Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Was The Resurrection Fake News?

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Dear Friends,

Do you remember the shocking headline news twenty years ago? What became known throughout the world as the “Friday the 13th Flood” back in 1997 was  subsequently documented in four books written on the history of our Valley and gave the horrific details of this devastating flood. 

Okay...This is obviously absurd. It’s fake news. And you know that because we are all eye-witnesses to what takes place during our own time in history. And if four history books with this factitious flood story were really published and widely-circulated, you and everyone else would know it’s fake news and the books would be dumped in the trash. 

About twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter that was circulated among the Christian churches. He said that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day. He was seen by Peter and then the twelve apostles and then He was seen by over five hundred “brethren” at one time. Paul says that some of those five hundred have died but most of them are still alive. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 

The point Paul is making is that there are many hundreds of eyewitnesses that a person could talk to if he/she had any doubts about the Resurrection. Paul himself had talked to the disciples and the eyewitnesses and now he’s inviting people to check it out for themselves. Paul says that Jesus Christ appeared to a large crowd of five hundred men. At that time, only men could give testimony in court; women were not considered by government authorities to be reliable witnesses. But in a crowd of five hundred men, there would have most likely been hundreds of women and children present. Paul is not being dismissive towards women. He is simply making the statement that there were over 500 legal eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ. 

We need to remember that Jerusalem was a major metropolitan center. Can you think of think of anything more shocking and newsworthy than having the government publicly execute the most popular and controversial religious leader and then having the guy turn up live to a massive crowd of people?  So let's do some math here, and to keep it simple, we’ll just say it was only 500 men. This was the hottest news ever so let’s reasonably assume that each of the 500 men told ten other people. If those ten people told only five other people, in the days following the Resurrection, about 25,000 people would have heard the news either first hand or second hand. Fifty days after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter and the disciples were still in Jerusalem preaching the Gospel message and telling people that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead and was alive. How did they get away with preaching this crazy message about Jesus being alive? Why were they not stoned for preaching “fake news?” Because people had already heard it was true from the eyewitnesses!

There is no way that a person could write a history book today about Los Angeles and give details of the Great Flood of 1997 that wiped out vast portions of the Valley. It would be absurd. Ridiculous. Laughable. In the same way, 2000 years ago, because the witnesses to that period of history were still alive, there would be no way the four Gospel writers and both Paul and Peter could write about the Resurrection if it were not true. It would be absurd, ridiculous and laughable. It would have been immediately exposed as fake news. That's why the strongest and most tangible evidence that we have for the resurrection is the complete lack of any historic, credible denial of this the most shocking event in the entire history of the world. That’s why we can say: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!” 1 Peter 1:3 Amen?

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