John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though He may die, He shall live.”
If you live in Missouri, you know our state’s motto – it’s on our license plates. We are the “Show Me” state. It probably started with Congressman Willard Vandiver, who once said “Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” Vandiver wasn’t interested in rhetoric or assertions. He claimed that Missourians want the evidence that substantiates the assertion.
All over social media, across most churches, on the radio and television, we will hear one message this week – “He is risen.” In post-Christian America, is this rhetoric? A worn-out tradition competing with the Easter bunny?
When I meet folks who claim they are Christian, I ask them a question: “Why?” Rarely do I get the one answer that matters – because it is true. I don’t care whether it “works” for me or not. Nothing is worth following unless it is true. And this week – the Passion week of Jesus Christ – is the cornerstone of truth for Christianity.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, He is not whom He claimed to be – God – and this week’s verse is a lie. As Paul said in 1Corinthians 15:14, “If Christ is not risen, our preaching is empty, and your faith is also empty.”
Most things in life that require you to reach a conclusion can be evaluated based on some level of objective evidence that can be tested. For example, our legal system is based on 12 jurors who have no knowledge on some past event and yet, based on circumstantial evidence they evaluate, will reach a conclusion on the guilt or innocence of the defendant. It is no different with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like a juror, you must evaluate circumstantial evidence on a past, historical event (the resurrection) and reach your own conclusion.
Over the next several weeks, we will examine one piece of circumstantial evidence at a time. Then we will put together a cumulative case with all these pieces of evidence. We, as jurors, will then have all the evidence we need to decide if Jesus rose from the dead. Why is this so important? Because decisions have consequences.
There are 10 pieces of evidence we will examine: 1) His Death & Burial, 2) Empty Tomb, 3) His Post-Mortem Appearances, 4 & 5) Conversion of James and Thomas, 6) Conversion of Peter, 7) Conversion of Paul, 8) Growth of early church, 9) Time from His resurrection to first records, 10) Weakness of Other Theories.
But the truth of His resurrection is much more than an intellectual or academic exercise – and this is why many Americans get very passionate during this Easter week. As Jesus Himself tells us in this week’s verse, His resurrection from the dead has real implications. If you claim to be a Christian, His resurrection should impact your life on a daily basis, not just this week. There is a real and living hope – eternal life.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance _ Article #496