Monday, May 19, 2014

Was There Really a Resurrection?

May's Newspaper Column....

 Just recently billions of Christians all over the world gathered to remember and
celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and millions of Christians are
still celebrating as they live out the great 50 Days of the Season of
Easter.  Jesus had been executed by
the Roman government on a cross outside Jerusalem for his claim of being the
Messiah (Mark 14:61).  He had said
he would rise on the third day, and to his follower’s shock, he actually
did.  Today, as back then, there
are many who don’t believe it.

There are those who make it their ambition to demonstrate that Christianity is a
hoax, and that the Church has been deceiving people throughout its
history.  They conveniently ignore the eyewitness accounts of people who saw first-hand the risen Jesus.  They ignore the archeological discoveries which demonstrate communities which were transformed by believing in the resurrected Jesus. They ignore the changed lives which this resurrected
Jesus has affected throughout the years, and they ignore the personal
experience which people still have with the risen Christ.

The Gospel message is that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) entered the human race, lived
as one of us, died on a Roman cross for sins of humanity (even mine!), and rose
again by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The apostle Paul wrote to the first century believers in Rome:  I
am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation
of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile”
1:16).  What was true then is still true today.  For those who believe,
they discover that Jesus is really alive. This is not just a matter of
intellectual assent; it is also a matter of belief (of faith).  One can learn all the historical,
archaeological, and scholarly data, but it always comes back to a simple step
of faith. You have to believe.

 The risen Jesus said to the church in Laodicea and he says to us: “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in
and eat with him and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).  For those who receive Him today, they
discover his resurrection isn’t a hoax on a personal basis.  He brings forgiveness of our sins, peace of mind and spirit, and an intimate relationship with the Living God of the universe.

Do your homework!  Know the facts; this is important!  But don’t just
leave it there.  Enter into a dynamic personal relationship with the God who still raises people from the dead.