An elderly couple took a trip to Israel and while they were there the wife died. The government told the husband he could have his wife buried in Jerusalem for $150 or shipped back to the US for $5000. He told them he would pay the $5000. They were taken by surprise and asked “Why would you pay $5000 when you can have your wife buried here for only $150?” He replied, “I heard a few thousand years ago a man died here and was buried in Jerusalem and then rose on the 3rd day; I just couldn’t take that chance!” For this man Jesus rising from the dead was a true historical event.
I grew up an atheist. I didn’t care about God or spiritual things; I truly was a skeptic when it came to religion. I thought it’s good for some people but not for me. For most of my life I was an athlete, more specifically a baseball player, who cared about sports, beer and parties. I got married and once we started having kids, I decided a church environment would be a good place to have them meet nice people and learn solid morals; even though I didn’t believe God existed. Somehow along the way something happened that I didn’t expect. God communicated His truth to me about his Son Jesus Christ and how I was a selfish, self centered individual in need of forgiveness; and at the age of 32 I committed my life to Jesus Christ.
A year later, in the summer of 1985, our family went to Forest Home Christian Conference Center in California. It was there I heard speaker give evidence for how the Bible was reliable, Jesus was fully God and fully man and the resurrection was a true historical event. Soon after that summer I dedicated my life to defending Christianity and later earned a master’s degree from Biola in Christian Apologetics. Apologetics is a fancy word that simply means to give back answers for what I believe. The truth about Jesus, especially that he rose from the dead, completely changed my life.
Today lots of people think I am nuts for believing this. They ask me, how can someone who once was a religious skeptic believe this story? A few years ago the Discovery Channel aired a special called, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” The case was made that the bones of Jesus had been found and the issue is now settled; Jesus did not physically rise from the dead. Did the Discovery Channel find the truth? Do these bones belong to Jesus? Does this make a difference to Christianity?
During the program a professor from DePaul University, John Dominic Crossan said, “And without a doubt if they are definitely agreed to be the bones of Jesus, would that destroy the Christian faith? It certainly would not destroy my Christian faith. I leave what happens to the bodies up to God.” What about you? If they found the bones of Jesus would that destroy your faith? Would that destroy Christianity?
Belief in the resurrection of Jesus, during the last series of posts, I identified as an essential doctrine. All professing Christians have to believe Jesus rose from the dead. I believe, like the Apostle Paul, without the bodily resurrection there is no Christianity. Over the next few weeks I would like to post evidence for why I believe the resurrection to be a true historical event. Maybe it will change your life like it did mine.