This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Pastor Brent Whitefield, Northpoint’s Pastor of Missions and Outreach.
Easter and the Christian
Hello Church Family,
The resurrection is the great hope of the believer. Without the resurrection of Christ there is no victory over sin and death and, therefore, no reasonable expectation that we will be raised some day. The substance of our faith is the promise that we will be raised like Christ. The great hope for the believer does not lie in this world. As Paul wrote: “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. The integrity and truth of Jesus’ message hinged entirely on His promised resurrection. It is an event without parallel in history. It is the great truth we celebrate this Sunday.
Not only is the resurrection our great hope, but it is also the most convincing proof of the truth of the Bible, the foundation of the Christian faith. We must consider the fact that Christianity is a rational faith: It is not whatever we want it to be, but it rests on a set of demonstrable, historical, falsifiable propositions. Most prominent among these is the teaching that Jesus genuinely died and was literally raised from the dead after three days. The power of the resurrection is that it actually happened; it holds no power as an inspiring, but fictional tale. The Christian faith rests on the truth of the resurrection.
Though often derided by critics as evidence of inaccuracy in the Scriptures, the considerable variations in the resurrection narratives in the different Gospels actually constitute strong evidence for the fact of the event. The existence of four, obviously independent, accounts that all confirm the empty tomb is compelling proof that the essential fact of the resurrection is true, not the product either of one man’s imagination or of an artfully conceived conspiracy.
Skeptical attempts to offer competing accounts of the fate of Jesus have proven more implausible and require even more faith than the biblical narrative! The effort to concoct explanations started the minute the empty tomb was discovered and has continued to this day. The stakes are high: If anyone could ever produce the body of Jesus, the Christian faith would cease to exist, or at least lose all relevance or credibility. Though so many have for so long had a vested interest in keeping Jesus in the ground, not a scintilla of evidence has ever been produced to suggest He is dead. The biblical account of the resurrection is the only theory that is supported by all the facts. The only reasonable objection that can be made to the resurrection is that resurrections don’t happen; people who are dead stay dead. It is not an unfair objection.
However, what drew people to Christ among the first generation of believers, even those who were not eyewitnesses to the resurrection, was the changed lives of those who were. The transformation of Jesus’ followers from a craven and defeated band to confident ambassadors who “turned the world upside down,” can only be explained by an encounter with the risen Christ. Indeed, no reasonable alternative explanation for the rise and rapid spread of the Christian church has ever held up to scrutiny. And what drew people to Christ in the first century stills draws people today: the transformed lives of the believer. People whose minds have been hardened to the truth of the resurrection have become ardent believers by witnessing its power in the lives of Christians. So let us live our lives in such a way that all can see the miraculous and transforming power of the resurrection, and the risen Christ in us, the hope of glory.