Photo by Phil Thep
Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, is just days away. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ are the most pivotal event in the history of the world. Billy Graham called these three days the “most momentous days in human history.” Christianity is founded upon the resurrection of Christ, and history is divided by it.
Christianity stands or falls on its historical authenticity. Critics say we blindly believe in Christ’s resurrection, but there is a difference between faith and blind faith. Our faith is not as blind as those who myopically reject the evidence for the resurrection. The Gospel writers have not left us in the dark; the evidence for the resurrection is clearly seen in the lives of the apostles and the faith that was founded on their eyewitness accounts.
The resurrection is clearly seen in the lives of the apostles and the faith that was founded on their eyewitness accounts.
The following account is adapted from a sermon by Scottish theologian Dr. Principal Hill. “If you reject the straightforward truth recorded in the Gospels and believe the resurrection to be a lie you must assume the following; that eleven men born into poverty, with no formal education, homeless and unemployed for the last three years, and living in a state that placed ambitious plans out of their reach and far from their thoughts, without any help from their friends, family, or the government, formulated the noblest scheme which ever entered the mind of man, adopted the most daring means of executing that scheme, and executed it with such skill as to hide their imposture under the semblance of simplicity and virtue. You must suppose that men guilty of blasphemy and falsehood, united in an attempt, the best planned, and has in fact proved to be the most successful, for making the world virtuous; that they formed this unique enterprise without seeking any personal advantage to themselves, with an avowed contempt for loss or profit, and with the certain expectation of scorn and persecution; that although aware of one another’s villainy, none of them ever attempted to provide for their own security, but while experiencing the most horrific, bodily tortures known to man they persevered in the conspiracy to cheat the world into righteousness, honesty and goodness. If you can believe that then the idea of miracles shouldn’t be a problem.”
History abounds with accounts of martyrs from different faiths who have died for what they believed, but they died believing those things to be true. There is not a single record of anyone who died for what they knew to be a lie. If the disciples stole the body of Christ and hid it to fake Christ’s resurrection, is it reasonable to believe they gave the remainder of their lives to suffer privations, persecutions and death knowing it was all a lie?
That is the point this narrative makes so cogently; ours is not a blind faith. An empty tomb gives mute testimony to the angel’s words, “He is not here, but He has risen,” Luke 24:6.