Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
April 8, 2018
The resurrection: a fairy tale or a fact of history?
Many believe the resurrection of Jesus is but a fairy tale. Prominent physicist Stephen Hawking said recently the belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a “fairy story” for people afraid of death. Hocking was not the first skeptic to cast doubt upon the resurrection of Jesus.
There have always been skeptics who could not embrace the biblical claim that God raised Jesus from the dead. Some, even some who have claimed to be Christians, have tried to construct a Christianity built on the wise teachings of Jesus. These people have wanted us to think of Jesus a good, humble man worthy of being studied along with other great religious teachers like Buddha, Krishna and Mohammed.
Skeptics have arisen in every century. In recent history Thomas Jefferson mutilated his own Bible with a knife, cutting out all the miracles in the New Testament, including the resurrection stories. This new book Jefferson called “The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth.” That book, known as “Jefferson Bible,” is a lamentable portion of the legacy of this brilliant founding father of our nation.
Without the resurrection the Christian faith is a farce. If the resurrection is a hoax, then the New Testament is filled with myths and fairy tales. The Christians who died a martyr’s death in the first century were victims of a terrible lie. And Christ’s promise of eternal life to his followers is an empty promise.
Thankfully we need not bed down with the skeptics. We can accept the New Testament as a faithful record of reliable facts. Jesus lived. He was crucified. He died a cruel death on a cross. He was buried in a borrowed tomb on Friday. On Sunday an angel rolled the stone away. God raised Jesus from the dead. That same day Jesus appeared to his disciples and assured them he was alive.
The Risen Jesus calmed his disciples’ fears and gave them peace. He showed them the wounds in his hands, his feet and his side. He ate broiled fish and a piece of honeycomb with them. He explained how the events of his life fulfilled the prophecies of scripture. He taught them why he had to suffer and die and be raised from the dead.
Jesus called his disciples together and instructed them to preach the gospel in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. He told the disciples they were to be witnesses of his life, teachings, death and resurrection. He admonished them to wait until they had received the power of the Holy Spirit who would enable them to proclaim the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth. He assured them that he would be with them to the end.
All this happened, I believe, as the Bible says it did. The biblical record is absolutely true. And because thousands believed the testimony of the disciples, the message of the living Christ has spread across the world. Now, in these days, it is our turn to believe and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to become faithful witnesses to the good news of the gospel.
There are three great religions in the world today – Judaism, Islam and Christianity. But there is only one Son of God through whom God has revealed himself and his name is Jesus Christ. That Son’s resurrection was no hoax; it is a fact of history. He’s alive! I know He is because He lives within my heart! + + +