What If It’s True…
Warning…this is going to be a long post, but if you’d like – play the video while you read.

This past weekend, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ (aka EASTER)…the Christian Superbowl! I don’t know about you, but our service was absolutely incredible. Nationally known visual artist, Tom Clark, painted a unique 6’x8′ canvas during each of six services. I wish you could have seen it…amazing! Here’s a sample image from his website:
I noticed one of four types of people at church this weekend: 
  1. Those who were showing off their new Easter outfit. I’m just kidding…kinda.
  2. Those who always come to church for Easter…I mean, that’s how their mama raised them!
  3. Those who were invited and giving the church/Jesus thing a shot. 
  4. and finally, those who were there to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Regardless of why people were there, it was definitely a weekend to celebrate (by the way, if you’d like to listen to the message, click HERE). Did you know that half of the world’s population believe that Jesus rose from the dead as the son of God 2000 years ago? And I won’t try to challenge your faith if you believe otherwise, but I have a hard time believing that he was just a prophet or just a great teacher or just a great healer, etc. 

C.S. Lewis once said, “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 a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.” It only seems logical that Jesus was one of three things: a lunatic, a legend, or the Son of God. And if Jesus was a liar…or if he didn’t really rise from the dead, why would so many people die for their beliefs? It just doesn’t make sense. 

In the days leading up to the resurrection, the Pharisees did everything they could to prevent Jesus from disappearing. Matthew 27:62-65 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. 

And yet…he still rose. Matthew 28:1-7  After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Truth RS
Following the resurrection, Jesus made ten specific appearances. And of course, there are plenty of people that have tried to discount those appearances.
  • Hallucination theory: no one really saw Jesus – they were just hallucinating. I think this theory would work if he hadn’t appeared to hundreds or thousands of people at one time. Come on now, those would be some incredibly powerful brownies. 
  • Swoon theory: Jesus didn’t really die – he simply passed out. Once he was taken to the tomb, he woke up, moved the incredibly large stone and just got out. I have a hard time believing this theory. Considering how beaten down Jesus would have been at the time of the crucifixion, even if he had passed out, his body would have been entirely too weak to move the heavy stone from the tomb. 
  • Twin brother theory: Jesus was hiding a twin brother. When Jesus was crucified and died, only then did this twin brother emerge and proclaim that he was Jesus. This just sounds ridiculous – you mean to tell me that in 31 years of life, Jesus kept a brother in hiding? 
Every single one of the disciples, minus one, died as a result of their beliefs – eight of which died as martyrs (beaten in some way) and at least two who were crucified. Click HERE for details. And I don’t know about you, but had the entire thing been a hoax, I certainly wouldn’t have died for it…I would have surely said, “look, I know where the body is, just don’t kill me!” That didn’t happen…and the disciples along with hundreds of thousands of people over the past 2000 years have died for their beliefs.

I don’t have a good explanation…I wasn’t physically there, but I am not ashamed of what I believe as the truth, because it has changed my life…and it has set me FREE!

To be honest, I grew up in the church. I was an active member of my youth group, attended weekly bible studies, served in youth ministry, etc. As I shared several weeks ago, I turned my back on God sometime during college- I still believed (even went to church whenever I was home from college), but there was no way of knowing the difference between me and any one else. Over time, I pulled further and further away until I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. I’m sure you’ve heard this story before…I wanted to be cool, so I found myself looking for approval through the lens of drinking several nights a week and dating guys who had little respect for me…heck, I had little respect for myself. My skin, self-respect and bank account took major hits. I tried to find contentment in worldly things…I thought I would be happy if I were just part of the “cool crowd,” if I had the latest new clothing, etc. I quickly realized that my life was full of drama and that I was lacking the life that God designed for me. Fortunately, this time in my life only lasted a short time…I clearly had it all wrong.

John 3:16 – For GOD so loved ME, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Like I’ve said before…until you’re ready to fully rely on God and trust in him, GOD is going to stay out of your life and let you live it however you see fit. But, the moment you decide to have a more active relationship with him, he’s going to rock your world. So, if you’ve ever been where I once was and you are searching for more out of life, I encourage you to start reading the bible…I’d start with John. Our minister suggests trying it for 30 days – if you don’t like it, quit. And don’t get it twisted…I am FAR from perfect, but I have no desire to go back to the life I left behind.
With that said, our church (and subsequently my messages following) is starting a new series called “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” The series is meant to offer answers and biblically compelling reasons for a confident faith. Topics will include: 
  • Creationism or Evolution?
  • Are Heaven and Hell real?
  • Does Satan really exist? 
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Is Jesus really the only way?
It’s likely to be controversial and test our faith, but I’m really looking forward to it…and I look forward to sharing it with you. Have a great day!
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