Recently, much scholarship, both skeptical and Christian, has delved into a homicide detective’s approach to consider the basic facts about Jesus and his alleged resurrection. Becoming a detective, we find that the Case for the Resurrection of Jesus much resembles that of a murder case, except instead of a dead body at the crime scene, we have a walking, talking body. Everyone, believer or unbeliever, must account for at least these historical facts about Jesus if they are to adequately explain the origin of Easter.
Time of Death
Jesus was killed on April, AD 30 or 33, on Friday during the Jewish Passover. The cause of death was crucifixion and a Roman executioner confirmed his death by running him through with a spear. He was then buried in a rich man’s tomb, provided by Joseph of Arimathea, a ruling Jewish authority.
His Empty Tomb
Aside from the crucifixion, the Empty Tomb has been said to be the most reliable historical fact related to the case of the resurrection. It is by far the earliest explaination given, not only by Christians, but by Jesus’ Jewish and Roman enemies whose counter-claim was that the disciples stole Jesus’ body. A stolen body assumes an empty tomb.
Friends’ and Enemies’ Eye-witness Claims
Any detective considering an explaination of this murder mystery must also explain the eye-witnesseses. They claim to see, to doubt having seen, to speak with, and to eat with Jesus after his body had “gone missing”. They claim this even though it often meant their death for stubbornly holding to it. We can even “interrogate” a once hostile witness named Paul of Tarsus by reading his letters. Paul says he hated Jesus until he met him face to face while on the road to persecuting more Christians in Damascus.
Read perhaps Cold-Case Christianity or GaryHabermas.com to investigate for yourself.
Posted in Seeking Truth | Tagged Jesus, minimal facts, Resurrection | Leave a Comment »
I heard everyone’s ticked off at Phil Robertson again. He apparently told a shocking story about an atheist family being tortured and killed and asserted that the atheist family would have no moral leg to stand on by which to protest. The reaction (rather than engaged response) of one atheist group was simply “it is unlikely that Robertson actually knows any atheists.”
As much as you may dislike Robertson’s delivery, perhaps he knows at least this atheist:
“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
I didn’t see anyone morally outraged at Dawkins’ remarks.
Posted in Fighting for Peace | Tagged Atheism, Dawkins, Morality, the problem of grounding | Leave a Comment »
He had no form or majesty
that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief…
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement
that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter…
(Check Isaiah 52 and 53 for more)
If you answered, “Jesus,” then you agree with Jesus’ Twelve disciples and the apostle Paul, yet this was written 700 years before Jesus’ birth! Prophecy fulfilled is strong evidence for the truth of Christianity. Put your faith in Jesus of Nazareth.
Posted in Seeking Truth | Tagged Easter, Isaiah, Jesus, prophecy | 1 Comment »
The way you answer that question impacts the way you are living your life. It impacts not only the individual, but your relationships, and eventually society as a whole. It’s not hard to prove this point. If you believe there is no God, you will live a certain way, as if God, His ways, and His existence doesn’t matter. And if you believe God and His will is vitally important and relevant to life, you will live another way. Either way, you can see that how we think about God is relevant to our entire society and life. How much more relevant would it be that God actually exist or not exist? That He actually has a perfect moral standard, and that Jesus really is the Son of God, the only one who can fill that standard on our behalf?
But how can we know the mind of God? It is popular today to think that no matter what we “decide for ourselves” to believe about God, we can’t know it for certain, so we must just “do our best” according to our own standards of good. Then God will just forgive our moral failure to meet His standards. But on whose authority is this opinion based? Is it in fact true? Or is it true that God is Yahweh as described in the Bible who “will by no means clear the guilty?” (Ex 34:7)
On what authority would you base your beliefs about God? Your opinions? Feelings? Experiences? Sort through the confusion and consider how you know who anyone is. Unless they reveal to you what is on their mind, you can’t know it. So are there, for example, reliable documents which God has had transmitted to us to do just that, revealing these very things? Yes. Test the Bible and see.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord [Jesus], and it was attested to us by those who heard… (Hebrews 2:1-3 ESV)
Posted in Finding Purpose, Seeking Truth | Tagged beliefs, Christianity | Leave a Comment »
It is not a social club. It’s joyful worship and it is serious business, but, among other things, it’s really the people of God being rescued and on a rescue mission. The church is not commissioned to convince people of the love of God for a comfortable life or to develop clever marketing strategies that ask, “Are you ready to join God’s family?” The serious business is that this world is messy, dark, and deadly, and we’re mired in a body that will die. After which we will all be judged for evils which we are still not finished committing. God is not selling insurance or any other product. God is commanding that “all people everywhere repent” (Acts 17:30). Repent means to turn away from evil and turn to Him. The alternative, ready or not, is to face the consequences of our thoughts, addictions, and actions made against Him.
The reason the church worships a beautiful and gracious God is that He does not “take pleasure in punishing the wicked” (Ezek 33:11) but would rather celebrate when a person trusts in Him for forgiveness and a new heart (Luke 15:10). The Creator is so gracious that He became one of His creations, Jesus of Nazareth, and loved sinners by taking their place so they wouldn’t have to face God’s anger for their apathy and rebellion. That is Good News. And that’s the truth in love. That’s what Church is about: People who put their trust in Jesus for their rescue and thus truly becoming a worshipper of God from the heart. They are those being rescued now and having a sure hope for an ultimate rescue when they are resurrected, never to suffer or sin again.
Posted in Love and Justice, Relating with God, To the Christian | Tagged Christianity | Leave a Comment »
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
(Isaiah 30:18, ESV)
There’s SO much wonderful theology packed densely into these words. Forgive me for talking over some heads because it takes some background knowledge of the Bible to get through this, but I pray that I’ll make accurate sense, doing justice to God’s Word and that the Spirit would help you make sense of it, giving you discernment as to where I might miss something. I hope I’ll get more time to expand this a bit later. This verse serves as a proof of prophesy and the wonderful coherence of the whole Bible.
Here are some of the big topics I see mentioned in passing in this verse (yet not mentioned insignificantly).
-God of mercy and grace
-God of Justice punishing sin (see the context and the “therefores”)
-God waits to have mercy and exalts himself because he is also just.
-God who is jealous for his glory in order to show mercy.
-Wait for God and trust in his ultimate salvation.
The ultimate way this was fulfilled was when Jesus came
(The Messiah and the Teacher mentioned in verse 20)
after Israel’s long wait (about 700 years later than Isaiah)
to exalt himself in glory on the cross (John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32; 17:1)
to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice who does not let injustice be,
but punishes all sin, either on the cross or in hell, our choice.
Repent. Wait for him. He is coming again soon.
Posted in Love and Justice, To the Christian | Tagged God, Jesus, patience, salvation | 2 Comments »