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LENT 3.11

According to the Oxford dictionary, faith is defined as "complete trust or

confidence in someone or something or strong belief in God or in the doctrines of

a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof." No offence to

Oxford, but I disagree! Faith IS complete trust in God, but it is not based on

apprehension but rather on historical proof.

If we were to boil our faith down to a single, important, defining event it

would have to be the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. As Paul says in I

Corinthians 15:17 "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are

still in your sins." Christ's resurrection is the foundation all our believe and faith is

built on, so, as Paul states, if it did not happen then we are still in sin and our faith

is worth nothing. I do not know about you, but I do not like the idea of thinking

that my whole life may be worth nothing, that all I have thought and lived for is

worthless. So, that makes me wonder...How do I KNOW that my faith is secure

and on a true foundation? Well, we have a gracious God, who does not demand

blind faith (because he deserves it, if we are honest), but gives us indisputable

evidence of Christ's resurrection.

Lee Stroble's redemption story is one that reminds me of a modern-day

Paul. For those who do not know, he was an angry drunk who proclaimed

atheism. When his wife was converted, he set out to disprove the Bible's

legitimacy, and what better way than to rock the foundation and prove that Christ

never rose from the grave. Through this 2 year long journey, Lee Stroble

uncovered some remarkable historical evidence, but not to disprove the Bible,

rather to uphold it. As he explains in "The Case for Christ," there are some pretty

key events surrounding Christ death and resurrections that solidify our faith. He

calls them the 4 "E's."

-Execution. Not only does the Bible recount Christ's death, but at least 5

other ancient texts verify that Jesus was killed on the cross, and was dead before

he was taken down. When we are looking at ancient history, 2 corroborating texts

is considered good evidence of an event, to have 5 outside of the Bible is

significant. So, Jesus died!

-Early report. There is evidence that the report of Jesus's resurrection was

reported in text as early as a few months after the events. The Christians

developed a creed stating beliefs of the Christians and the eye witnesses to these

truths. This negates any theory of it being a legend which takes decades or

centuries to develop. The transformation of the disciples lives before the

resurrection and after, documented in ancient text other than the Bible as well, is

another proof of its legitimacy. If Jesus did not rise, how do you explain the

disciples abrupt 180 degree turn from fear to zeal for his message?

-Empty tomb. If his tomb was not empty, then it would have been easy for

the opposing side to prove this...just go into the tomb and show the world that he

was still there, but even his enemies claimed that the apostles stole his body. The

fact that Jesus's body was not in the tomb was a fact the whole area knew in the

first century. The question was not IF it was empty rather how it became empty,

which leads us to be certain that it was, in fact, empty.

-Encounter. So many of the disciples and apostles, in the weeks after

Jesus's resurrection, were eyewitnesses to this fact. They were all convinced of

this encounter with the risen Lord. There are at least 9 ancient historical accounts

that corroborate the disciples' conviction of their encounters with the resurrected

Jesus, not including the Bible. It is improbable for that many ancient texts to agree

upon the same thing if it were not true. The encounter changed the apostles'

lives, and not only theirs but jump started a worldwide movement.

The apostles believed in Jesus as the Son of God, because they KNEW it,

they saw him, and encountered his resurrected body. We KNOW that Jesus is the

Son of God because God has made the evidence clear throughout history that

Jesus rose from the dead and is our risen Savior. God knows us, and knows that

we are skeptical people, so he so graciously provided these proofs. We do not

hold our faith on blind assumptions, rather on truth. Jesus is alive and he has

given us his Spirit to guide us and lead us to his truth. Thanks be to God that he

does not require us to have a blind faith, but gives us a firm foundation to stand


Daily Reading: Not a blind faith

Luke 24:45; 1 Corinthians 1:18

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