Saturday, April 2, 2016

Evidence, wittnesses

The Bible is an amazing book. As a whole it is the most sensible account of human history. It’s depiction of a perfect beginning, then degenerating with time into the present chaos of our sick world, is rather accurate. It’s honest reporting of the failures of leading personalities verifies that it is not fictionalised to promote any particular hero. The only one who stands without fault is Jesus, and the Bible relates His story from at least four different sources.
It is a book that must be read as an ongoing story and very much relates to the events and culture of the times in which it was written. However, it has in each context, sentences (verses) that have in themselves life changing power. The promises given, have done and still do bring hope to millions of believers. I am constantly amazed at how the Bible can verify itself in the face of criticism. One example in relation to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus comes to mind.
The resurrection of the Lord has been disputed since the day He rose from among the dead. The writing of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, is more significant than I had previously thought:

The good news about Christ dying for our sins, and then rising the third day, had been received by Paul from the Lord and was confirmed with the apostles who had travelled with Jesus of Nazareth.
Then he give a list of the witnesses who had seen the Lord Jesus, as physically alive from the dead.- Peter, twelve apostles, more than 500. The he adds “most of whom are still alive”. This short statement give the approximate date of writing (1st generation Christians), but more importantly, Paul is inviting the critics of the resurrection, to go and ask the witnesses. Most were still alive as witnesses of having heard and seen the risen Lord. This was not a myth or legend produced over time.
The inclusion of James is important , since prior to the resurrection, he did not believe Jesus to be the Messiah. Now he is a believer having met the Lord, alive from the dead.
Verse 8 "He appeared to me also", could easily be missed as unimportant. But it is very important! Saul ( Paul )the persecutor, well respected in the Jewish religious circles, learning from an honourable Rabbi, is changed into a disciple of the one he once hated. For the rest of his life he was persecuted, ridiculed, poor and eventually executed for the sake of the Lord Jesus. Why the change? On the road to Damascus a voice was heard from heaven “I am Jesus”.  Saul knew it was a heavenly voice but how could it be Jesus, since he had been crucified years before? The only answer was that He had risen out from the grave and had truly gone into heaven from whence He could reach into the lives of people wherever they might be. Thus it is important to see that Saul’s interaction with the Lord in heaven years after the death of Jesus, was a powerful testimony to Jesus Christ being alive and Lord of all. How important is this sentence : “He appeared to me also”

Likewise John the apostle had a real encounter with the risen, exalted Christ:
“I saw one like the son of man..............................Who then said: “I was dead, and am alive forevermore”” (Revelation 1)

Other evidence today points to the same fact – He is risen Indeed!

‘If you will confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved’  (Romans 10.9)

J. McKee

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