Professor Joad, past professor of philosophy at London University, (who was not a Christian by the way) was asked the following question: “If you could meet any person of the past and ask just one question, whom would you meet and what question would you ask?” Professor Joad answered: “I would meet Jesus Christ and ask him the most important question in all the world – Did you or did you not rise from the dead?”
The resurrection is foundational to everything we believe as Christians. Yet we do not have to prove the resurrection event itself. There is another truth that settles for me the validity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
You see the essence of Christianity and the greatest proof of the resurrection for me is found in this one mind-boggling sentence: “JESUS CHRIST IS GOD!” If this statement is true then the resurrection is no problem at all.
When you trace the earthly journey of the Lord Jesus through the Gospels, he says and does things that only God in the flesh can do. You cannot explain His life in any other way. Even his claims to be God ring true. Long before you get to the event of the resurrection you have either settled in your minds that Jesus is a liar or He spoke the truth. Either He was a master magician or He actually performed all those miraculous events. Either the Bible is a truth text or a master weaving of legends and unreliable stories. Jesus said he would rise again. The same scripture that recorded those words, recorded as fact his resurrection.
If Jesus Christ is God, not just part of God, or just sent by God, or just related to God… if He was and therefore is God, then the resurrection is no big deal. You would expect it. That is a thing God would do. People who have a problem with the resurrection have a problem with Jesus being God in the flesh. You don’t have to set about to prove the fact of the resurrection if you have already settled in your soul that Jesus Christ is exactly who He said He was (and is): GOD! C. S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity put it rather bluntly: “For Christ to have talked as he talked, lived as he lived, died as he died, he was either God or a raving lunatic.” To me that is the choice we have.
If Christ is no more than an inspired prophet and teacher who walked the paths of Israel over 2000 years ago then the resurrection becomes a sticking point and a massive problem. In the book entitled “In Search of Christianity,” one of the contributors, Colin Buchanan, past bishop of Aston, stated that, “The Jesus Christ to whom Christians respond is not the dead (though appealing) person of the past, but the Living Lord of the present. He is the same Jesus Christ who is presented to us in the Gospels.” If this statement is true, then the resurrection is possible, believable, and in fact real!
If you reject the reliable record of the Bible, then you will always struggle with the reality of the resurrection of Christ. One lawyer, Val Grieve, in his little book “Your Verdict on the Empty Tomb” stated as a lawyer the following legal opinion: “A lawyer, and especially a judge, is always face to face with the problem of how to evaluate evidence and distinguish the reliable from the misleading…I claim that logic must point in the direction of his resurrection on an actual day and date in our history when, if you had been there, you would have touched the living Jesus and heard him speak.”
For me the Biblical record is the reliable evidence and what it says about Christ is accurate and believable. The evidence about who Jesus is comes across in overwhelming fashion in the Bible. So believing the resurrection is secondary to what you believe about Christ Himself. Settle that and the resurrection falls naturally into place. Think it Thru