Jesus appeared to individuals or groups of people after He rose.
Look, facts matter, even when it comes to Christianity. Because if Jesus isn't who He says He is, then we're all wasting our time here. Click To Tweet
But an important reminder: we can “fact ourselves to death” as I heard one person put it, as we seek evidence to support the Christian faith. Eventually, we must simply CHOOSE to trust in His resurrection. Christ’s disciples — men who had NOTHING to gain from their commitment to sharing the Good News — declare that Christ resurrected. Why shouldn’t we trust these eyewitnesses?
In our next blog post, we’ll look at the hope we have about the afterlife because our Lord defeated death. Please continue the journey with us. We’re just getting started!
Catch up: The introductory post to this series.