The resurrection very hard to fake
April 21 is Easter Sunday.
To many people, Easter means colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and candy.
But to millions of Christians it is the sacred holiday in which we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. In fact, this one belief has been debated over more than any other.
I read an article by well-known author and speaker, Josh McDowell, entitled, “If I Had Faked the Resurrection.”
He wrote, “If I had been some first-century propagandist trying to fake the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I would have done several things differently.”
If Christ’s resurrection was a hoax and the disciples were preaching lies, then they certainly went about “covering it up” the wrong way!
Here are a few things they should have done:
• The disciples should have waited a long time before preaching about the Resurrection. However, Peter’s Pentecost sermon in Acts 2 occurred within 50 days of the Resurrection, which proves that the disciples wanted people to know the truth!
• They should have begun preaching Christ’s resurrection far from the place where it actually happened.
Dr. William Lane Craig writes, “One of the most amazing facts about the early Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection was that it originated in the very city where Jesus was crucified. The Christian faith came into being in the very city where Jesus had been publicly crucified, under the very eyes of its enemies.”
So anyone doubting the disciples’ claims could have easily investigated them and found them to be false and vice versa.
• If the Resurrection was a hoax, the disciples would not have named their eyewitnesses. Yet at least 16 individuals are mentioned by name as witnesses of Christ’s resurrection. The mention of Joseph of Arimathea as the man who buried Jesus would have been terribly dangerous if the Gospel accounts had been faked or embellished. As a member of the Sanhedrin (a Jewish “supreme court”), he was well known. His involvement in the burial of Jesus could have been easily confirmed or refuted.
Also, in that time and culture women were considered invalid witnesses in a court of law. If the accounts were fabrications, the women would not have been included in the story, at least, not as the first ones to witness Christ’s resurrection.
• They definitely would not have died for their lies.
In his book, “The Case for Christ,” Lee Strobel wrote, “People will die for their religious beliefs if they sincerely believe they’re true, but people won’t die for their religious beliefs if they know their beliefs are false.
“While most people can only have faith that their beliefs are true, the disciples were in a position to know without a doubt whether or not Jesus had risen from the dead. They claimed that they saw Him, talked with Him and ate with Him. If they weren’t absolutely certain, they wouldn’t have allowed themselves to be tortured to death for proclaiming that the Resurrection had happened.”
As you can see, if the Resurrection did not happen, the disciples didn’t “cover it up” very well.
In fact, their actions and words tell us a different story: Christ is risen indeed!
You see, Easter is more than just children and candy; it’s about the power of God’s love for mankind.
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can give you hope for today. I pray you’ll find a church this Sunday and celebrate the real meaning of Easter!
Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia