In case you were stuck in a Sam Lord’s Castle bus trying to pass through Oistins on a Friday night, another Easter Sunday just happened—actually, about… a week ago (apparently you’ve got to be careful saying that phrase around young people now—even in church). Granny elects to wake you up from your Sunday morning snooze-a-thon because she needs you to drive her to church again—*schupes*—but this time, she wants you to stay for the entire service. It’s an unwritten agreement really. You are going to go to church at least twice a year—Easter and Christmas.
You love your gran-gran so you go.
If you had a dollar for every person you saw in that church, who was at Waiki (Barbados Beach Party) a few Sundays back, you probably wouldn’t bother to play the Super Lotto—you’d just buy the whole thing! You’re a betting man but you’re a smart man too and you know it is only a matter of time before a big scam hits Lotto as well. So you leave it alone like Walsh. Pretty pretty!
No, but seriously—you’re skeptical. That makes complete sense to me. You simply can’t just trust people like one time. Lots of people believed Brian Williams’ lies. The average user can Photoshop (it’s a legitimate verb) themselves to be more attractive. In fact, you may think you’re chatting up the girl of your dreams online only to find out that she’s really a guy—or both. Catfish much?
Scams are everywhere. I would not be surprised if little children are being used in sponsored walk scams. People want nice things. Nice things aren’t necessarily bad, but they do tend to cost a lot. So we’re stealing from each other in creative ways to get some of these nice things. There are email scams, ATM scams, religious scams…Wait—what? Yeah, that’s right. There are “churches” in Barbados today with leaders who are out to “fleece the flock.”
People hate scams. No one wants to be made a fool of in front of everyone. No one wants to be tricked, conned or duped. So absolutely do your due diligence when it comes to these things! I do not believe that Christianity should get a free pass here either. In fact, some people would argue that Christianity is a scam.
Enter Thomas. (John 20:24; The original ‘Diddy’?) Most know him as “Doubting Thomas.” That’s because when the other disciples told him that they had seen Jesus after he had come back from the dead, Thomas adamantly refused to believe what they were saying (John 20:25). The man was a skeptic—or, at least in this case, skeptical. He was simply not going to take their word for it. Why should he? Why should we?
Why should you?
You see, I don’t agree that the “Doubting Thomas” label is fair to the man. I would want to see the risen Christ for myself, if I could.
Here’s what’s amazing about Jesus though. He invites Thomas to examine the evidence for himself. Apparently, it is okay to look at the facts of the case and see whether the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reality. Jesus encourages it.
I’m certain that we should do the same today. The Bible itself argues that if the resurrection is a scam then the entire Christian faith is a farce (1 Corinthians 15:16-17). Here then are some evidences for the resurrection for your examination. I am significantly helped by the book, Apologetics to the Glory of God by John M. Frame pp. 143-147.
1. Non-Resurrection Theories Are Unsustainable
Some say that Jesus wasn’t really dead but was in a coma and that people thought he was dead. Most FPS video gamers know that when an enemy goes down it’s best to make sure he’s really dead by ‘double-tapping‘ the head or chest. The Roman soldiers definitely weren’t playing games. They thrust a spear into Jesus’ side (John 19:33-34) because he was already dead! Water and blood gushed out. Jesus was really dead. But if we allow the untenable coma theory, there is no way that he could come out of that lifeless state and immediately have enough strength to roll the tremendously heavy stone away by himself.
Secondly, if somehow Jesus managed to roll the stone away, remember that his body was brutally assaulted on the day he was crucified. He would not have appeared as a triumphant Lord of heaven and earth but as a battered, bloodied, half-dead man crawling on his face. This would hardly be anyone whom the disciples would be thrilled to see again and tell others. Yet we have no reports of them balking at Jesus’ tattered figure. Rather, his appearance before them in his resurrected body is glorious and victorious!
2. Hallucination Theory is Unjustifiable
Some say Jesus’ appearances after the resurrection were hallucinations or “visions” but that’s not the way hallucinations work. They do not produce the same images in different persons who then report that they’ve all seen the same thing at the same time.
3. Eye-witness Testimonies are Innumerable
The post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus were before small and large groups of people in different locations over the course of 40 days. In fact, actual witnesses to those appearances were still alive for verification when Paul wrote to the Corinthian church. (1 Cor 15:1-11)
4. The Empty-Tomb is Irrefutable
The empty tomb is a real dilemma for the skeptic. The religious leaders made up a story that the disciples stole the body but, in doing so, they (unwittingly) conceded that the tomb was indeed empty! The disciples would have to overrun the powerful Roman guard to breach the tomb. The casualties would have been tremendous and known to the public. Yet no such outlandish assault was reported. But even if we allow the concocted story, would the disciples have died to perpetuate such a fraud? Absolutely not! The disciples laid their lives down because they knew for a fact that Jesus rose from the dead.
5. The Role of Women is Unmistakable
Women play an important role in authenticating the Resurrection narrative. If the story were a made-up story, no one would script it so that women, especially not Mary Magdalene, were the first to discover the empty tomb. This is because women were not acceptable witnesses in Jewish courts of law. If you were making up a story and wanted people to believe it, you would never tell it the way it is recorded in Scripture. The reason why it was told this way is because that is precisely what happened. It was and still is the truth!
6. The Word of God is Incontrovertible
The chief evidence of the resurrection is the Word of God. The slaughter of the Lamb of God was predicted (Isaiah 53:1-12) and it became reality. Christ died but he did not stay dead. That he rose from the dead is New Testament truth (Acts 4:33) and validated by credible early historians.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NASB)
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a well-established fact in history. This is no scam. This is the truth. These evidences for the resurrection are solid. You have to do some fanciful gymnastics to skirt around these facts of the case. On the one hand, many have stared these truths in the face and have still resigned themselves to unbelief. On the other hand, many have heeded Jesus’ words to Thomas after seeing the evidence, “do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (John 20:27 NASB)
Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (John 20:29 NASB)
Do you believe?