Monday, May 25, 2009

Many Convincing Proofs

“During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3 NLT).”

Churches around the world just celebrated the Feast of the Ascension, when Jesus ascended into Heaven forty days after the resurrection. Acts 1:3 says that Jesus gave many convincing proofs that he was actually alive. But some skeptics doubt that the resurrection could possibly be true. What are some of the proofs for the outrageous claim that Christians make, that Jesus rose from the dead?

One proof is the Bible itself. Skeptics would say, “You can’t use that. It’s circular reasoning to say, ‘The Bible is true because it says it is.’” But remember that the Bible isn’t just one book. It’s a library of 66 different books. The New Testament is 27 books whose authors all point to the same thing. We have 24,000 copies of these ancient manuscripts—the greatest collection of manuscripts of any other ancient book in world. These are reliable accounts that were written by eyewitnesses within a short time of Jesus’ resurrection. Their testimony would stand up in a court of law.

Another proof is secular historians. No Jewish or Roman historians deny the empty tomb. If you wanted to squash infant Christianity, all you’d have to do is deny the empty tomb. Yet none of them did. They took it as fact.

The Roman seal affixed to Jesus’ tomb was broken, and the guards fled the scene. This bears witness to the reality of the resurrection, for it was death to break a Roman seal without authority, and it was death for a Roman soldier to abandon his post. Who would risk such a thing to perform a hoax?

1 Corinthians 15:5-6 (NLT) says, “He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.” What if 500 people today saw something newsworthy, and all attested to it? Could anybody deny it? Absolutely not!

It wasn’t only Jesus’ followers who witnessed the resurrection. James and Jude, the brothers of Jesus, were both skeptics until they witnessed the resurrection. Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of the church until he saw Jesus. The experience changed their lives, and they became Christians—even leaders in the church.

To me, the most convincing proof of the resurrection is that the disciples were willing to die horrifying, gruesome, torturous deaths for the sake of the truth. Of course, many people die for their beliefs. But I ask you, would you or anybody willingly die for a lie? Nobody would! They were eyewitnesses, and would never die just to perform a hoax. They died because they themselves knew it to be true, for they had seen it with their own eyes.

Have you had your doubts about the resurrection? Employ a little logic—the favorite tool of skeptics—and logic will prove the impossible to be true.

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