This past Sunday was Easter Sunday and so as one would expect, I preached on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The message I preached before the Columbia Church of Christ was based on the text from Matthew 28:1-10 (here’s the link to the message: What About Us?).
One of the questions about the death and, more importantly, resurrection of Jesus is the question of belief. Can we reasonably believe in this good news? That is, though we can believe in whatever we want to believe in, is there any credible reason(s) for believing in the good news of Jesus Christ? I believe there are and while I don’t want to go into a full scale discussion of Christian apologetics, I do want to share two interesting notes that support the credibility of Jesus’ resurrection.
This passage from Matthew 28:1-10 ends with the resurrected Jesus Christ appearing to the two women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. Verses 9-10 read:
Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Implicit in those two verse are two points of interest to the credibility of Jesus’ resurrection.
First, the two people Jesus appears to first are women. These two women become the first missionaries, preachers, evangelists, or what ever we want to call it. They were sent to the other disciples about the news of Jesus’ resurrection. That’s significant. In the Mediterranean world of the first century, women were regarded with a much lower esteem than men and their word was not regarded as trustworthy (Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 698-699). So if Matthew was simply trying to fabricate a story it would be rather self-defeating to include women in the details of the resurrection.
Second, one Jesus appears to the two women, they worshiped Jesus and they then became witnesses of Jesus. This is significant because as far as a movement is concerned, this is where Christianity begins. The legacy of these women has been repeated over and over as people have become believers in Jesus, they have also worshiped Jesus and become witnesses of Jesus — and sometimes while facing great persecution and opposition. But one of the most remarkable facts for believing that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is true is the fact that within one hundred years of time, this Jesus movement became so large that Christians were beginning to be regarded as a fourth human race (N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 359).
Neither reason proves or substantiates with absolute certainty that Jesus was in fact crucified and resurrected as the scriptures claim but I believe they do offer credible reasons. I don’t actually believe that absolute proof or certainty can be offered for believing in the good news of Jesus Christ and if it could, there wouldn’t be any need for faith. Sometimes though, we need to remember that faith in Jesus Christ does not require a suspension of reasonability.
I also will mention two other article I have recently written. The first is an article for Peter Horne’s blog titled Easter’s Promise for the Broken Heart. Sometimes the struggle with faith stems from the grief and disappointments we suffer, which I understand. So I’ve written in this article about the struggle with doubt and why I have chosen faith (without downplaying doubt). The second article has been published by New Wineskins, an online Christian magazine and it is titled Living the Way of Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus are called to follow him, to become his disciple. In this article I explain what it means to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ and why it is essential that Christians learn to live as disciples.
So if these two articles interest you then you have the links. Thanks for reading!