We hear about “diversity” frequently in the public forums these days, but rarely is that quality of people and things considered in the context of historic events such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
But, as J. Warner Wallace of Cold-Case Christianity notes, there are seven diverse factors in the resurrection — let us refer to them as the “Seven Diversities.” For example, Wallace points to the fact that “Jesus appeared after the Resurrection to single eyewitnesses, to small groups and to huge crowds.”
Put aside everything else you’ve ever heard or thought about Jesus Christ, then ask yourself what is one fact that, no matter what it is, would absolutely decide the question of whether or not He is God?
But remember this: For your thinking to be as clear and logical as possible, don’t allow yourself to start with an assumption about what cannot be true or false. You must have an open mind to all possibilities.
Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace — you may recall him as NBC Dateline’s “evidence whisperer” — deals with these two questions in the following video. He’s specifically addressing the issue of the divinity of Jesus, but his advice about how to think through things accurately and logically is applicable in all kinds of life situations:
If a friend tells you they really do love you and, to prove it, they tell you they deposited $1 million in your bank account, how would you know if you should believe them? You check your bank balance, of course!
If the million bucks aren’t there, you know your “friend” is not to be believed. If you verify that you are now a millionaire, however, well then, you probably should accept that person as a genuine friend.
There is one essential claim upon which all of Christianity stands or falls. Paul the Apostle even says if this claim is false, then he and every other disciple of Jesus is a liar. One way to verify the claim is understanding the credibility of the four Gospels. NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace explains in this video:
So, you’re jawing with a friend on the cell and happen to mention that you had a really odd dream the other night during which you were driving a sporty Tesla Model S through Hollywood.
Then your friend says, “right, it was a red convertible and we had the top down.” Would that freak you out? What if the next thing he said was “the blonde was in the back seat with me and the redhead was up there with you” and he was right!?!? (Yes, I know Tesla doesn’t make a convertible Model S, but work with me here, ok?)
Now you’re really freaked out because two people just don’t independently have the same dream like that. But, as Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace (the Tesla illustration was actually his, not mine) explains in this video, something like it did happen after Jesus was resurrected. And that makes all the difference in the world for all of us:
Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” found an empty, open grave this morning. They saw no Roman guards there but they claim they saw Jesus Christ, alive.
Do you believe them? Here are eight solid reasons you should indeed believe:
The first witnesses to the empty tomb and the living Jesus were women:It’s a sad reality, but women only counted as half as reliable witnesses as men. So the fact all four of the Gospels present women as the first witnesses to the Risen Jesus is a strong indicator Matthew, Mark, Luke and John reported the facts, not what they thought would be the most credible claims.
It’s Saturday, the day after they crucified Jesus Christ to death on a bloody cross and buried Him in a borrowed grave, guarded by a crack detachment of the all-conquering Roman Legion.
The guard was to ensure nobody tried to steal His body and claim He was resurrected, as those who killed Him knew He had promised He would be tomorrow, Sunday.
Should you believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? If it’s true, it’s the most important fact of all history. If it’s a lie, then Christians are, as Paul said, the most foolish people on Earth. One-Minute Apologist Bobby Conway explains why you should:
It’s Easter week, the most important seven days on the calendar for the billions of people around this Earth who call themselves Christians. That’s because the single most important event in history happened during this period.
That event is the central claim underlying their faith — that Jesus was crucified dead and buried on Friday, then rose again on Sunday and appeared to hundreds of people in the following days before ascending back to Heaven from whence He came. He will return some day and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord and Savior.
But how can someone who is genuinely open to hearing all of the evidence for and against this central claim of Christianity know what to accept as logical and true and what to reject as baseless claims? Every day this week on HillFaith we will consider this question from a variety of angles, beginning today with the following video produced by the Impact360 Institute:
We human beings are such curious beings. Consider for example how we often deal with subjects we’d rather, for whatever reason, avoid, delay or simply ignore. It’s called rationalization.
As we saw in Wednesday’s post, the vast majority of historians of the ancient world agree Jesus Christ was crucified, that his grave was found empty three days later and his disciples maintained to their deaths that they had seen and talked with the resurrected Jesus.
If those three facts are true, it means all of us then must decide what we’ll do with the claim of Jesus to be God and the only way any of us can be accepted into Heaven. The following video from reasaonblefaith.org addresses the four most common rationalizations for avoiding those three facts and the implications for each of us:
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6) Think about that – He said He alone holds your ultimate destiny and mine in His hands. As C.S. Lewis famously observed:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”
But how do you know which is right, that Jesus was exactly who and what He claimed to be or He was a nutcase, a liar and a deceiver? The following video, the first of a two-part series produced by reasonablefaith.org, examines the three most basic facts that point us in the right direction:
If you attended college at any time in the past several decades, odds are you were taught some variation of the claim the Jesus of the Bible cannot be documented in history, so the book is really nothing more than a collection of myths, fables and exaggerations written long after His death.
Among the most significant evidence from logic to support the credibility of the Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — is the fact none of the original disciples ever disavowed their claims about Jesus’ life and miracles, including the Resurrection.
The absence of any such disavowal, either documented or merely rumored, is not prima facie proof, but it does provide a weighty addition to the case for the truth of the Bible.
Biola University Professor Sean McDowell looks in the following video at the biblical and secular evidence on the question, lays out the main points of debate and offers conclusions about the significance:
Critics and skeptics over the centuries have come up with a multitude of theories attempting to discount the claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after His death on the cross.
These theories fall into four primary categories:
Some sort of conspiracy.
He only appeared to have died.
Somebody moved His body without telling the disciples.
There were hallucinations.
In Part 2 of the Reasonable Faith video looking at the facts about the claim Jesus rose from the dead, each of these theories is addressed head-on and shown to be a less satisfactory explanation for the undisputed truth about the death of Jesus:
If you missed it, Part 1 was posted yesterday here on HillFaith. If you have questions about anything you heard in either video, please tell us about it in the comments.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’
“That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.” — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Christianity is either established or destroyed by whether or not a single historical event actually happened, as claimed in the four Gospels concerning the resurrection of Jesus.
If Jesus was indeed resurrected three days after being crucified dead and buried, then was seen and heard by a multitude of witnesses in the 40 days thereafter, as claimed by the Gospel authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, then every human being who ever has or ever will live must decide whether to accept or reject His claim to be God Incarnate and the only way to Heaven.
If Jesus was not physically resurrected as claimed by the Gospels, then, as Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:17-19, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile … and we are of all people most to be pitied.”