Recently I was visiting an elderly man who is suffering from a number of physical ailments and complications. Right away he let me know he did not believe in God, and then proceeded to ask me all the difficult questions about life that he’d managed to store up over a lifetime.
Mostly, I just listened to him. Attempting to answer all his questions would have been pointless because no answers I might have offered, regardless of how much sound reasoning I used, would be sufficient to change his mind. Finally I made this statement to him: “Sir, suppose you are correct in saying there is no God. Then when you die, you’ve lost nothing. But – if you are wrong – you’ve lost everything!”
Those of us who are of the Christian faith celebrate Easter this week – primarily focusing on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is significant because it concentrates on the singular event that sets Christianity apart from all other religions, and that is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now, if the death and resurrection of Jesus did not actually occur, then all of us who claim to be Christians are wasting our time, and would have to confess that we have been duped, deceived, and otherwise seriously misled. It’s an all or nothing gambit.
Several books have hit the stands recently suggesting alternatives to the stories of the historical Jesus. Most notably is author Dan Brown’s controversial book, “The Da Vinci Code.” In his book, Brown suggests several alterations to the historical record. Most notably is the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. After his death, Mary escaped to Gaul (France) with their child, a girl named Sarah, who established a family line leading to the development of French royalty. Supposedly this line still exists, although secretly, and so the tale continues ad nauseam. Never mind that there is no basis of truth for this story – but in today’s culture of sensationalism, it sells. And what “might have happened” is often viewed as “what did happen.” Furthermore, there has emerged in today’s world a growing suspicion of anything that previously was considered sacrosanct. A Christian rebuttal to Brown’s book was written by Erwin Luther, called, “The Da Vinci Deception.” You might want to pick it up.
Then in the last few days we’ve been hit with the “Gospel of Judas.” The basic argument in this hyperbolic bit of second century writing by one of the many Gnostic creators of fiction for the day, is that “Jesus wanted Judas to betray him so his body would die and his soul would be liberated.” Huh? You see, in postmodern thinking, you can challenge with impunity the tenets of anyone’s faith, even if the basis for the attack is without substance or credibility.
In more recent years there has been the “Jesus Seminar,” where a group of supposedly learned men ask the question of the New Testament, “What did Jesus really say?” Then, using the backdrop of modern theology and a bias against the eye-witnesses who recorded the Gospel records, they proceed to postulate what Jesus said and didn’t say. It’s all very politically correct and rings well with today’s post-Christian thinking. It’s also very bad research, not to mention being theologically incorrect to the extreme.
Let me get back to my discussion with the man at the beginning of the article. He confessed to me that he’s afraid to die. He should be. When it comes to God, and who he is, and how he has presented himself to the world, you’d better not be wrong. Author Dan Brown and his ilk will one day have to give an account before that same God. An account having to do with their blasphemous drivel about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and our Savior.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Jesus of the Bible, the real Jesus, is one of the best documented facts in all of history. This is why Christians celebrate. Others will come along and attempt to discredit this event. But unless they can irrevocably prove Jesus is dead, and rebut the eye-witness account of the disciples, the record stands. It’s not a matter of the Christian religion being better than other religions. It has to do with the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is the cornerstone of what we believe.
Happy Easter! He is risen!